5 City Centre Loop Trails

April 13, 2014. Yukon River East Side process continues with rumors.... from now wanting to designate snowmobile routes to wanting to motorized parts of the Millennium Trail/Rotary Centennial Bridge. Are the motorized people not liking the results of the Task Force and survey so they're using their leverage to not accept the results?

June 9, 2013. Still awaiting results of Yukon River East Side survey.

For a number of years I've had this idea of 5 city centre loop trails. So I decided to make a new map of these trails. Left map: attractions along the way (these are listed in the righthand column on this page). Right map: walking map. For the walking map, think of walking about 4 km per hour for a moderate pace.


This network of trails and routes is walkable at this time, but as a tourist I'd be pleased to see some it better. As a senior, I'd want it better; as a hesitant walker I'd want it better. As a downtown resident, for sure I'd like to see this developed. This would be a core part of a Stay-another-day strategy. The great thing is that these are all non-motorized trails and they are accessible without a car from downtown. Another plus is parts are paved and stroller/wheelchair friendly. This core trail network is a tourist asset that is primarily designed for locals! Let's look at each of the loops and see what upgrades they need to be true core loops.


Waterfront Trail: With all the new condominiums, there are increasing number of people living downtown. Kwanlin Dun's Cultural Centre and the new shipyards Park will draw people to walk this trail. Yet, after passing through a moderately bleak construction zone, Downtown's feature walking trail essentially stops at Walmart. Read more about Marwell opportunities. North 60° Petro is doing test remediation at one spot this year.

The city's active transportation plan show a connection to Mountainview Drive running through the Industrial properties, but there's no timeline for this (map excerpt at right).

Spook Creek Trail: What walkers would really like to do is be able to cut across to the clay cliffs and loop back into town that way. We need to designate and build a Spook Creek Trail to connect the Waterfront Trail to the Lower Escarpment Trail. This new trail would connect at the Two Mile Hill at the corner of Fourth and Second avenues. The excerpt above shows no link for this concept. I've a separate page showing Spook Creek Trail opportunities.

Lower Escarpment Trail North: Designate and build an official Lower Escarpment Trail from the corner of Fourth and Second avenues over to the Black Street stairs. Bits and pieces of trail and road travel allows this to be done at present. The excerpt above shows no trail connection for this area.

Lower Escarpment Trail South: There's a new paved trail along the toe of the slope from Puckett's Gulch at Black Street to to Hanson Street.

A future extension of a paved trail south of Hanson Street to Robert Service Way is planned as part of the future land development (Downtown south plan). This would be done in conjunction with a berm that is to be constructed at the base of the escarpment to protect future building developments from erosion of the escarpment face that is occurring now or may continue to occur in the future. The plan also proposes 'anchors', visible from Fourth Ave., such as art pieces and edible landscaping.

Staircase: The plan calls for investigating the potential for a staircase to connect from the Rogers St. trailhead to the upper escarpment trail; it would include a half-way viewpoint (replacing the old viewpoint near Hawkins St.). Apparently the Downtown Community Association is applying for CDF funding to look at the feasibility and costs of building this project. In the Airport Perimeter trail I present an alternate proposal for a Ball Diamond Staircase.

The Downtown South Plan proposed crossing the South Access at 6th Avenue, but I've also heard that the city wants people to walk up to the traffic circle at 4th Avenue to cross. This part of the route needs help to make it more inviting than jaywalking! The Downtown South Master Plan calls for creating an "urban promenade" along a portion of Robert Service Way that would be a mix a commercial and residential development.


This is one of Whitehorse's sleeper trails. The Bridal Path. Great views, pretty open. Some people walk here because it is so open. As part of active transportation, Hillcrest is currently working to pave the trail from the airport parking area to the paved Baxter's Gulch trail. Initial plans are that it won't be maintained in winter — obviously not an encouraging concept. Some day in the future the whole perimeter trail will likely be paved. Here's Murray's look at the trail.

A great little side trail ( about 1.75 km) is to take the trail starting near the top of the Black Street Stairs and go along the cliff edge towards the north. The edge is obviously unsafe but the trail stays well back from the edge and so should you! Really nice views out over the Yukon River heading north. It follows along Baxter's Gulch before rejoing the Airport Perimeter trail.

Black Street stairs: The path from the stairs to Black Street needs a better solution. The paved path is often slippery and could use a handrail or a rerouting.

Ball diamond stairs: With stairs behind the ball diamonds, across from Robert Service Campground, the Airport Perimeter Trail would connect Downtown, Riverdale and the above-the-airport communities with the Millennium Trail at the Rotary Centennial Bridge.

As mentioned above, there's a proposal to build a set of stairs around Hawkins Street. I propose we build stairs at the ball diamonds first. Look at the number of people walking the Black Street stairs. Who would have guessed how popular they would be. Look at the Millennium Trail, the bridge. Remember the arguments around them! Now it's a very popular destination. Is the city still planning to consolidate some operations in the land below the south end of airport?


People often spend time at the hospital and need to get out for an hour or so for fresh air and contemplation. Let's create special walks from the hospital.

A neglected user group for these trails are people living downtown. It's almost the same distance to the hospital and the start of the Hospital Trails from downtown as from Riverdale. The hospital trails are the downtown residents' closest forested trails. The variety, the great views from the river bluffs over downtown and Shipyards Park, Long Lake and many pothole lakes, make this a special walking area.


Very popular with both downtown and Riverdale residents, it's also walked by people from all over, both city residents and visitors alike. The city reports 315,000 visits annually. It keeps getting improved. What is the status of the Rock the River project? Soon we may have an active living style playground for bigger folk. Thanks RPAY.


A new map will be up soon once I add in new trail routing at the far end of Schwatka Lake.

Enjoying Whitehorse trails, A guide to the Yukon River trails to Schwatka Lake, Miles Canyon and Canyon City, created in 2000 for Yukon Energy. It could do with an update.

Next steps

Create promotional text

Airport Perimeter Trail: Flat, except that accessing it from downtown requires either the Black Street Stairs (??? steps) or the Ball Diamond Ascent Route. Both ??? feet elevation gain. The part along the escarpment has spectacular views across the valley and especially downtown. You get to watch airplanes take off and land and in places can see for miles. Beringia Centre is an interesting place that could play a more prominent place in understanding the Ice Age: http://www.tc.gov.yk.ca/publications/ice_age_old_crow.pdf

Waterfront/Lower Escarpment Loop: mostly flat, alongside river, goes through downtown, Spook Creek Trail to be developed. Lower escarpment trail is a mix of bits and pieces of trails with options not marked. Peaceful parks, opportunity for interpretation of erosion and glacial Lake Whitehorse.

Millennium Trail: Flat, paved, almost all alongside the river; very nice; community-feeling

Hospital Trails: great views over downtown, pothole lakes, rolling hills, Long Lake, very peaceful oasis

Yukon River Loop Trail: This fabulous trail follows historic trails on both sides of the river, linked by 2 footbridges. Miles Canyon, parts flat, other hills, alongside river/lake; float planes, hydro dam, tramway routes, Fish Ladder; access to Hidden Lakes/Chadden/Chadburn lakes network of trails, all non-motorized, at least for now.