5 Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

What better place to enjoy the dog days of summer than Dawson City, where for three months of the year, the sun barely sets! We’ve rounded up a few tried and true ways to celebrate the longest day of the year.

National Indigenous Peoples Day

For centuries, many Indigenous groups across the continent have held celebrations and ceremonies around the longest day of the year. In 1996, after years of calls from various Indigenous organizations to create a day celebrating First Nation, Inuit and Metis cultures, the Canadian government formally named June 21st as National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Here in Dawson City, you’re invited to celebrate with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in at the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre. Listen to the Han Singers sharing traditional songs, plus live fiddle music and a barbeque!

Take a River Trip

Spending some time paddling down the Klondike or Yukon Rivers is another favourite way to celebrate the long days. You can rent a canoe from Klondike Adventure River Tours or relax as they guide you in a raft. Pack a cooler and stop on one of the sandy islands for a picnic lunch.  And don’t forget your camera! You’ll have a chance to see eagles, beavers, and muskrats. Bask in the midnight sun as you float down our pristine waters!

Go Camping

In Yukon, Indigenous Peoples Day is a statutory holiday, so lots of folks like to use the time to get out on the land and go camping! Any one of the well-maintained territorial campgrounds around Dawson City would be perfect to pitch your tent with friends or family. Try the Klondike or Yukon River Campgrounds if you like to be close to the water, or venture out to Tombstone Territorial Campground and spend your solstice surrounded by dramatic mountain views!

Hike the Midnight Dome

As early as 1899, people have been recorded hiking to the summit of the Midnight Dome to watch the sun circle the horizon, briefly dipping below it before rising again a few hours later. Those early celebrations had snacks and refreshments, flag raising, and speeches by local dignitaries. A less formal version of this tradition carries on today, though you can drive to the top if you’re not up for the hike! There’s often a bonfire in the fire pit, and many happy revellers hanging out and playing music.

Visit the Arctic Circle

If you really want to experience the intensity of the longest day of the year, plan for a drive up the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Circle. This far north, you can witness the sun circle low on the horizon without ever setting. It’s a sight you’ll never forget! Pitch a tent, camp in your RV, or stay at the nearby Eagle Plains Motel. 

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