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Yellowknife in July – what to expect and pack

Yellowknife Canada Day

Quick facts about Yellowknife in July

Weather, daylight, and Aurora in July

Average Temperature: 16.5°C – Warmest 20.8°C, Coldest 12°C
Average Hours of Daylight: 18:45:50 – Longest 19:46:04, Shortest 17:30:33
Average Aurora Observation Nights: 0
Tourism Popularity: Road trip travelers and fishing enthusiasts arrive in Yellowknife

July is like the only full month of summer Yellowknife actually receives, or so it seems. From the first day of July to the very end it stays relatively warm and primed for summer activities of all types.

It is also the first month that Yellowknife starts losing daylight away, but that isn’t a bad thing when you’re happy to snuggle up around a campfire. July also hosts one of Yellowknife biggest annual festivals, one you shouldn’t miss.

Let’s get into it.

Yellowknife Float Planes

Weather and Climate

July is beach season without a doubt in Yellowknife. The long days and warm temperatures make Yellowknife an oasis of summer activities outdoors. A brief rain shower might be thrown into the mix of the month, maybe even a thunderstorm, but nothing can really take away from the glory of embracing summer for all it is worth unless it is the summer of 2018 where it seems to always be raining.

Aurora Forecast and Viewing

July is not an idle month to visit Yellowknife to view the aurora. Right up there with May and June, it is simply not reasonable to think you will see the aurora during this month. Occasionally, at the end of July, just as it is getting dark enough, you might wisps of Aurora late enough at night, but not worth booking a trip for.

It is so unrealistic to see the aurora in July that the organization, Astronomy North, that tracks viewable aurora nights throughout the Fall and Winter stops tracking at the end of April.

If you would like to view the Northern Light during warms temperatures look into visiting in August or Septemeber.

What to wear in July

July is summer in Yellowknife, or at least we like to think so. Think shorts, tank tops, ball caps, sunglasses, and Birkenstocks. If the summer of 2018 is any indicator, maybe even a light waterproof rain jacket to stay dry in those random rain showers.

What to wear in July in Yellowknife is also based more on where you are going to be and what you are doing. Here are some different scenarios:


On the water where it still might be a little cooler, you might need a hat, sunglasses, shorts, t-shirt, but with the option to full on a sweater and windbreaker. Sunscreen isn’t a bad idea either.


During those days and evening on the ball diamond, you might need a hat, sunglasses, running shoes and long pants and shirt, or lots of bug spray. Days are hot and sunning, but evenings can be cool and perfect conditions for those mosquitos to feed.


When out camping it should be all about the relaxation but without bug spray, you’ll be sorry. Shorts, t-shirt, sandals, a hat, and sunglasses might be ideal.


While out hiking, especially in shaded swampy areas you will be subjected to the swarms of bugs, therefore, light, breathable pants are ideal as well as closed toed shoes. A t-shirt is acceptable with ample bug spray or a bug jacket. A hat and sunglasses are also ideal.

Basically just carry bug spray with you everywhere.

Yellowknife Summer

What else should you pack

Packing for the warmer month in Yellowknife is much easier than the winter. You need much less. During July, and depending on why you’re visiting, you really only need your essential clothing as mentioned above. Everything else is up to you. Here are some ideas:

Camera – A good camera is a requirement for taking good photos of the Aurora Borealis, but without them, most phone cameras work just as well, unless you are specifically looking to photograph the landscape and wildlife.

Telephoto Lens – If you’re a photographer looking for some good shots, bring a good telephoto lens for those opportunities to photograph wildlife and birds

Tripod – With that telephoto lens you will want some stabilization, even a small tripod will help.

Waterbottle – Always a good idea no matter the activity.

For Anything Outdoors

If you are planning on doing anything outside here are some basic things you should carry with you at all times.

Extra Socks – If you’re out for a walk or hiking you may unintentionally hit a wet spot giving yourself a good soaker. Have that extra pair of wool socks on hand.

Snacks – Keep yourself fueled or as a backup if you’re longer than expected.

Whistle – For those times when you might need to make some noise.

Map – Know where you are going.

Sunscreen – The sun is strong and long this time of year.

Bug Spray – Save yourself before you get carried away. Bug spray will save your life and blood supply.

Bear Protection – Bears are out and about with young cubs so it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with a bear banger or spray.

Things you can do in July

Here are some of the key activities you can do in July (did we miss anything?):


Campgrounds open up in the middle of May as mentioned above, but nothing is stopping you from packing your bag and heading out on a hike for a night or two. Just note that around Yellowknife there are few designated hiking trails that are more than 10km.


Hiking is an easy weekend activity and a quick escape from the city. We have a Yellowknife Online Hiking Trail Guide found here. A reminder though, Yellowknife is not a well established National Park. We have an abundance of wilderness but few long-trek marked trails for hiking. If you’re interested in multi-day excursions, canoeing might be more your style.


An activity that is slowly gaining more popularity around Yellowknife is birding. A good resource to learn more about birds in the NWT and Yellowknife is the Facebook groups Yellowknife Bird Arrivals and Birding NWT. A bird count and survey normally takes place in July.


Whether it be with a regular bike, mountain bike or fat bike, with the snow gone summer biking season begins. Fat Bikes, which are great all year, provide a fun way to crawl over the rocky landscape Yellowknife sits on. Fat Bikes can be rented or you can join a Fat Bike tour. For the regular mountain biker, there are many trails that have been noted or are under development by the local MTB club. Trailforks has most of them mapped out.

Outdoor Sports

With summer comes the return of many outdoor organized sports like slow-pitch, fastball, volleyball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, golf, and cricket. There any many more sports that are always looking for people, so even if you don’t have a team, there is usually one looking for more people, just put yourself out there. A good list of all the sports organizations in Yellowknife can be found on the City of Yellowknife’s website.

Water Sports

Be it boating, canoeing, kayaking or SUPing(?), it is easy to be on the water when in Yellowknife. You can explore lakes forever around Yellowknife it seems. And don’t worry if you don’t have a vessel yet, you can always rent one to try out or if you’re just visiting.

Garage Saling

This is loved by locals and might be a little strange for a visitor, but we love garage saling in cities we’re visiting. Yellowknife is a die-hard garage sale community. So if you want a fun Saturday morning activity try your hand at garage saling, and believe me, it is more intense than you think. Best places to find a list of sale:

Other things you can do in July

Eat Out – Yellowknife is a melting pot of different cultures from all over the North and the World. From Vietnamese and Ethiopian to Northern Fare and just good diner food with a twist. You would need more than a week to successfully eat a different cuisine each day while in Yellowknife.

Grab a Coffee – Like the abundance of eateries, Yellowknife likes coffee too, local coffee. Sure we have two Tim Hortons, but we love our local shops. Be it Luluz, Javaroma, Birchwood Coffee K’o, Gourmet Cup, Dancing Moose Cafe, Mario’s Marvelous Movie Emporium or Barren Ground Coffee. Yellowknife has your caffeine fix on lockdown.

Things you can not do in July

July is a summer month. Maybe our only one! Even if it is raining, it is definitely summer. So while Yellowknife embraces and loves its winter activities and lifestyle there is still a snowless and warm summer therefore not abling many activities prominent in the winter from being possible.

  • Aurora Viewing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Drive on an Ice Road
  • Dog Sledding
  • Ice Fishing
  • Visit the Ice Caves
  • Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Skating on an outdoor rink
  • Ski-joring/Kicksledding
  • Kite-skiing
  • Visit the Snowcastle

Annual Community Events

July is full of summer festival and events happening throughout the city.

Canada Day

Happening on July 1st of every year Canada Day celebration are plentiful in Yellowknife. The day normally kicks off with the Rotary Club parade at 11 am with floats from all different organizations and businesses throughout the community. After which the City of Yellowknife coordinates an afternoon of music, food, and activities for the whole family. On a nice day, this is held at the Somba K’e Civic Plaza. One highlight is the ice cream and a bowl event the Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Craft sell locally made bowls with ice cream for $10 but line up early if you want a chance to get a bowl.

Yellowknife Farmers Market

The popular weekly event happens on Tuesday evenings at the City Hall/Somba K’e Civic Plaza. The Yellowknife Farmers Market brings together artisans, chefs, growers and bakers in a celebration of locally grown and produced food. It is a great event to bring the whole family to each week for something to eat and stock up on for the week ahead (we sell freshly baked bread there ;).

Folk on the Rocks

Folk on the Rocks has been a staple event in July for Yellowknife for over 30 years. Out past the airport on a dedicated sandy beach of Long Lake, numerous stages are packed with performances and events for an entire weekend featuring artists from all over Canada from the far north to the far east. It is a celebration of good times, dance, and sandy toes. A dedicated Beer Garden, Kids Stage, Food Truck area are just some of the highlights of this long-standing event. We’ve covered Folk on the Rocks since 2010 here on Yellowknife Online, and we also wrote this excellent guide to making the most of the festival here, but you can also visit

Yellowknife Folk on the Rocks

Driving in July

Road conditions in July are not out of the ordinary. Roads are mostly asphalt with sprinklings of gravel patches and potholes. Some might say those potholes are worse than driving on snow and ice, so don’t get swallowed up in one. Also, try not to spray the vehicle behind you with gravel should you be stopped on some.

Road Construction Season

What July is Road Construction Season. With only a short season to dig into the ground, it seems that road construction is abundant. Throughout the season different roads or lanes are shut down to allow for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure. You can check the City of Yellowknife website for ongoing construction and road closures to plan your routes accordingly.

It is also often reported the highway – Highway 3 – Between Behchoko and Yellowknife becomes increasingly bad due to permafrost movement as it thaws and with road construction delays. Plan to go slow on that last 100km into Yellowknife.

Have something to add? Leave us a comment or send us an email.

Yellowknife by the month is a series we are producing to give you a better idea of what Yellowknife has to offer throughout the year. To learn about what Yellowknife is like in other months follow our tag Yellowknife by the Month.


About the author

Kyle Thomas

Kyle grew up in Yellowknife and is a local entrepreneur, writer, baker, and Yellowknife Advocate who is addicted to learning as much as he can about the community and sharing it with anyone who'll listen. In 2009 he developed A website all about living, working and thriving in Yellowknife for residents, newcomers, and visitors.

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