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Canoe expeditions on the Yukon River

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Canoe the historic Yukon River and retrace the route of the early Klondikers on their search for gold


These 8, 13 and 20 day canoeing trips on the Yukon River are perfect for the novice canoeist who wants to travel far away from crowded tourist routes. Camps are set up on the gravel & sand banks of the mighty river, where you can enjoy a refreshing bath. The only major interruption to the river's smooth journey is the mighty Five Finger Rapids, once a major navigational problem for the large paddler wheelers. Around the campfire you will hear about the solution found for this problem and some interesting stories about the first river travelers.


  • Yukon River
  • Whitehorse
  • Carmacks
  • Hootalinqua
  • Big Salmon Village
  • Dawson City
  • Yukon wildlife
  • Historic Fort Selkirk

The 8-day canoe trip down the Yukon from Whitehorse to Carmacks is specially tailored for visitors who like to travel far away from tourist routes, following the trail of the old history. The expedition travels over 320 km on this mighty river, exploring several abandoned settlements such as Hootalinqua and Big Salmon Village. Black bears are quite common in the Yukon valley and are often seen by guests. Watch the ridges of the cliffs along the river to spot the busy mammal. Moose are numerous in the forested foothills, and bald eagles nest along the river banks. Beavers are busy getting their winter supplies in, and several times we have seen grizzly bears strolling along the shoreline. 

The 13-day canoe trip down the Yukon from Carmacks to Dawson City offers a true Klondike experience. This expedition travels over 400 km on this mighty river, exploring several abandoned settlements such as Fort Selkirk. Wildlife is abundant and this tour includes the mighty Five Finger Rapids. At the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike rivers, you will find the settlement of Dawson City, the famous gold rush town of the Yukon. You stay two days in Dawson, relax in a fine hotel and relive the history of the gold rush and the tales of Jack London and Robert Service.

For the ultimate Yukon River experience try the 20 day canoe trip from Whitehorse to Dawson City. The tour starts in Whitehorse on the Yukon River with the compass needle set north, and you pass many relicts of the historic gold rush of 1898. The expedition travels over 700 kilometres on this mighty river, combining the two shorter tours into one amazing canoeing adventure.

  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Local Guides
  • Small group
Availability Jun - Sept
Duration 8-20 days
Departs From Whitehorse, YT
Difficulty Moderate
Group maximum 12
Meet on Location Yes
Pick Up No
Region Yukon Territory


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  • International number: +1 778 348 1676

For further information about dates and prices please check the details below.

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What's Included

Find out what is included and what to bring.


  • Canoe
  • Camping equipment
  • Historic tour in Dawson City
  • Meals while on the canoe portion of the trip
  • Accommodation in tent campsites along the river
  • 8-day trip includes one hotel night in Whitehorse
  • The 13-day trip includes 1 hotel in Whitehorse and 2 hotel nights in Dawson City
  • The 20-day trip includes 2 hotels nights in Whitehorse and 2 hotel nights in Dawson City

Suggested Clothing

  • Warm jacket
  • Rain gear
  • Hiking boots
  • Sneakers
  • Gloves
  • Bathing suit
  • Towels
  • Personal clothing suited to variable temperatures

What to bring

  • Warm sleeping bag (rated up to -10 degrees Celsius) (required)
  • Sleeping pad (required)
  • Canvas duffel bag or backpack (required)
  • 1-2 small waterproof bags (required)
  • Fishing gear
  • Tackle and license
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Daypack
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Flashlight
  • Pocket knife

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Tour itinerary

Find out more details about the tour and its highlights


Guide information: An experienced guide is included and will share his knowledge of the river and its history with you.

Restrictions: A background in camping and paddling is an asset but not necessary. These programs are open to expert and novice paddlers alike.

Transportation: Trips originate and end in Whitehorse, Yukon. All overland transportation included.

Weather: Summer temperatures average between 10-22 degrees Celsius.

Meals & Dining: Meals while on the canoe portion of the trip are included in the price.  However, meals while staying at the hotels in Whitehorse and Dawson City are not included.

whitehorse town in canada


Arrival Whitehorse
Individual arrivals in Whitehorse, and transfer to your downtown hotel. This afternoon we’ve planned a group meeting to meet your fellow group members and get to know your guide a little. We’ll review your gear and you’ll have a chance to pick-up any missing items. Evening free for optional sightseeing, shopping and touring. Overnight in Whitehorse.


DAY 2-7

Yukon River Canoe Tour
Our canoe trip starts with a transfer to the legendary Yukon River. The river’s name means “great river” and thus it is very well named. It travels more than 3000km from its source lakes south of Whitehorse, to the Bering Sea. During the next seven wonderful days, we’ll paddle over 300km on this great river to roam the Yukon wilderness. Our first day of paddling brings us to Lake Laberge, which requires some shoreline paddling. The reward is some wonderful paddling along the 30 Mile section of the river, a narrow, winding stretch that provides some great scenery, good fishing, and brings us to some interesting historical sites including the old trading post of Hootalinqua and RNWMP outpost. As we continue along, we’ll reach the confluence of the Teslin and Big Salmon Rivers; wildlife, including black bears and moose, is often spotted along the shorelines.

canoeing in yukon river in canada


Arrive Carmacks
After a week on the river, with very few signs of civilization, we arrive at the small native village of Carmacks, which was founded by Klondike Goldrush co-discoverer, George Carmack. You’ll have time to grab the first meal not-prepared by yourself in more than a week, before saying goodbye to your canoe adventure on the river. We’ll return to Whitehorse by road, a journey of just under 3 hours. Transfer to your post-tour hotel, the airport, or your next tour. End of tour services.


Arrival Whitehorse
Individual arrival at Whitehorse Airport. You will be met by your driver and depart immediately to Carmacks via the Klondike Highway. Your guide will review the route for the next 13 days and outline your camp responsibilities over a hearty dinner beside the campfire this evening.


DAY 2-9

Yukon River Canoe Tour
Our campground is located right beside the Yukon River so it is a quick trip to the put in. We’ll break camp and get an early start. Not far from Carmacks, we encounter the famous Five Finger Rapids. One of only 2 real rapids on the entire Yukon River system, Five Finger is in reality 4 large boulders in the river, creating some standing waves. A good test, on your first day, but the guide will review the important info prior to going through the rapids and your fellow travelers, who paddled the river from Whitehorse, will have some good paddling techniques by now. As we pass through the rapids the valley widens and the river begins to flatten out. We’ll pass by several large bluffs as the river meanders its way in a north-westerly direction. Black bears, particularly in the early part of summer, are easy to spot as they dig for roots and forage for new growth on exposed south-facing slopes.

Further on, we’ll pass by the confluence of the Pelly River before we arrive at historic Fort Selkirk. The oldest European “settlement” in the Yukon, Fort Selkirk was established as a fur trading post by Robert Campbell of the Hudson Bay Company in 1848. The original fort was actually razed by coastal Tlingit traders who historically held a trading monopoly with inland native bands. The post was re-established in the late 1800s as gold rush traffic increased and quickly became known for its riverside hospitality, roughly halfway between Whitehorse and Dawson City. Today, Fort Selkirk is a Yukon Territorial Historic Site and is home to a few residents from the local Selkirk First Nation.

DAY 10-11

Dawson City
Today we’ll reach Dawson City, home of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. When gold was discovered in 1896, more than 50,000 people arrived at Dawson City making it the largest city west of Winnipeg and north of Seattle. We’ll pull out of the right on Front Street, directly across from the Klondike River, which gave the region its name. This evening, we’ll “hit the town” just like the Klondike Gold Rushers of more than a century ago. First up, we’ll visit the historic Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino. This lively casino offers all the usual games, including Texas Hold-em Poker, and a raucous Can-Can floor show.

The next day, we’ll tour the town and visit all the important historic sites, including the SS Keno, Palace Grand Theatre, the Commissioners Residence, and the cabins of Jack London and Robert Service. We’ll then travel out to the Bonanza Creek goldfields to the site of the original discovery, and the famous Dredge #4 National Historic Site. Perhaps surprisingly, we’ll pass by several working gold mines, put back into circulation as the price of gold has risen dramatically the past few years. We’ll have a go at gold panning ourselves before returning back to town. Our last stop of the day will be at the Midnight Dome overlook, which provides a great view of Dawson City and both the Klondike and Yukon River valleys, and gives you a sense as to the vastness of the territory you paddled through the past few days. (Two night’s accommodation in Dawson City.)

canoeing in yukon river in canada

DAY 12

Dawson City - Whitehorse
Depart to Whitehorse on the Klondike Highway. We’ll stop in at pleasant Moose Creek Lodge for a coffee break this morning, and shortly after crossing the Stewart River, the highway generally follows the Yukon River Valley. As we near Carmacks, we begin to see the mighty river. Just outside Carmacks, we get a great view of Five Finger Rapids, and our guides will often plan a picnic lunch at the overlook in good weather. On arrival in Whitehorse, we’ll check into our hotel and enjoy one last group dinner together with new friends.


DAY 13

Departure Whitehorse
Transfer to the airport or join another scheduled tour program. End of services.


Arrive Whitehorse. Transfer to your downtown hotel. This afternoon, you’ll meet your guide and your fellow travelers, and have a chance to pick-up any last minute supplies. Evening free for optional sightseeing and touring. Overnight accommodation in Whitehorse.


DAY 2-17

Your canoe trip starts on the legendary Yukon River. During the next two weeks, we’ll 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 Yukon River. After just a few minutes on the river, we’ll leave our busy life and civilization behind us. We’ll soon reach Lake Laberge, made famous by Gold Rush poet, Robert Service, in his epic poem, the Cremation of Sam McGee. Service famously changed the name of the lake to “LaBarge” to rhyme with the line “on the marge”. We’ll follow that shoreline of the lake before we 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. On day 08, we’ll arrive in the First Nations (native) community of Carmacks. 

Shortly after Carmacks we’ll reach the famous Five Finger Rapids, 1 of only 2 rapids on the entire route (together with the Rink Rapids) and the only real hazard to riverboats traveling to Dawson during the Gold Rush. 4 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 problems. Following the rapids, the river valley widens and high bluffs border the river for long distances. We’ll pass the confluence 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 the Selkirk First Nation.

On Day 17 we’ll reach Dawson City! Located at the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers, Dawson City is a welcome sight after more than 10 days on the river without seeing a town or village. The afternoon is at leisure and tonight we’ll kick our heels “Klondike” style, just like the gold rushes of 1898! (Day 17 overnight accommodation in Dawson City.)

DAY 18

Dawson City

Today, we’ll tour the city including the cabins of Jack London and Robert Service and the Dawson City Museum. Then we’ll 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 a chance to pan for gold yourself and keep all you can find! On the way back to town, we’ll stop in at the Midnight Dome, to enjoy a magnificent view over the city and the Yukon and Klondike River valleys. In the evening we’ll visit Diamond Tooth Gertie’s casino for an evening of Can-Can dancing, gambling and lots of good fun! Overnight accommodation in Dawson City.


DAY 19

Dawson City - Whitehorse
Today we’ll return to Whitehorse by tour van via the Klondike Highway. The driving time is considerably quicker than the trip by the river. We’ll stop at a few scenic locations along the highway, including the incredible Five Finger Rapids overlook. Overnight accommodation in Whitehorse.


DAY 20

Departure Whitehorse
Transfer to the airport. End of tour services or join your next tour program.

Prices and Availability

Availability (2024):
Based on double occupancy.

8 day tour: $1930 CAD

Single room/tent add $290

  • June 2-9
  • June 23-30
  • July 14-21
  • August 4-11
  • August 25-September 1

13 day tour: $2690 CAD

Single room/tent add $495

  • June 9-21
  • June 30-July 12
  • July 21-August 2
  • August 11-23
  • September 1-13

20 day tour: $3850 CAD

Single room/tent add $675

  • June 2-21
  • June 23-July 12
  • July 14-August 2
  • August 4-23
  • August 25-September 13

Payment Details

Deposit and Taxes
Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.
A 10% deposit is required to hold your reservation.
Balance of payment is due 60 days before trip commencement.


Cancellation fees:

  • Anytime after confirmation: 10% of tour price

  • 60-30 days prior to arrival: 25% of tour price

  • 29-5 days prior to arrival: 60% of tour price

  • Within 5 days: 100% of tour price