Canoe Expedition in the Yukon Wilderness

A Canadian epic. Paddle and wild camp your way through 350km of spectacular southern Yukon landscapes

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Trip Ref #10554

Canoe Expedition in the Yukon Wilderness

A Canadian epic. Paddle and wild camp your way through 350km of spectacular southern Yukon landscapes

DURATION

10 nights

LOCATION

Canada

ANNUAL LEAVE

8 days off work

SEASON

May-Jul

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Whitehorse Airport, Canada

ACCOMMODATION

Classic

Hotel · Wild camping

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY

Moderate

This is an easy-going expedition, you won't need any experience, just some fitness and a love for being out in the wild in all its elements

Paddle the calm and fast-flowing waters of the Teslin and Yukon River in a traditional Canadian canoe through an ecosystem packed with history and wildlife

Lookout for bears, moose, caribou and eagles along the shoreline, and head out for hikes to reach viewpoints over the Yukon Valley

Camp out in the wild beneath the midnight sun on the banks of the river and spend evenings taking chilly dips, fishing and telling stories round the campfire

Day 1

Welcome to Whitehorse

Welcome to Whitehorse! Your host will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your downtown hotel. In the afternoon there will be time to check out the city, have a gear check with your guides and a chance to pick up any last-minute supplies while in town.

Day 2

Take me to the river

Canoeing

2-3hrs

Driving

1-2hrs

Jump in the van and head south along the Alaska Highway to reach the put-in spot at Johnson’s Crossing. Your guide will show you the ropes with some paddling techniques before it’s time to hit the river. Your first day is a short paddle to one of many potential camp spots along the river. The river is slow and gentle in this area, making it a safe and comfortable place to learn.

Day 3

Into the wild

Canoeing

5-6hrs

Get stuck into the expedition with your first full day on the river, winding through a mix of gentle currents and some faster sections and riffles - these are all less than class 2 and your guide will show you how to navigate them safely. The Teslin River is part of the homeland of the Teslin Tlingit First Nation, for whom the river is still an important source of fish and moose.

Day 4

Eyes peeled for wildlife on the banks

Canoeing

5-6hrs

Tuck into breakfast on the banks of the river and pack down camp before putting in again. Getting deeper into the river ecosystem, keep scanning the banks as you paddle further down the Teslin for sightings of the many bears, moose, caribou and eagles that call this area of the Yukon home.

Day 5

Life on the river

Canoeing

5-6hrs

You'll be settled into the rhythm of life on the river by now, enjoying the rituals and roles that come with a wilderness camping expedition. Tuck into lunchtime picnics in amazing scenery while stretching the legs in between paddling stints. Each evening you'll enjoy a quintessential wilderness campfire dinner before bedding down in your tent to the gentle sounds of the river and the forest.

Day 6

Reaching the Yukon River

Canoeing

5-6hrs

Today the Teslin flows into the Yukon River at the abandoned trading post at Hootalinqua. For the rest of the adventure you'll be paddling on the Yukon’s most famous river. History is tangible as you pass relics of paddle-wheelers, trapper’s cabins, mines, and trading posts, now overgrown and returned to a state the first newcomers to the territory might have recognised.

Day 7

Further along the Yukon

Canoeing

5-6hrs

The Yukon River travels more than 3000km from its source lakes south of Whitehorse, all the way to the Bering Sea in north-west Alaska. Paddle long a remote section of the river today on the lookout for a good camp spot.

Day 8

One week in

Canoeing

5-6hrs

Continue along the remote section of the Yukon River, soaking up the feeling of being disconnected form the outside world for nearly a week already. Throughout the expedition your guides will be on the lookout for chances to get off the water and stretch the legs with hikes up to lookout points or epic sunset spots, giving you a fresh perspective on the Yukon off the water. On trips later in the summer you can look for wild berries to pick to add to that night's dessert or tomorrow's breakfast.

Day 9

The final stretch

Canoeing

5-6hrs

Your last full day and night on the river today as you soak up the wilderness you've been calling home for a week now. A lot of wildlife is commonly spotted on the banks around here, including black bears and moose, so keep your senses alert. Tonight will be a celebration with one final night out camping in the wild beneath skies that don't ever get dark this far north in summer.

Day 10

The paddling ends

Canoeing

3-4hrs

One last push today as you paddle the final part of your journey. After a week on the river, with very few signs of civilisation, you'll arrive at the small native village of Carmacks, where you'll unload the canoes and hop in the waiting van for the two-hour drive back to Whitehorse. Warm showers are the order of the day before a night on the town to celebrate the completion of an epic adventure.

Day 11

Farewell Yukon!

Your Canadian wilderness odyssey comes to an end today as your host drops you off at Whitehorse Airport in time for your onward flight.

Included

Guides

Expert wilderness guides

Accommodation

2 nights in a hotel, 8 nights camping

Meals

All your meals on the expedition

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Equipment

All your canoeing & camping equipment

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 9

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 11

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Despite the remote wilderness locations, you can expect to eat very well on this trip. Your host takes special care in preparing nutritious and delicious meals on their expeditions - just because you are in the wilderness, does not mean you have to eat freeze dried meals. Breakfasts will tend to be cooked oats with yoghurts, fruits, granola, breads and spreads. Lunches will be picnics, sandwiches with various meat and vegetable fillings, plus hummus dips, cheeses and fruit. Dinners vary each night, expect chillies and curries with rice and naan breads, big pasta dishes (good for fuel), plus ribs with roasted potatoes and cabbage salad.

This is a participatory camping expedition, so you'll be mucking in with food prep, cooking and clearing up.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Wilderness camping

You'll spend 8 nights wild camping out in the wilderness on the banks of the river. The group will choose the best spots towards the end of each day with advice from your guide. This is a participatory camping expedition, so it's a group effort to put up and take down camp each day. You'll stay in twin-share expedition dome tents (Marmot or MSR). You'll need to bring your own sleeping mat and sleeping bag, ideally lightweight pack down items such as a Thermarest. Your nights camping in the Yukon are some of the best memories you'll take away from this adventure.

Whitehorse

Either side of the expedition you'll spend a night at the Quality Inn & Suites Hotel in Whitehorse with all the usual amenities. It'll feel like luxury after your time camping in the wilderness. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with ensuite bathroom.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Whitehorse Airport, Canada

Anytime on Day 1

Ends

Whitehorse Airport, Canada

Anytime on Day 11

Transfers

You are free to arrive at Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport in Whitehorse, Canada anytime on Day 1 - your host will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your downtown hotel. On Day 11 your host will transfer you back to Whitehorse Airport in time for your return flight.

Arrival and departure transfers are only included in the main price if you arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 11. If you would like a private transfer outside of these times, this can be arranged with your host for an extra cost - please see optional extras for the price.

Travel options

Whitehorse International Airport is easily accessible from all major airport hubs in Europe and North America, generally with a short transit in Vancouver en route.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Twin-share Marmot or MSR, self-supporting dome expedition tents
  • 115 litre dry bag for the expedition
  • All group camping and cooking equipment
  • Canoes, paddles and safety gear

What's not included?

  • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat

What do I need to bring?

Please limit your total luggage to no more than 40 pounds/18 kilos

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Extra drybags for phone, camera and other valuables

CLOTHES

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Thermals (merino is best)
  • Warm hat
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals for around camp
  • Neoprene booties, mid-calf (not ankle height) 3mm or thicker
  • Rubber boots (minimum 10" high)

SLEEPING

  • Cotton or silk sleeping bag liner
  • Sleeping bag (2-3 season, with a comfortable rating of minus 5)
  • Travel pillow, lightweight packdown/inflatable
  • Thermarest or other lightweight sleeping mat

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Heavy duty hand cream
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellant
  • Collapsable fishing rod & line/bait etc.. if you want to try to catch some fish
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle (x1 litre)
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
  • Water purification tablets/treatment system

Pre trip accommodation in Whitehorse (single, twin or double)

Payable Before Departure

Pre trip accommodation in Whitehorse (single, twin or double)

Per Night

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Per Person

Private airport transfer - each way

Payable Before Departure

Private airport transfer - each way

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 135kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

You don't need any prior canoeing experience, the expedition is easy going and your guides will provide full instruction on how to get through the trip safely and stay as dry as possible. You don't need incredible fitness, but you will be paddling steadily for 5-6 hours a day, with some light hikes thrown in wherever possible throughout the trip. The main challenge is being out in the wild for a full week, with no creature comforts, little to no phone signal and 8 nights of consecutive camping. This is all part of the adventure - the Yukon will bring a sense of solitude and peacefulness that you can seldom experience anywhere else.

Great question! A standard pair of knee-high rubber boots - knowns as 'wellingtons', 'ditch boots', or 'irrigation boots' depending on where you are in the world - are recommended (minimum 10” high). Wear these with a felt insole and a combination of polypropylene and wool socks and your feet should stay comfortably warm. Carry a spare set of insoles and socks, and in the case you ‘overstep’ your boots, they can be used to replace the wet ones.

We also suggest you buy a snug fitting pair of neoprene booties available at canoe or scuba diving supply shops. Most have integral soles. If you get a pair without soles you can wear them inside any general trainer or sport shoe. The height should be mid-calf, not ankle height. Don’t be fooled by the ‘surfing shoes’ made of quick-drying material rather than neoprene. They do not provide the necessary warmth. Tip: if you use neoprene booties, drip a teaspoon of hot water in each one in the morning. Shake and test with your finger. Then put them on and luxuriate in the warmth!

‘Sport’ sandals have become popular in recent years, however remember that the water in Yukon is cold and the sand is abrasive, especially after a few days of wearing sandals. For the hikes and general downtime at camp, bring light hiking boots or trail runners. Be sure they are broken in before the trip.

Yes you can, with a licence. Popping a line into the Yukon to have a go at catching some Arctic Grayling, Northern Pike or even Trout to cook over the campfire is a fun addition to the expedition if you're that way inclined - this is a totally optional element each evening while enjoying downtime at camp. Fishing licenses can be purchased online or in person upon arrival with an authorised dealer in Whitehorse for a very reasonable $36.41 CAD/$26 USD/£22. You can find all the details on the Yukon website

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

The canoe has a strong connection to Canadian culture and is deeply embedded in the way of life for the Indigenous Peoples of Canada in the wilderness regions. The first newcomers to the Yukon; early explorers, gold prospectors, trappers, miners and traders would all have relied heavily on the canoe as the most versatile and reliable mode of transport. The type of canoe you'll be using is commonly known as a 'Canadian' - a descendant of the original birch bark canoes used by indigenous peoples of North America. The Canadian is a lightweight, mostly open-top canoe with plenty of space for baggage as well as two passengers (you'll be in twin canoes). Your personal gear is kept in large drybags supplied by your host which are then secured to the inside of the canoe. Paddles used are traditional style with a mix of wood and laminate.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation in North America to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however we suggest $10CAD/$7USD/£6 per person per day as a guideline minimum tip. Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality.

Your guides will filter water from the river and nearby springs - you don't need to bring any water treatment with you. Please just bring along a water bottle or bladder to carry your own water on the canoe and at camp. If you do want to bring your own water filter, this is fine and we suggest you read our guide on the best water filters for adventures

Temperature-wise, Yukon summers are pleasant and similar to many parts of northern Europe. Average temperatures from June to August will see highs of 16°c / 64°f and lows of 8°c / 46°f. The river environment you are paddling through is cold - you're close to the Arctic Circle up here - so the water will make things feel chilly at times. Evenings at camp will be a little colder, but not terrifyingly so, and you'll be well equipped for warm nights out camping. As with many remote wilderness areas, the weather can come in and change things very quickly. Heavy rainfall can happen in this area so you need to be prepared for the possibility of wet conditions on an expedition of this type. It's essential that you bring genuine, 100% waterproof jackets and trousers for this eventuality. Your host recommends that you re-treat the outside of your waterproofs with a new waterproof coating (DWR) before the expedition.

You are able to leave excess luggage at the hotel in Whitehorse to be collected when you return on Day 10.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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