Go Wild – Alberta, BC and Yukon
21 days/20 nights guided camping tour in Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta
Wild, rugged country, like you knew it would be! The spectacular landscapes along the primitive Cassiar and Dempster Highways are hardly touched by tourism. The Arctic Circle, with the tundra stretching for thousands of miles in every direction, is the most northern point of your tour. Exploring and hiking in these areas as well as in the famous Banff and Jasper National Parks you visit the most outstanding places in a variety of landscapes of the Canadian Northwest.
Day 1 Calgary
Arrival in Calgary, transfer to the hotel and pre trip information with the guide.
Day 2 Banff National Park
Short city tour of Calgary and 170 km (105 mi) drive into Banff National Park. In the forested campground you pitch your tent for the next two nights. This afternoon your guide takes you on for a warm-up hike on one of the many trails near Banff. Walking time 2 – 3 hours
Day 3 Banff National Park
A longer hike on one of the many trails in this national park is on today’s menu. Your guide knows the best destinations for the times of the season, even the lesser known. An easy forested trail ends in an alpine meadow with wide angle views in all directions, ideal for further explorations. Maximum height at 2300 m (7660 ft) with 655 m (2181 ft) gain. Later you might want to relax in the warm sulphur pool and browse the many stores and boutiques of Banff.
Day 4 Jasper National Park
You board the bus for the drive west into the Rocky Mountain national parks. Short warm up hikes and many photo stops in Banff, Lake Louise, Bow Lake and especially along the Icefields Parkway with its glaciers and turquoise lakes. Not far from the little town of Jasper you set up your tent for the next two days.
Day 5 Jasper National Park
Along Maligne Canyon the river roars up to 50 m (165 ft) below you. Take a side trip to picturesque Maligne Lake for a 4 hour hike into the flower covered hills at 2300 m (7590 ft). You can follow the open ridge for many more miles, always with stunning views of the surrounding peaks.
Day 6 Fort St. James
West of the Rockies you get into the Cariboo Mountains and follow the Frazer River to the logging town of Prince George. Take a side trip to Fort St. James National Park and Historic Site. The former fur trading post with its old buildings is today an open air museum. The campground for the next two days is on the shores of Stuart Lake.
Day 7 Fort St. James
Unless you prefer to relax by the lake you can join the guide on a 12 km (7.2 mi) loop hike with 790 m (2630 ft) gain for a grandiose panorama view of the lake and into the distant plateau.
Day 8 New Hazelton
See Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers and a few smaller towns on your north-west route through this vast country of forests and mountains. Moricetown Falls is a narrow canyon where migrating salmon can be seen during the summer months. Campground at Ksan where Native guides explain totem poles and longhouses of an ancient culture.
Day 9 Stewart
The oldest still standing totem poles can be found near Kitwanga and Kitwancool. After setting up camp by a lake, there is time this evening for an excursion to the fantastic blue tinted hanging glaciers of Bear Pass.
Day 10 Stewart
A side trip to Alaska. Only 3 km and an international border apart but what contrasts. Canadian Stewart has a school and a bank, Hyder is purely Alaskan and has bears and a glacier! Black bears and grizzlies fishing for salmon are not bothered by spectators and occasionally walk through the village. Several movies were filmed here. Hike to SalmonGlacier. Walking time 3 hours.
Day 11 Cassiar Highway
Only a few hundred people live along this rarely travelled northern route. The scenery of the high plateau, framed by rugged peaks of the Coastal and Cassiar Ranges leaves a powerful impression of vastness and solitude. Camping by Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park.
Day 12 Cassiar Highway
Continuing your journey north you reach a lake where you can rent a canoe to go fishing, bring your diary up to date, or follow the guide to the summit of one of the surrounding mountains.
Day 13 Lake Laberge
After travelling for approx 90kms meet the 'Historic Lifeline to the North', the Alaska Highway. Along the way you’ll visit historic settlements which still today accommodate and assist travellers on their way to the Yukon and Alaska. Campground at Lake Laberge.
Day 14 Dawson City
Visit the infamous Five Finger Rapids of the Yukon River. A short trail leads to the spot where years ago many a paddle wheeler met its doom. Tonight you reach Dawson City and the campground on the banks of the Yukon. Don’t miss the town’s nightlife with gambling casinos and Can-Can girls. Overnight at Dawson City Campground.
Day 15 Dawson City / Dempster
After a visit of Bonanza Creek, in 1896 the site of the biggest gold rush of all times, you leave the Klondike gold fields. One of the world’s unique driving routes, the Dempster Highway, 730 km of gravel, is the only road connection to the Arctic ocean. Camp for the next two nights at the base of the Tombstone Mountains.
Day 16 Tombstone Mountains
Now you have choices of easy to very demanding trails in this incredible but haunting mountain range. The black basalt mountains have a moonscape appearance but are the home of caribous which can be spotted in small groups down in the valleys. Each season has its own rewards, but the burst of the tundra’s colours with dwarf birch and willow in late summer are an extraordinary sight.
Day 17 Rock River / North of Arctic Circle
You have reached the Arctic Circle, an imaginary line around our planet at 66° 33’ north latitude. It marks the southern limits of the Arctic, Land of the Midnight Sun. Two nights at Rock River Campground.
Day 18 Rock River
The Porcupine Caribou herd migrates through this region and provides a plentiful subsistence lifestyle that has endured, as the Gwich’in say, “forever”. The north-central Yukon was able to support a larger human population than the much warmer south because the caribou supplied food, clothing, shelter and a variety of tools.
Day 19 Moose Creek
On the way back south you’ll visit places of the northern gold-rush history.
Day 20 Whitehorse
Travel the Alaska Highway to the capital of the Yukon. Recommended visits in Whitehorse are Miles Canyon and the world’s longest fish ladder. You should also make time for the McBride- and the Beringia Museum as well as the S.S.Klondike paddle wheeler. Hotel and final get-together for tonight.
Day 21 Departure Whitehorse.
Transfer to the airport. If you are really gripped by the spirit of adventure you might want to consider a 7-day guided Yukon River canoe trip!