Watson Lake Fun & Recreation
Plan your next visit to Watson Lake and be prepared to PLAY! Perhaps jet boating on the Liard River, check out the waterslide or beach volleyball at Lucky Lake. Water ski, camp, swim, or maybe a peaceful nature hike within our spectacular trail system. Like to play in the fall and winter? How about a guided hunt, alpine or nordic cross country skiing, snowmobiling, or maybe an afternoon of ice fishing.
Late in 2000, the Town of Watson Lake further enhanced its appeal in unveiling a new $7,000,000 recreation centre. This marvel features a community hall, meeting rooms, squash courts, fitness room, a youth centre, bowling alley, hockey arena, and curling club. The facility can accommodate a variety of tournaments and league play and includes concessions, generous spectator seating, great heated viewing areas, five spacious dressing rooms, and separate quarters for officials.
Our meeting and banquet rooms range from 600 to 6,000 sq ft and arena dry floor space provides additional areas of up to 16,740 sq ft. We have full kitchen and bar facilities available, or you may wish to take advantage of local caterers. There are a number of accommodations for you also. Whether it’s a small business meeting, or much larger gala, from trade shows to festivals and sporting events, we can meet each of your personal requirements and look forward to hosting your visit.
Add it all up and you’ll find this community, and its many attractions, among the finest in the Yukon Territory, the toughest part will be leaving.
Situated in the rolling hills of southeast Yukon, Watson Lake offers many ways to enjoy the outdoors. Whether it be quiet trails, fishing, white water canoeing, horseback riding, or a chance to slide on the only man-made water slide north of 60°, Watson Lake is the place to do it.
In the winter months, the gentle slopes and mixed aspen and coniferous forests can be explored by cross country skiing or snowmobile riding. Downhill skiing is available on Mt. Maichen and local lakes provide opportunities for skating or ice fishing. A new recreation centre complex provides bowling, squash, and indoor ice skating. Best of all, the spectacular Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) illuminate the black night sky with dancing displays of colour.
Learn more about Watson Lake by visiting the Watson Lake Community Library (in the new Town administration building) or stop by the Visitor Information Centre (north of the Signpost Forest). The friendly staff can help you plan a relaxing or exciting stay . . . take your pick! (During winter months, check in at the town administration building for brochures and travel information).
Watson Lake Trail System
Trail Distance (1 way)
- Wye Lake Trail 3 km
- Mid Lakes Trail 2 km
- Ski Hill Trail 8 km
- CMD Trail 1 km
- Raven Lunch Trail 3-5 km
- South Fire Guard Trail 5 km
- Hour Lake Trail 2.5 km
- Liard River Loop 4 km
- Gravel Pit Trail 2 km
- Old Alaska Hwy Trail 7 km
- Pipeline Trail 6 km
- Beacon Trail 5 km
- Old Ski Hill Trail 4 km
- Telegraph Trail 4 km
- Lucy Allen Loop 3.5 km
- Birds Eye View Trail 3.5 km
- North Fire Guard 8 km
- Y2C2 Loop 8 km
Ski Hill (Mt. Maichen)
- Alpine ski area that caters to all levels of Down Hill Skiers
- Elevation is 500 ft. the longest run is just under one mile
- Services include: 2 T-bars, 9 groomed runs, ski school & racing programs.
- Ski rental and gift shop with concession and licensed lounge are located in a modern first class chalet.
- The chalet can accommodate up to 100 and can be rented for private parties and other functions.
- Cross country skiing and hiking trails also connect at the ski hill.
- The view from the top of the ski runs are fantastic in all seasons. Good photographic opportunities as well as hiking. Wildlife and flora viewing are excellent.
Watson Lake Curling
Operated by Watson Lake Curling Club.
Watson Lake Swimming Pool
Public Pool — For those who would rather swim with chlorine than with the fish, the Dennis Ball Memorial Pool is open from May until August. 5,000 sq. ft. that will accommodate 75 people.
Change rooms and a lifeguard on duty.
- Swimming classes
- Public swim
- Adult swim
- Aqua fit program
- Noon lane swim
- Family swim
- Available for rental by the hour for groups and individuals.
Contact the recreation department or the pool for arrangements.
Watson Lake has seven well equipped playgrounds throughout the community.
Other attractions include Wye Lake Park, Lucky Lake Park, the Signpost Forest and Wye Lake Cabin.
Things to See and Do in Watson Lake
Meander Through the Forest
The famous Signpost Forest is a collection of signs started by Carl Lindley, a homesick soldier working on the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942. More than 65,000 license plates, road and traffic shields, and unique home-made signs are mounted on sturdy “trunks”. More than 2,000 signs are added each year.
Marvel at the Science and Mythology of the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights Centre is pleased to feature a brand new SciDome HD system by Spitz, powered by Starry Night. The new HD system displays 3 million pixels. The two-projector SciDome HD delivers bright, high definition imagery. The show will be a space related show that is displayed on the 360° dome screen. We are the first in Canada to have this system. Residents can browse through a variety of interactive exhibits that portray fascinating elements of Canada’s space program. Check out their web site below for the winter movie schedule.
- Open: May to September
- Contact: 867-536-STAR (7827) or www.northernlightscentre.ca
Learn about the History of the Southeast Yukon
Not just for tourists, the Alaska Highway Visitor Information Centre provides insight into the war-time construction of the Alaska Highway and the exploration and development of the Yukon.
- Open: May to September
- Contact: 867-536-7469
Fishing in Watson Lake
- Hour Lake — Located in Watson Lake’s Bellevue subdivision, the lake was stocked with rainbow trout in 1990.
- Lucky Lake — Located approximately 5 kms east of town on the Alaska Highway. Rainbow trout.
- Rantin Lake — Located approximately 20 kms west of town on the Alaska Highway. Rainbow trout.
- Watson Lake — Accessible 4 kms north of town on the Alaska Highway. Access also via the Robert Campbell Highway, west end of town. A boat launch is located on the south side of the lake in the territorial campground (off the Alaska Hwy.) Arctic grayling, lake trout, northern pike.
- McKinnon Lake — Located 32 kms west of town. Walk-in access from the Alaska Highway. Northern pike.
- Stewart Lake — 72 kms north-northeast of town. Access via Robert Campbell Highway. Arctic grayling, lake trout.
- Liard River & Albert Creek — Great for grayling and you can fish right from the shore.
- Check the Visitor Information Centre behind the Signpost Forest for local fishing guides, license sellers, and equipment.
Try Walking, Hiking, Biking, Swimming, Sliding, Water Skiing, Bird Watching, Picnics . . .
The Watson Lake area has many lakes and trails to enjoy:
- Wye Lake Park — This beautiful park has a picnic area and boardwalk trails. Interpretive signs, located along the trail that loops around the lake, identify local plants, flowers, and birds. Special events are often hosted from Wye Lake Cabin or from the band shell by the lake shore.
- Lucky Lake — Featuring the only water slide north of 60°, Lucky Lake also boasts a large sandy beach with volleyball net, picnic tables, and barbecue pits. A short and scenic hike leads down to the rushing rapids of the Liard River.
- Watson Lake — Just 13 kms north of town along the Robert Campbell Highway, Watson Lake offers opportunities for swimming, boating, water skiing, and hiking.
Contact: Alyssa Magun, Director of Recreation, 867-536-8021.
A generous helping of annual snowfall, awesome local trails, and Watson Lake’s close proximity to high elevations adds up to great sledding. Check out the Tags 200 and the Lucky Lake Drag races held annually on Valentine’s weekend.
Snow Shoeing, Skiing & Snow Boarding
The abundant trails in Watson Lake and area offer tremendous opportunities for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. Pack along a large thermos full of your favourite beverage and enjoy the spectacular frosty scenery of a Yukon winter as you glide or tread over countless semi-packed trails. Bring your skis and snow boards out to Mt. Maichen and ride the many runs or newly constructed half pipe. Equipment rentals are available at the hill. Mt. Maichen open: Early December until March
Contact: Mt. Maichen Ski Chalet at 867-536-8031.
Ice Skating and Tobogganing
Indoor skating is available at Watson Lake’s new recreation complex, opened December 1999. Wye Lake (downtown) and Hour Lake (Bellevue subdivision) usually have a large skating area kept clear throughout the winter. Please use common sense when venturing out onto frozen water; contact local authorities first. Check out the beach at Lucky Lake as well as the gentler slopes of the skateboard park for some terrific tobogganing and sliding.
Contact: Alyssa Magun, Director of Recreation, 867-536-8021.
Northern Lights Viewing
Observe, photograph, and enjoy Watson Lake’s mesmerizing Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). The best time to observe this illuminating atmospheric display is around midnight. Stay up and you’ll be rewarded with a glimpse of the dancing lights of the dark skies that scientists now believe originate from solar gas bursts. Colourful displays of purple, crimson, and most commonly pale green are seen. Using sophisticated multimedia presentations, Watson Lake’s Northern Lights Space and Science Centre embodies the wonder and mysteries of the Aurora Borealis with its summer shows.
Just cuz the water is frozen doesn’t mean the fish are too. Pile on an extra layer of thermal underwear, grab your boots, and head out to the many lakes in the Watson Lake area. Portable ice fishing huts are recommended but not a necessity. Check with local authorities before venturing out on any body of frozen water.