France Lake Wilderness Lodge
Yukon Wilderness Lodge


Due to the high northern latitude, the Yukon's summers are short but intense (Frances Lake is at 61 degrees north). Between May and September, we experience spring, summer and fall, and for the rest of the year, winter weather prevails. Although most of the snow is gone at Frances Lake (730 metres) by early May, it takes another month for the lake ice (60 – 70 cm)Winter dream to melt so the lake becomes navigable. Accordingly, our lodge summer season lasts from mid-June until late-September. By early-October at the latest, wet snow starts falling and winter has arrived again. From November through March, minimum temperatures can drop down to -40 or even -50 degrees Celsius, but average daily temperatures are considerably higher, ranging between -5 and -20 degrees Celsius. It’s a dry cold, and as a result very little snow falls — on average about 50 – 80 cm on the ground. Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge is also open to guests during parts of the winter.

Our main season, however, is in summer, and the period between June and September offersView across the lodge bay everything from midsummer to fall conditions. Our typical summer weather is characterized by lots of sunshine and pleasant temperatures. In the course of the day, clouds may build up, leading to short, local rainshowers. This produces a memorable ambiance, with towering clouds and colorful rainbows in the afternoons and evenings. Persistent periods of bad weather are just as rare as cloudless skies. Heavy thunderstorms can cause extensive forest fires, whose smoky haze can dim the sky over large areas at times. Typical weather in the summer months is as follows:

If you're travelling in June, you'll love the long, bright days. It never gets really dark because the sun drops below the horizon for only a couple of hours at night. You'll be dazzled by the beautiful flora in the area, with vivid green leaves and the first flowers of the season creating a memorable landscape. Beginning in mid-June, the mosquitoes can become annoying, especially in thick bush and swampy areas. As a result of the snow and ice melt in the mountains, by mid-June the lake is at its peak level; later on the water level drops by several metres. Therefore, June is an excellent time to explore the lake's many shallow bays and inlets by boat and canoe. On the other hand, because the water reaches right up to the bush line, possibilities to walk along the lake shore are limited. June is also a great time for angling, and we generally observe many animals at this time. Sometimes cow moose and their calves pass by directly in front of the lodge, however, it must be clearly stated that animal observations are always a matter of luck and coincidence.

Vivid green leaves Bright Yukon summer night Young moose

Throughout July, the days are still long and temperatures can be summery warm. Maximum temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius are common, but the lake water rarely exceeds 18 degrees. Summer is at its best during July — the forest is lush and green, and many shrubs and flowers are in full bloom. Mosquitoes are still quite active, but towards the end of the month their numbers are lessening. However, on the lake, in a boat or canoe, mosquitoes are hardly a bother. The dropping water level exposes more and more shoreline for walking during this month. July can also offer some rewarding animal encounters: very close to us, on the island in front of the lodge, a bald eagle pair breeds every year. We can either observe the raising of the young by telescope directly from the lodge or move closer by boat. Many water birds populate the lake: in particular, iconic loon are often seen in big flocks patrolling our bay or heard making their thrilling calls across the lake. Beavers can sometimes be seen floating quietly on the lake, or when we go visiting their impressive empire a little off the main lake.

Bald eagle on the lookout Wild rose in bloom Hot summer day on the lake

In the course of August, the nights get increasingly darker and wonderful evening scenes are witnessed. Daytime temperatures are still quite warm, but particularly at night and towards the end of the month, it can chill down markedly. It's not uncommon for the first snow to fall in the higher mountains during this time, however it usually soon melts away again. Mosquitoes are in rapid decline in August, and by the end of the month they are hardly noticeable. The exposed shoreline along the lake is growing wider and invites visitors for extensive excursions or an evening stroll after dinner. Occasionally, bears are on the roam, but we rarely see these shy animals. Encounters with wolves or lynx are rather lucky events. Instead, we delight in encounters with the many smaller animals, such as squirrels, hares and porcupines that live around the lodge. Finally, August offers the first ripe berries of the summer, including currants, blueberries and raspberries, which can act as a tasty snack during strolls in the forest or on our nature-interpretive trail.

Evening paddle The wide shoreline invites for walking Hiking in the woods

September marks the onset of fall and with it the fantastic fall colors. The ground vegetation turns to reddish and the deciduous trees to yellow and orange. Around September 10–15, the Indian Summer is at its best at Frances Lake. Afterwards, gusty winds can cause the leaves to quickly drop, and by the end of the month the scenery looks bare and bleak. On clear nights it gets noticeably chilly, with temperatures below the freezing level. Often, during the early morning hours, fog develops over the lake, giving way to brilliant sunshine before noon — magic moments! During the day, it is still reasonably mild and mosquitoes are definitely not an issue anymore. However, other animals occupy the sky in large flocks: it's the time of the annual bird migration, when thousands of cranes pass by for weeks, day and night, travelling across Frances Lake on their southbound journey. Cranberries and mushrooms are at their peak at this time, and enrich our daily menu. The lake's water level is approaching its low, allowing for extensive walks along the shore. Finally, beginning in late August, clear nights offer a good chance to see the northern lights flickering in the sky — a truly breathtaking spectacle!

The cranberries are ripe The glory of fall colours Northern lights on the night sky

A stay with us at Frances Lake Wilderness Lodge offers many memorable experiences at any time, and is always good for a pleasant surprise, which is why our slogan is:

«Discover the Unexpected!»

Misty morning on the lake