Yukon is in the northwestern corner of Canada and is bordered by Alaska and the Northwest Territories. The sparsely populated territory abounds with natural scenic beauty, with snowmelt lakes and perennial white-capped mountains, including many of Canada's highest mountains. The territory's climate is Arctic in territory north of Old Crow, subarctic in the region, between Whitehorse and Old Crow, and humid continental climate south of Whitehorse and in areas close to the British Columbia border. Most of the territory is boreal forest with tundra being the main vegetation zone only in the extreme north and at high elevations.
The territory is about the shape of a right triangle, bordering the American state of Alaska to the west, the Northwest Territories to the east and British Columbia to the south. Yukon covers 482,443 km2, of which 474,391 km2 is land and 8,052 km2 is water, making it the forty-first largest subnational entity in the world, and, among the fifty largest, the least populous.
Yukon is bounded on the south by the 60th parallel of latitude. Its northern coast is on the Beaufort Sea. Its western boundary is 141° west longitude. Its ragged eastern boundary mostly follows the divide between the Yukon River Basin and the Mackenzie River watershed to the east in the Mackenzie mountains.
Except for the coastal plain on the Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean) coast, most of Yukon is part of the American cordillera. The terrain includes mountain ranges, plateaus and river valleys.
The southwest is dominated by the Kluane icefields in Kluane National Park and Reserve, the largest non-polar icefields in the Poles.  Kluane National Park also contains eight of Canada's ten highest mountains, including the five highest, all in the Saint Elias Mountains. A number of glaciers flow out of the icefields, including the Logan Glacier, the Hubbard Glacier and the Kaskawulsh Glacier.
Permafrost is common. The northern part of Yukon has continuous permafrost, while it is widespread in the central part. Even the southern Yukon has scattered patches of permafrost.
Two major faults, the Denali Fault and the Tintina Fault have created major valleys called trenches: the Shakwak Trench and the Tintina Trench. The Shakwak Trench separates the Kluane ranges from other mountain ranges north of it. The Haines Highway and the Alaska Highway north of Haines Junction are built in the Shakwak Trench. The Tintina Trench bisects the Yukon from northwest to southeast and its edges have rich mineral deposits including the Klondike gold and the lead-zinc deposits near Faro. 
The volcanoes in Yukon are part of the circle of volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. Yukon includes more than 100 separate volcanic centres that have been active during the Quaternary. The Fort Selkirk Volcanic Field in central Yukon is the northernmost Holocene volcanic field in Canada, including the young active cinder cone, Volcano Mountain. A volcanic field in south-central Yukon is called Alligator Lake volcanic complex. It contains two well-preserved cinder cones that caps a small shield volcano. Lava from the cones travelled north and were erupted at the same time. Volcanoes in south-western Yukon are part of the Wrangle Volcanic Field, which is related to the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the North American Plate at the easternmost end of the Avalanche Trench.
Yukon volcanoes include:
The Saint Elias mountains are part of the Coast Mountains which range from southern British Columbia to Alaska and cover the southwestern Yukon. While the Saint Elias Mountains contain the highest mountains, there are numerous other mountain ranges, from the British Mountains in the far north and the Richardson Mountains in the northeast, both of which are part of the Brooks Range, to the Selwyn Mountains and Mackenzie Mountains in the east, the Cassiar Mountains in the south-east, the Pelly Mountains in the central Yukon, and the Ogilvie Mountains north of Dawson City and along the Dempster Highway.
Yukon mountain ranges include:
|Mountain||Height (metres)||Height (feet)||Rank|
|Mount Logan||5,959||19,551||Highest mountain in Canada|
|Mount Saint Elias||5,489||18,009||#2 in both Canada and the USA|
|Mount Lucania||5,226||17,146||#3 in Canada|
|King Peak||5,173||16,972||#4 in Canada|
|Mount Steele||5,073||16,644||#5 in Canada|
|Mount Wood||4,842||15,886||#7 in Canada|
|Mount Vancouver||4,812||15,787||#8 in Canada|
|Mount Slaggard||4,742||15,558||#10 in Canada|
See also: List of Yukon lakes and List of Yukon rivers
Most of the territory is in the watershed of its namesake, the Yukon River, which flows into the Bering Sea. Southern Yukon is dotted with a large number of large, long and narrow glacier-fed alpine lakes, most of which flow into the Yukon River system. The larger lakes include: Teslin Lake, Atlin Lake, Tagish Lake, Marsh Lake, Lake Laberge, Kusawa Lake, Kluane Lake. Bennett Lake on the Klondike Gold Rush trail is a smaller lake flowing into Tagish Lake.
Other rivers flow either directly into the Pacific Ocean or directly or indirectly into the Arctic Ocean. The Alsek-Tatshenshini drainage flows directly into the Pacific from southwestern Yukon. A number of rivers in northern Yukon flow directly into the Arctic Ocean. The two main Yukon rivers flowing into the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories are the Liard River in the southeast and the Peel River and its tributaries in the northeast.
Most of Yukon has a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc), characterized by long cold winters and brief warm summers. The airstrip at Snag, 25 kilometres east of Beaver Creek near the Alaska border, experienced the lowest ever temperature measured in North America, -63.0 °C (-81.4 °F) on February 3, 1947. The Arctic Ocean coast has a Tundra climate (ET). The climate is generally very dry, with little precipitation, but is considerably wetter in the southeast. Precipitation is much greater in the mountains, and the snowpack continues to melt well into the summer, resulting in high water in July or August.
|Zone||Average annual temperature||Average July daily high||Average January daily low||Average snowfall||Average rainfall|
|North (Old Crow)||-9.0 °C||21 °C||-36 °C||129 cm||144 mm|
|Central (Dawson City)||-4.4 °C||23 °C||-31 °C||160 cm||200 mm|
|South (Whitehorse)||-0.7 °C||21 °C||-22 °C||145 cm||163 mm|
|Southeast (Watson Lake)||-2.9 °C||21 °C||-29 °C||197 cm||255 mm|
Source: Environment Canada 
Except for the Arctic Ocean coastal plain and high elevations, most of Yukon is in the boreal forest ecoregion. Most mountain peaks and higher elevations are characterized by Alpine tundra while the coastal plain is Arctic coastal tundra. More precisely, according to Environment Canada's ecozone definitions, southern and central Yukon is part of the Boreal Cordillera Ecozone while the northern forest is part of the Taiga Cordillera Ecozone. The Peel River area in the northeast is in the Taiga Plains Ecozone and the Arctic coast is in the Southern Arctic Ecozone.
Black spruce (Picea mariana),  white spruce (Picea glauca), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) and balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) are found throughout much of the territory. Although relatively uncommon, the Alaska birch (Betula neoalaskana) is also found in most areas. The lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) reaches its northern extreme in the south-central part of the territory, while tamarack (Larix laricina) is found in the southeast and the subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) is found at higher elevations in the southern part of the territory.
The large mammals found throughout the territory include caribou (Rangifer tarandus, both barren-ground and woodland), moose (Alces alces), wolves (Canis lupus), grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) and American black bears (Ursus americanus). Higher elevation have Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) and, in the south, Rocky Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus). Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are found on the Arctic coast. The mule deer (Odocoileus hermionus) and its predator, the cougar (Puma concolor), are becoming increasingly common in the south, and coyotes (Canis latrans) are increasing their range to the northern Yukon. Elk (Cervus canadensis) and wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) are also present.
There are many species of rodents, including squirrels, ground squirrels, lemmings, pikas, beavers, various voles, porcupines, muskrats, etc. Mustelids are also well represented and include the wolverine (Gulo gulo), Pacific marten (Martes caurina), American ermine (Mustela richardsonii), least weasel (Mustela nivalis), American mink (Neogale vison), and the river otter (Lontra canadensis). Other small carnivores present are the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), red fox ( Vulpes vulpes) and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) along the northern coast.
More than 250 species of birds have been sighted in Yukon. The common raven (Corvus corax) is the territorial bird and is common everywhere. Other common resident birds include bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) and peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), five species of grouse (spruce grouse, blue grouse, ruffed grouse, ptarmigan, and white-tailed ptarmigan). Many migratory birds breed in the Yukon, as it is at the northern end of the Pacific Flyway.
Other than the burbot and northern pike, most of the large fish found in Yukon rivers, lakes and streams are salmonids. Four species of Pacific salmon (Chinook, sockeye, coho and chum) breed in Yukon rivers and lakes in the Pacific and Yukon River watersheds. The Yukon River has the longest freshwater migration route of any salmon; Chinook salmon swim over 3,000 kilometres from its mouth in the Bering Sea to spawning grounds upstream of Whitehorse. There are also land-locked kokanee (sockeye salmon) and rainbow trout. chars are represented by lake trout present in most large Yukon lakes, as well as Dolly Varden, bull trout and Arctic char. The Arctic grayling is ubiquitous, while the lakes have various whitefish and inconnu.
There are no reptiles in Yukon, but a few frogs.
Yukon is sparsely populated, with about 30,000 inhabitants in a territory almost as large as Spain or Sweden. Population density is 0.06 people per km2. Close to three quarters of the population is in the Whitehorse area, and the rest live in a number of other communities. All except Old Crow are accessible by road.
The capital, Whitehorse, is also the largest city with more than two thirds of the population; the second largest is Dawson City, (pop. 1800) which was the capital until 1952.
Traditionally, Yukon was inhabited by nomadic Athapaskan-speaking First Nations people who had established extensive trading networks with the Pacific Coast Tlingit. The interior people traded copper, furs and meat for coastal products such as eulachon oil. About 20% of the Yukon population is of aboriginal origin.
There is no Inuit population in Yukon, although there was a population along the Arctic Ocean coast within historic times. The Inuit were decimated by disease and disappeared in the 19th century. In 1984, the Government of Canada included the Yukon North Slope within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region under the auspices of the Inuvialuit. 
The following table presents the population of most Yukon communities. Note that the Census data represents those people who lived within the community boundaries, while the Yukon Bureau of Statistics (YBS) includes everyone with a postal address in the community. Typically, many people live immediately outside the community boundaries, hence the larger YBS numbers.
|June 2005 |
|Watson Lake 2||1,138||1,148||1,522|
|Town of Watson Lake only||912||993||n/a|
1 Part of Whitehorse Census Agglomeration
2 Includes the town and adjoining First Nations settlements of Upper Liard and Two and One-Half Mile Village.
3 Includes both the Village of Teslin and the adjoining reserve
4 Includes both the settlement and the adjoining Reserve
Yukon has abundant mineral resources and mining was the mainstay of the economy until recently. Abundant gold was found in the Klondike region leading to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. Placer gold is found in many streams and rivers, and there is an active placer mining industry in the Klondike and many other parts of Yukon to this day.
Other minerals that have been actively mined include copper in the Whitehorse area, lead and zinc in Faro, silver, zinc and lead in the Mayo/Keno City area, asbestos in Clinton Creek, and copper, gold, and coal in the Carmacks area. The world's largest known deposit of tungsten is in the Macmillan Pass area in the Mackenzie Mountains near the Northwest Territories border. Non-metallic minerals mined have included jade and barite.
The fur trade was very important to the Yukon First Nation economy, but low prices and the impact of animal rights activists have devastated the traditional economy.
There are three hydroelectric generating stations in Yukon: one at Schwatka Lake in Whitehorse, another near Mayo and a third on Aishihik Lake.
While Yukon is mostly covered with forests, most of the trees are small and take a long time to grow and regenerate because of the dry cold climate. There is a considerable amount of small scale logging, but the only area that can sustain industrial forestry is in the southeast with its wetter climate. However, distance from markets and fluctuating prices have resulted in a boom-and-bust industry.
A small amount of natural gas is currently produced in the southeast, but little exploration has been done in other parts of the Yukon. It is believed that there are abundant natural gas fields in the Eagle Plains area along the Dempster Highway and possibly in the Whitehorse area, but distance from pipelines has hampered exploration.
Global warming is affecting the north more than other parts of the world and Yukon is no exception.  While residents might welcome warmer temperatures, the ultimate effects are not known. Higher temperatures would mean more evaporation and drying out an already dry climate, resulting in more forest fires and reducing the biological productivity of boreal forests, whose growth is limited more by lack of moisture than temperature. Also glaciers are likely to melt, and permafrost likely to thaw. 
Yukon is also the recipient of airborne pollutants from other parts of the world, especially persistent organic pollutants. Consumption of the liver of certain wild animals and fish is no longer recommended because of these.
Locally, mine reclamation and dealing with mine tailings that cause acid mine drainage left over from mine closures is a major problem and is likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up.
In an effort to encourage natural resource exploration, the previous (2002–2011) Yukon Party government led by Dennis Fentie has suspended the application of the Protected Areas Strategy (established by a previous Yukon New Democratic Party government) and has indicated its intention of not creating additional protected areas or parks.
The Gwichʼin people of Old Crow are dependent on the Porcupine caribou herd for food and clothing, as are others in the Yukon. The Porcupine caribou herd migrates to the coastal plain in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska to give birth. That herd may be seriously threatened by oil-drilling in the ANWR.
Canada has a vast geography that occupies much of the continent of North America, sharing a land border with the contiguous United States to the south and the U.S. state of Alaska to the northwest. Canada stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean. Greenland is to the northeast with a shared border on Hans Island. To the southeast Canada shares a maritime boundary with France's overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the last vestige of New France. By total area, Canada is the second-largest country in the world, after Russia. By land area alone, however, Canada ranks fourth, the difference being due to it having the world's largest proportion of fresh water lakes. Of Canada's thirteen provinces and territories, only two are landlocked while the other eleven all directly border one of three oceans.
Yukon is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the second-least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 43,744 as of March 2022. Whitehorse, the territorial capital, is the largest settlement in any of the three territories.
The Yukon River is a major watercourse of northwestern North America. From its source in British Columbia, Canada, it flows through Canada's territory of Yukon. The lower half of the river continues westwards through the U.S. state of Alaska. The river is 3,190 kilometres (1,980 mi) long and empties into the Bering Sea at the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta. The average flow is 6,400–7,000 m3/s (230,000–250,000 cu ft/s). The total drainage area is 833,000 km2 (321,500 sq mi), of which 323,800 km2 (125,000 sq mi) lies in Canada. The total area is more than 25% larger than Texas or Alberta.
The Coast Mountains are a major mountain range in the Pacific Coast Ranges of western North America, extending from southwestern Yukon through the Alaska Panhandle and virtually all of the Coast of British Columbia south to the Fraser River. The mountain range's name derives from its proximity to the sea coast, and it is often referred to as the Coast Range. The range includes volcanic and non-volcanic mountains and the extensive ice fields of the Pacific and Boundary Ranges, and the northern end of the volcanic system known as the Cascade Volcanoes. The Coast Mountains are part of a larger mountain system called the Pacific Coast Ranges or the Pacific Mountain System, which includes the Cascade Range, the Insular Mountains, the Olympic Mountains, the Oregon Coast Range, the California Coast Ranges, the Saint Elias Mountains and the Chugach Mountains. The Coast Mountains are also part of the American Cordillera—a Spanish term for an extensive chain of mountain ranges—that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western backbone of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica.
The Canadian Rockies or Canadian Rocky Mountains, comprising both the Alberta Rockies and the B.C. Rockies, is the Canadian segment of the North American Rocky Mountains. It is the easternmost part of the Canadian Cordillera, which is the northern segment of the North American Cordillera, the expansive system of interconnected mountain ranges between the Interior Plains and the Pacific Coast that runs northwest–southeast from central Alaska to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico.
Kluane National Park and Reserve are two protected areas in the southwest corner of the territory of Yukon. The National Park Reserve was set aside in 1972 to become a national park, pending settlement of First Nations land claims. It covered an area of 22,013 square kilometres. When agreement was reached with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations over an eastern portion of the Reserve, that part—about 5,900 square kilometres —became a national park in 1993, and is a unit of the national park system administered co-operatively with Parks Canada. The larger western section remains a Reserve, awaiting a final land claim settlement with the Kluane First Nation. The park borders B.C. to the south, while the Reserve borders both B.C. to the south, and the United States (Alaska) to the south and west.
The Dempster Highway, also referred to as Yukon Highway 5 and Northwest Territories Highway 8, is a highway in Canada that connects the Klondike Highway in Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie River delta. The highway crosses the Peel and the Mackenzie rivers using a combination of seasonal ferry services and ice bridges. Year-round road access from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk opened in November 2017, with the completion of the Inuvik–Tuktoyaktuk Highway, creating the first all-weather road route connecting the Canadian road network with the Arctic Ocean.
The Kluane First Nation (KFN) is a First Nations band government in Yukon, Canada. Its main centre is in Burwash Landing, Yukon along the Alaska Highway on the shores of Kluane Lake, the territory's largest lake. The native language spoken by the people of this First Nation is Southern Tutchone. They call themselves after the great Lake Lù’àn Män Ku Dän or Lù’àn Mun Ku Dän.
British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, bordered by the Pacific Ocean. With an area of 944,735 km2 (364,764 sq mi) it is Canada's third-largest province. The province is almost four times the size of the United Kingdom and larger than every United States state except Alaska. It is bounded on the northwest by the U.S. state of Alaska, directly north by Yukon and the Northwest Territories, on the east by Alberta, and on the south by the U.S. states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Formerly part of the British Empire, the southern border of British Columbia was established by the 1846 Oregon Treaty. The province is dominated by mountain ranges, among them the Canadian Rockies but dominantly the Coast Mountains, Cassiar Mountains, and the Columbia Mountains. Most of the population is concentrated on the Pacific coast, notably in the area of Vancouver, located on the southwestern tip of the mainland, which is known as the Lower Mainland. It is the most mountainous province of Canada.
The North American Cordillera, sometimes also called the Western Cordillera of North America, the Western Cordillera or the Pacific Cordillera, is the North American portion of the American Cordillera, the mountain chain system (cordillera) along the western coast of the Americas. The North American Cordillera covers an extensive area of mountain ranges, intermontane basins and plateaus in Western/Northwestern Canada, Western United States and Mexico, including much of the territory west of the Great Plains.
Mount Silverthrone, officially named Silverthrone Mountain, is a mountain in the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, located over 320 km (200 mi) northwest of the city of Vancouver and about 50 km (30 mi) west of Mount Waddington, British Columbia, Canada. It is the highest peak in the Ha-Iltzuk Icefield, which is the largest icefield in the Coast Mountains south of the Alaska Panhandle.
The history of Yukon covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians through the Beringia land bridge approximately 20,000 years ago. In the 18th century, Russian explorers began to trade with the First Nations people along the Alaskan coast, and later established trade networks extending into Yukon. By the 19th century, traders from the Hudson's Bay Company were also active in the region. The region was administered as a part of the North-Western Territory until 1870, when the United Kingdom transferred the territory to Canada and it became the North-West Territories.
Alaska occupies the northwestern portion of the North American continent and is bordered only by Canada on the east. It is one of two U.S. states not bordered by another state; Hawaii is the other. Alaska has more ocean coastline than all of the other U.S. states combined. About 500 miles (800 km) of Canadian territory separate Alaska from Washington state. Alaska is thus an exclave of the United States that is part of the continental U.S. and the U.S. West Coast, but is not part of the contiguous U.S. Alaska is also the only state, other than Hawaii, whose capital city is accessible only via ship or air, because no roads connect Juneau to the rest of the continent.
The Pacific Maritime Ecozone, as defined by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), is a Canadian terrestrial ecozone, spanning a strip approximately 200 kilometres wide along the British Columbia Coast, then narrowing along the border with Alaska. It also includes all marine islands of British Columbia and a small portion of the southwestern corner of the Yukon. Fourteen ecoregions comprise the Ecozone, ranging from the Mount Logan Ecoregion in the north to the Cascade Ecoregion and Lower Mainland Ecoregion in the south.
The Taiga Plain Ecozone, as defined by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), is a Canadian terrestrial ecozone that covers most of the western Northwest Territories, extending to northwest Alberta, northeast British Columbia and slightly overlapping northeastern Yukon.
The Boreal Cordillera Ecozone, as defined by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), is a Canadian terrestrial ecozone occupying most of the northern third of British Columbia and southern half of Yukon. Within it is found Kluane National Park and Reserve, and a small portion of the southern range of Nahanni National Park Reserve. Most of the area's population is based in the city of Whitehorse, and it contains most of Yukon's population. The portion in British Columbia is barely populated.
Volcanism of Northern Canada has produced hundreds of volcanic areas and extensive lava formations across Northern Canada. The region's different volcano and lava types originate from different tectonic settings and types of volcanic eruptions, ranging from passive lava eruptions to violent explosive eruptions. Northern Canada has a record of very large volumes of magmatic rock called large igneous provinces. They are represented by deep-level plumbing systems consisting of giant dike swarms, sill provinces and layered intrusions.
The Tintina Trench is a large northwest-southeast valley extending through Yukon, Canada. It is a prominent topographic lineament along the northern extension of the Northern Rocky Mountain Trench in British Columbia and it has its origin from the Tintina Fault.
The Alaska–St. Elias Range tundra is an ecoregion of northwestern North America.
The geology of Yukon includes sections of ancient Precambrian Proterozoic rock from the western edge of the proto-North American continent Laurentia, with several different island arc terranes added through the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic, driving volcanism, pluton formation and sedimentation.
Located in Yukon Territory, Canada, ... Kluane National Park and Reserve is home to the largest ice field outside the Poles.