Yukon River

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Whitehorse, Canada

Yukon River Whitehorse Reviews

joelwhite1017 joelwhit…
2 reviews
By canoe from Whitehorse to Dawson City, YT Apr 23, 2008
You will be going through a very remote area, but if you have done a long backpack, or planned two week camp out, then you can canoe the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City, YT.

The river travels at a good clip, and you are going with the current, so, this is not a feat of strength. The exception to this is getting down the length of Lake Lebarge (see below). There are two rapids, and you keep to the right. When you get near Dawson City, you keep to the right. There are several places where it is difficult, if not impossible, to paddle upstream. Be sure to plan ahead for landings in this type of situation. You may not be able to get back upstream to the landing if you miss 'em.

As long as you have some canoe experience, and can safely deal with being 125 miles from the nearest road, then you could enjoy this trip.

It is easy to rent a canoe in Whitehorse. (You can rent your camping equipment too, but we had our own.) We used "Up North Adventures" and they were great. There are several other rental companies. Whitehorse has several large grocery stores, hardware stores, etc. that you can use for last minute supplies.

The Yukon River trip takes you through some very remote country. In the 400+ miles of river, there is only one road crossing, at Carmacks, YT.

There are several guides to canoing the Yukon. The one we used, and liked very much, was Mike Rourke's "Yukon River, Marsh Lake to Dawson City". The charts are drawn from the perspective of someone in a canoe, on the river, so it is not difficult to locate yourself on the maps. Campsites are indicated - and there are many more that are not indicated. There is a ton of historical information.

But, before you get to Carmacks, you have to paddle the length (30 miles) of Lake Laberge. This lake can become very dangerous with waves from the wind. We had to lay over an extra day at the south end of the lake to allow a storm to pass, and for the waves to subside. We stayed close to the right (east) shore, and found there were plenty of places to camp.

In Carmacks, YT you can restock from the local grocery store. The river side campground, Coal Mine Campground, is a great place to pull out of the river. They have campsites, cabins and a great hamburger stand. It is about halfway, so it is a pleasant stop.

Following Carmacks, YT is Five Finger Rapids and Rink Rapids. You keep to the right on both of them, keep your canoe headed downstream, and keep your weight low (kneel in the canoe), and you'll get through OK. Our 20 foot canoe did not take in any water. Friends in a somewhat shorter canoe did take on a little water, and had to dump the water out of the canoe below the rapids.

We would recommend that you spend a day or two at Fort Selkirk. This is an early trading post that has been preserved. "Papa" Don Trudeau and his wife Audrey are the hosts, and make you feel very welcome. You can't get to Fort Selkirk by road, only by water. The closest road is up the Pelly River, at Pelly Crossing, YT.

When you get to Dawson City, YT, find a place to stay and enjoy the city. For a drink & entertainment, we recommend the Westminster Hotel, "The Pit" for a beer and music.
Our camp on Lake Laberge.
Heading into Five Finger Rapids - …
Fort Selkirk
Camping on the Yukon River, YT
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