Yukon: 11-day Teslin/Yukon River Expedition
Yukon: 11-day Teslin/Yukon River Expedition
2 nights in Whitehorse, and 9 days on the river!
As you look out the window of your plane and see the endless trees, rivers, mountains, and forests of Canada’s north, you see a place caught standing in time. Your heart skips a beat as you imagine the coming nine days, paddling the same route as the gold prospectors almost 120 years ago. These are the Teslin and Yukon Rivers, and you’re about to experience a trip of a lifetime.
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Locations: Yukon RiverActivity: Canoeing, Hiking, Photography Difficulty: Beginner/Moderate
Endless forest, scenic vistas, northern lights, and hundreds of kilometers of crystal clear turquoise waters. Paddling the Teslin and Yukon rivers is like taking a step back in time. For the next nine days, you’ll be leaving civilization behind, and embarking on a journey that you won’t soon forget.
The Teslin and Yukon rivers was a major route taken by gold prospectors in the late 1800s, and traces of their camps can be found all along the river. From the abandoned steam-liner at the confluence of the Yukon and Teslin rivers, to the numerous prospector cabins, to the remains of gold dredges, history comes alive as you paddle through the majestic Yukon heartland.
We start at Johnsons Crossing to the north of Teslin Lake, and travel for nine days to our rendezvous point at Carmacks. The Teslin, known for it’s dramatic scenery and surreal sand cliffs, is home to a variety of birds and large mammals. We get our feet wet and master our paddling abilities here, before converging with the swift turquoise waters of the Yukon river. The scenery continues down the Yukon, with several incredible hikes and lookout points along the way, and lots of historic sites to explore and discover. Truly a trip of a lifetime, the Yukon/Teslin river remains one of our all-time favorites.
Day 0 – Whitehorse
Take your time arriving and checking into the hotel. This is a great time to explore the city before we meet up for our first dinner together at a local restaurant. Here you’ll be able to meet the group that you’ll be spending the next 370 kilometers with! Enjoy the night, because this is our last taste of city life for the next 9 days!
Day 1 – Johnson’s Crossing
We rendezvous at the outfitter and after a quick final check, we’re in the van on our way to Johnson’s Crossing. We go over some basic safety, have a quick snack, and then we’re off! The water is calm on this part of the river, and so we take our time enjoying the scenery and getting our paddling skills up to date. There are a number of excellent sites to choose from, and a fresh dinner is waiting as a reward for a hard day’s paddle.
Day 2 – Teslin River
After our morning coffee (there is always morning coffee!), we set out and continue our quest down the Teslin River. If we’re making good time we can explore some of the smaller creeks and streams feeding the Teslin, and hopefully see some wildlife! The scenery is breathtaking here, with large sand cliffs cutting through the mountain scenery. If you find one that isn’t too steep, you can even climb them!
Day 3 – Teslin River
Day three on the Teslin, and the river is picking up it’s pace! There are some spectacular sites towards on this stretch of the river, and some great areas to fish, if you decided to purchase the license back in Whitehorse. If you’re brave, there are even some great places to swim! Here, we also come across one of the most dramatic parts of the river – a large 180-degree bend in the river with sand cliffs on all sides, rising up to create a natural auditorium. Also, a great place for lunch!
Day 4 – Teslin River
Our final day on the Teslin, before it joins up with the Yukon. The scenery changes on this part of the river as we pass through large stretches of burnt down forest dating as far back as 40 years! There are also some nice straight stretches of river where we like to hold the boats together and set up a sail! Always a lot of fun, and a great way to “paddle” a few kilometers while enjoying lunch! The sites at the end of the Teslin river are excellent, with our first signs of ruins from the gold rush!
Day 5 – Hootalinqua
I will never forget the moment where we came upon the Yukon River, with it’s quick moving turquoise waters, rushing in and joining the Teslin at the historic ruined town of Hootalinqua. Here, we make landfall at the old village, and have the option of climbing to a scenic lookout, or even making camp next to the ruined cabins. The area has some surprises as well, including a massive shipwreck on a small island, and some excellent sites further down the river.
Day 6 – Yukon River
The pace picks up as the larger and faster Yukon River takes us through some incredible scenery. Today we have some excellent places to see wildlife, and some great campsites with traces of the gold rush all around. We also get into some choppier water, although still very manageable. Since we’ve been paddling now for 6 days, there are some great opportunities to test out our skills and see how much we’ve improved since setting out almost a week earlier.
Day 7 – Yukon River
As the river continues to snake its way through the Yukon, we find more and more surprises along the way. There are some excellent places to park our boats and climb up the surrounding hills, and plenty of smaller rivers to explore, where wildlife abounds. We save our best meals for the end of the trip, and although I won’t ruin the surprise, I promise you will not be disappointed. We camp at the Salmon river, an old village still seasonally in use by some local aboriginal people. Here some of the cabins are still in decent condition, and an old cemetery can be found a short hike from the site.
Day 8 – Yukon River
Our final full day on the river, which has now grown in size and speed! The scenery has changed over the last couple of days, as we’re now over 300 kilometers from where we started! We’ve accomplished a lot over the last week, and our paddling and camp skills have dramatically improved. It’s hard to give up the peaceful beauty of the river, but all things must come to an end, and Whitehorse is waiting! If it hasn’t happened yet, tonight is the night to stay up late and enjoy a magical display of the northern lights!
Day 9 – Arrival at Carmacks and Return to Whitehorse
After a quick (and scenic! Did I mention that this route is beautiful?) paddle throughout the morning, we finally come to our destination of Carmacks. We dock at a campsite out of town, and grab a quick ice cream while we unload and wait for our ride. A few hours later (the ride is also super-scenic!) we arrive back in Whitehorse, and check into our hotel. A night at the restaurant is well deserved!
Day 10 – Return Home or Extended Stay in the Yukon
We say our farewells, get each other’s contact information, and it’s back to civilization, where we spend the next week pouring over thousands of pictures of the past 10 days. This trip is unlike most vacations, and something that you’ll likely remember for a very, very long time. Once you’ve paddled in the Yukon, it’s hard not to want to keep coming back.
This package does not include
Transportation to and from Whitehorse
Personal gear (clothing, toiletries, camera, etc...)
Food and drinks in Whitehorse
This package includes:
Accomodation in Whitehorse
Whitewater Canoe Instruction
Camping Equipment (Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc.)
Canoe Rentals, life jackets, paddles
(Personal equipment can be used pending conversation with Overhang)
Transportation from Whitehorse to Faro
Food, Drinks (non-alcoholic), Snacks while on trip
All safety and First Aid Equipment