Yukon River – The Classic Canoe Tour
The tour starts in Whitehorse on the Yukon River with the compass needle set north, and you pass many relics of the historic gold rush of 1898. The expedition travels over 700 kilometres on this mighty river exploring several abandoned settlements such as Fort Selkirk, Hootalinqua and Big Salmon Village. Camps are set up on the gravel and sandbanks of the river. Black bears are quite common in the Yukon Valley and are often seen; watch the ridges of the cliffs along the river to spot these busy mammals. Moose are numerous in the forested foothills and bald eagles nest along the riverbanks. Beavers busy about getting in their winter supplies and grizzly bears have been spotted strolling along the shoreline. The only major interruption to the River’s smooth journey is the mighty Five Finger Rapids, once a major navigation problem for the large paddle steamers. Around the campfire, hear about the solution found to this problem and some interesting tales about the first river travellers. At the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers there is the settlement of Dawson City, the famous gold rush town of the Yukon. Stay two days in Dawson City, relax in a hotel and re-live the history of the gold rush and the tales of Jack London and Robert Service.
Day 1 Whitehorse
Arrive Whitehorse.Transfer to your downtown hotel. THis afternoon you'll meetb your guide and your fellow travellers, and have a chance to pick up any last minute supplies. Evening free for optional sightseeing and touring.
Day 2 -17 Whitehorse / Yukon River. The Adventure Begins!
Your canoe trip starts on the legendary Yukon River. During the next two weeks you will paddle along this wonderful wilderness river passing old trading posts, modern off the grid cabins, and relics of the Gold Rush. The put in is located at the confluence of the Takhini River and the Yuklon River. After just a few minutes on the river, you will leave your busy life and civilisation behind you.
You will soon reach Lake Laberge, made famous by the Gold Rush poet Robert Service in his epic poem, The Cremation of Sam McGee. Service famously changed the name of of the lake to 'LaBarge' to rhyme with the line 'on the marge'. Follow that shoreline of the lake until you reach a stretch of the Yukon River known as the 30 Mile near Hootalinqua, a former trading post and RNWMP station. The 30 Mile current moves fairly quickly and is a prime location for fishing for Arctic grayling or northern pike. This section of the Yukon River is realtively narrow, so the chances of wildlife sightings including black bears and moose at close range are quite good. You will soon pass the confluences of the Teslin and Big Salmon Rivers and on Daty 8 you will arrive at the First nations community of Carmacks. The town was originally established by George Carmacks, one of the original discoverers of gold at Dawson City. Shortly after Carmacks you will reach the famous Five Finger Rapids, one of only two rapids on the entire route (together with Rink Rapids), and the only real hazard to river boats travelling to Dawson during the Gold Rush. Four large boulders in the river create a series of 'standing' waves, but by now, with your paddling techniques honed, you'll tackle the obstacle without problem. Following the rapids, the river valley widens and high bluffs border the river for long distances. You will pass the the confluences of several creeks, streams and rivers including the Pelly, White and Stewart Rivers, and encounter several gravel bars and larger islands, which make perfect campsites as they are flat, open, and generally free of bears. One such island is the former Hudson Bay trading post, Fort Selkirk. A territorial park, Fort Selkirk is one of the best preserved examples of old time Yukon. Several of the original buildings have been restored, and a few are being used by people from Selkirk First Nation. On Day 17 you'll reach Dawson City! Located at the confluence of the Yukon and Klondyke Rivers, Dawson City is a welcome sight after more than ten days on the river without seeing a town or a village. The afternoon is at leisure, and this evening kick your heels 'Klondyke' style, just like the gold rushers of 1898. Two nights in an hotel.
Days 18 Dawson City
Today tour the city including the cabins of Jack London and Robert Service, and the Dawson City Museum.Travel out to Bonanza Creek where gold was first discovered in 1896, to visit the Discovery Claim and see the impressive Dredge #4 National Historic Site. You will even have the chance to pan for gold yourself and keep all you can find! On the way back to town stop at the Midnight Dome to enjoy magnificent views over the city and the Yukon and Klondyke River valleys. In the evening visit Diamond Tooth Gerties casino for an evening of Can-Can dancing, gambling and lots of good fun!
Day 19 Dawson City / Whitehorse
Return drive to Whitehorse by tour van via the Klondike Highway. Overnight in a Whitehorse hotel.
Day 20 Whitehorse
Transfer to the airport for your flight out.