Canoeing the Wild Yukon River – 19 Days Expedition
Activity Level 2/8
Duration 19 days and 19 nights
Distance 620 km
Get into the rhythm of an extended canoe expedition on the mythic Yukon river. This immersive 19-day 620-km canoeing experience includes 17-day on the Yukon River in pure wilderness with two days off seeded with cultural/immersive activities, and two days exploration of Whitehorse and Dawson City prior and after your trip. Learn the fundamentals of canoeing and camping early in your journey and progressively become part of this vibrant nature surrounding you. Get to see rich wildlife, old ship wrecks and interpretative sites from the Gold Rush, and have the opportunity to fish and observe the migration of Canada Geese. As this tour is meant to be a truly immersive experience, your guide will teach you about First nation culture, wilderness survival skills, Yukon’s natural history, animal tracks and vegetation identification, Gold Rush history and Yukon’s dog sledding history. At our carefully chosen campsites, enjoy roomy tents, wide-open views and ravishing meals by a warm campfire. Travelling the Yukon River in early Fall is the best time to see active wildlife, fall colors, long days with very good chances of viewing northern lights.
Immersion in the Northern Culture.
- Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the morning at 9 AM.
- Revision of personal gear at the hotel.
- Quick shopping for last minute goods (gear, alcohol, fishing licence, etc.).
- AM: Visit Miles Canyon (also called the Whitehorse rapids), a natural barrier that contributed to the establishment of the City of Whitehorse during the 1898/Klondike Gold Rush.
- Lunch by McIntyre creek, a prime location to observe Bald Eagles.
- PM: Meet husky sleds dogs and discover Yukon’s dog sledding culture, part of Yukon’s history.
- Return to your hotel in the evening and explore Whitehorse at your leisure.
Getting to the start line: Boat Shuttle Across Lake Laberge
- Get picked up at your hotel at 10h00 AM.
- Get geared up with paddles and safety gear.
- Head out to Deep Creek, where a boat shuttle will take us across Lake Laberge directly to its outlet, Lower Laberge, where your Yukon River trip begins. This will save us the hazel of paddling in high lake waves with loaded canoes, which could be dangerous.
- At our first camp, get introduced to the camping routine: Setting up the shelter, kitchen and tents, gathering firewood, filtering water, starting a fire, helping cook dinner.
- Bear safety awareness workshop.
- Cultural/immersive activity: Northern light viewing (depending on conditions) and fishing.
- Enjoy the evening beside a warm campfire to get to know your fellow trippers.
Lake Laberge to Carmacks, 217 km
- 5 days, Four to Six hours paddling per day (4-6h/day).
- Travel through a narrow (50-100m wide), scenic section called 30 Mile, with clear turquoise water and good fishing.
- Stop at Hootalinqua, a gold-rush-age sternwheeler maintenance station and a historic trading post for First Nations.
- At Hootalinqua, the Yukon River merges with the Teslin River to double its size and become a 100-250 metre-wide channel with more islands.
- Cultural/immersive activities: Gold rush history, natural history, vegetation identification, dog sledding history (learn about the old Dawson Overland Trail).
- On day 7: We reach Carmacks, a small community of 500 people, where we’ll have a day off (day 8), for exploring and getting supplies and where you can access showers, a laundromat and basic stores.
Explore Carmacks area and discover the local First Nation’s culture.
- Enjoy a day off in Carmacks
- AM: Hike a little summit to gain elevation and have a 270-degree view of the Yukon River and get to appreciate the immensity of the landscape we are travelling in.
- Lunch over a camp fire.
- PM: Meet up with local First Nations and discover their culture and way of life.
- Enjoy a good dinner with fresh veggies and fruits.
- Evening: Feel free to go for a beer at the local pub.
Carmacks to Fort Selkirk, 134 km
- This 3-day section contains the exciting Five Fingers and Rink rapids and some wide multiple channels alluvial segments. The rapids were dynamited to make way for sternwheelers and are now not difficult to navigate.
- On the way, we’ll stop visiting and camping at the Five Finger Coal Mine, a mining operation of the 1900’s, where there is a nice little hike to do.
- Keep an eye out, chances to observe Dall’s sheeps on the west-facing slopes are pretty high.
- Further down, where the Pelly River merges with the Yukon River to increase its size by 50%, is located Fort Selkirk, a unique historic trading post that came close to becoming Yukon’s Capital City
- We will stop at Fort Selkirk for a day off to visit this site. There, we can access a wood heated refuge, where we can cook and relax inside.
- Cultural/immersive activities: Hike at Five Finger Coal Mine and Wilderness survival.
Explore the historic Fort Selkirk
- Enjoy a day exploring Fort Selkirk
- One of the highlights of the trip, this site is located on a high flat bench offers stunning views of the area and is filled with pre-Gold Rush history, post-Gold Rush history.
- Meet a local guide and perhaps a family who keeps a cabin on the site.
- Explore the several historic buildings, left by more than 175 years of history.
- Enjoys freshly cooked bannock, a typical northern type bread.
Day 13 to 18
Fort Selkirk to Dawson City, 270 km
- From narrow steep sided valleys to wide open four-km wide multiple channel floodplains, this river section is one of a great beauty.
- Keep an eye out for bears, moose and lynx, as this section is of one of the richest in wildlife.
- About 150 km down stream from Fort Selkirk, the river will double size with the White and Stewart Rivers tributaries. On day 15, you will be navigating in an entirely different river, that now out sizes most European rivers with its outstanding 230,000 km2 drainage, 3.2 times bigger than the Seine River watershed in France and 17.8 times bigger than the Thames in UK.
- You will get to camp at the mouth of the White River and see the vastness of its two-km wide deltaic shape and its milky color due to heavy sediment content brought out from the glaciated coastal mountains.
- Stopping in creeks to get clear water, you will get see real gold flakes and perhaps strike a chance to get rich!
- Cultural/immersive activities: Animal tracks identification, Origin of gold, Yukon natural history, Gold Rush History.
- On day 18: Arrive to Dawson City: Check in to your hotel, freshen up and start exploring this famous Gold Rush City and its western style architecture.
- Enjoy an evening dinner in a local restaurant, try the famous Sour Toe Cocktail and visit the legendary, and still operating, Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Casino, the oldest casino of Canada.
In late fall every years thousands of bald eagles gather along the Chilkat River in Southeast Alaska for their last feast of the season. A late fall spawning run of 10-pound chum salmon attracts this largest known congregation of bald eagles. Most salmons die shortly after spawning and it's their carcasses which provide large quantities of food for the eagles.
From August 31st to September 20th
$4450 CAD + GST
Hotel (4 nights)
Roomy 3 pers tent for 2 pers (16 nights)
Items included in the tour priceItems that are included in the cost of tour price.
- Certified, experienced guide
- Canoes and equipment
- All transportation to and from the river
- Safety equipment including two-way emergency communication device
- All meals during the tour (breakfast, lunch and dinner), with exceptions noted below.
- Airport shuttles in Whitehorse and Dawson City
- Local flight from Dawson City to Whitehorse
- 2 night hotel accommodation in Whitehorse prior to trip
- 1 night hotel accommodation in Dawson City
- 1 night hotel accommodation in Whitehorse after trip
- Tents, cooking and shared camping equipment
- All interpretative activities provided during the tour
- All local transportation – but not during free time in Whitehorse or Dawson
Items not included in the tour priceItems that are not included in the cost of tour price.
- Meals while staying in Whitehorse or Dawson City
- Transportation to and from Whitehorse (international flight)
- Option fishing license (25$) and fishing equipment (can be brought or purchased in Whitehorse).
- Sleeping equipment (sleeping bags and sleeping pad) and personal equipment
- Gratuities (tips) for guide(s): Usually ranges from 10-15 % of the tour price
- Museums and Casino fees.