Find in
Canada > Northwest Territories > Yellowknife > Yellowknife travel guide

Yellowknife Travel Guide

Northern Lights @ Aurora Village

Yellowknife with about 19,000 people is Canada's[1] northernmost city. In fact, it is the Northwest Territories’ capital and only city. Situated by Great Slave Lake in an area full of pink granite rocks, Yellowknife was founded by Alexander Mackenzie as a trading post. The explorer traveled up the river that today bears his name. Yellowknife is the government, transportation, and service center of the region. It is also the headquarters of many guides and outfitters. The city is still rich with the frontier spirit, as kayaks, canoes, dog teams, snowmobiles, and boats are more common than cars and trucks.[2]

Yellowknife is divided into two sections, a new town and an old town. The new town features high rise office buildings, apartment complexes, and hotels. The old town is lined with clapboard buildings that were built during the gold rush. Although gold was discovered in Yellowknife Bay in 1895 by prospectors on their way to the Klondike, the city’s gold rush boom didn’t ignite until 1936.[3]

Gold mining resumed after war, but at a much larger scale. The rise in gold prices allowed two gold mines to remain in business.[4] One of them, Con Mine, closed down recently in 2003.[5] Many jewelry shops in town sell pendants and rings that incorporate Yellowknife gold.[6]

A diamond rush in recent years was triggered by the discovery of glacier-trapped gem-sized diamonds at a location 250 kilometers northeast of the city. In 1989, a staking rush – the largest in Canadian history – was spurred when Dia Met company began staking land in the region. More than 45 million acres were staked, easily surpassing the land claimed during the Klondike days.[7]

The Northern Frontier Regional Visitors Center offers bush plane rides of the area. The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center has geological and historical displays and exhibits examining Inuit and Dene culture.[8]

The Dettah Indian Village can be viewed by taking a short cruise around Great Slave Lake and across the Yellowknife Bay. Visitors can hire dog teams to roam the area and sightsee for wildlife like caribou. The lakes in the region also abound with trout and northern pike, making fishing a viable option. The Great Bear Lakes and the other lakes in the north are the best places to go if you’re interested in catching the famous Arctic Char, a fish that resembles a salmon.[9]

In the summer, Yellowknife blooms with purple wildflowers, which can be picked and cooked as a substitute for spinach. At night, you can enjoy the northern lights or “Aurora Borealis”, which are streaks of color illuminating the sky. These lights are dampened when the city holds the Midnight Golf Tournament.[10]

“Con Mine.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Con_Mine>

Simpkins, Mary Ann. Canada. New York: Prentice Hall Travel, 1994. ISBN: 0671882783.

“Yellowknife.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowknife>

[1] Yellowknife
[2] Simpkins, 281
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Con Mine
[6] Simpkins, 282
[7] Id.
[8] Id. at 283
[9] Id.
[10] Id.

More Travel Guides

> Cities in Northwest Territories

Norman Wells


Fort Simpson


Fort Smith

> Provinces in Canada


New Brunswick




Article Contributors
Anonymous user updated 9 years ago

Some rights reserved ©.
The travel guide article on this page is subject to copyright restrictions.

Forgot your password?

member image
United States