Experience a quiet and remote section of the Yukon River on this 13-day guided canoe and camping expedition. Paddle along the wide river amid high bluffs as you make your way from Carmacks to Dawson City. Explore the region’s abundant wildlife and quiet trappers’ cabins, some abandoned and some still in use, and travel back in time as you follow the original stampeders’ route to the Klondike Gold Fields.
Explore Dawson City, tour an active gold mine and hike up to some incredible viewpoints. This itinerary brings you close to nature while also leaving time to discover the region’s history, culture, and contemporary art. Prior paddling experience is not required.
Day 1: Arrival in Whitehorse
Your driver will meet you at the Whitehorse airport and drive you roughly two hours up the Klondike Highway to Carmacks. Here you’ll meet your guide and the rest of your group, some of whom have already paddled the first portion of the river from Whitehorse. We’ll review the itinerary, safety, and everyone’s responsibilities for the next thirteen days. (Overnight camping accommodation)
Day 2-10: Yukon River
The campground is located right beside the Yukon River. You’ll break camp and get an early start this morning, and go through a crash course in paddling a Canadian canoe. Pay attention because the Five Finger Rapids are not far from the put-in. These are the only real rapids on the river, and easily managed. With the help of your guide you’ll have little trouble navigating the standing waves. As you travel on, soaring cutbanks and high bluffs dominate the scenery.
After three days on the river, Fort Selkirk is a major highlight. If time allows, the group may spend an extra day in this preserved trading post. The site is still actively used by hunters and trappers of the Selkirk First Nation, who are friendly and fascinating hosts. With its carefully maintained and restored historic buildings, this quiet village is as close as you can come to paddling back in time.
The camping beyond is usually on gravel bars with sweeping views of the broad river valley. Bears, moose, and eagles are common. Several spots offer the chance to hike up to viewpoints at the confluences of major creeks, and cabins and mining relics appear more frequently as you descend into gold bearing creeks and tributary rivers, ending ultimately at Dawson City at the confluence of the Klondike River. (Overnight accommodation at wilderness campsites)
Day 10: Dawson City
After more than a week on the river, you’ll arrive in the colourful boomtown of Dawson City. The city grew up almost overnight during the Klondike Gold Rush, becoming the largest city west of Winnipeg and north of Seattle. A National Historic Site, many of the false-fronted buildings and historic homes have been restored, and the town holds on to its frontier flavour.
During the long days of subarctic summer, Dawson is alive with festivals, live music, and contemporary art. You will spend two nights in a downtown hotel, giving you time to explore the town and surrounding historic sites. (Overnight accommodation in Dawson City)
Day 11: Dawson City
You have a full day to experience Dawson City today. Included in the program is a visit to Gold Bottom Mine. A tour of this working placer mine will introduce you to the history of Dawson’s famous gold fields, and show you how today’s family-run mines continue to search for the precious metal.
You’ll have a chance to try your hand at panning your own pay-dirt, too. You may also pay a visit to Bonanza Creek, site of the great gold strike and home of restored Dredge #4.
The rest of the day is free to explore the town itself. Depending on the time and the group’s interest, you may visit the cabins of Jack London and Robert Service, the Dawson City Museum, the Danoja Zho Cultural Centre, or take a walking tour of the town’s many historic sites.
You will also take a drive to the top of the Midnight Dome, the mountain that dominates the town, where we can see Dawson City, the gold fields, the distant Ogilvie mountains, and the river you have just travelled spread out in an extraordinary panorama.
You’ll cap it all off with a night on the town and a visit to Dawson’s famous gambling hall, Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Casino. (Overnight accommodation in Dawson City)
Day 12: Dawson City – Whitehorse
Return to Whitehorse by van, via the Klondike Highway, stopping to revisit the Five Finger Rapids at the scenic overview, before returning to Whitehorse for a last dinner together with your paddling group and another night in a comfortable hotel. (Overnight accommodation in Whitehorse)
Day 13: Departure Whitehorse
You will transfer to the Whitehorse airport for your return flight home.
This is an expeditionary trip, and changes to the itinerary may be necessary due to weather or other conditions. Any changes are left to the discretion of the guide.
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Rates are based on double occupancy