Paddling Yukon River

Hello folks,

I am looking for reliable and team oriented partners to run down entire length of Yukon river to it’s delta by Bering Sea. (summer 2007) Also I would welcome any tips or advice from someone who did this trip already or has any kind of experience with Yukon River. Thanks and happy paddling.

I’ve been wanting to do the trip myself.
I researched it and it isn’t too difficult with only the five finger rapids near Carmack to worry about and that is mostly standing waves. There is the annual Yukon Quest race that goes from Whitehorse to Dawson every year with no problems noted on the trip. The rest of the trip is long and remote which makes it it difficult. It would take the whole summer. I’m retired so time is no problemo. I’ve been to Whitehorse and Dawson and seen some paddlers zooming by and thought, I got to do that. I hiked the Chilkoot trail which makes finishing the trip to Dawson a given.

Once you get beyond Artic circle you leave the hills and get into the boring marshes which has lots of black flies.

Verlan Krueger did the trip when he was 80.

You either have to bring a Pak Canoe or take something that you can leave when finished since flying out a full size canoe would be expensive. An OT Disco would be a good choice.

You can resupply in route, but it is expensive.

Also, a barge travels up the river resupplying the villages on the river. It might be possible to use it somehow, but that would be difficult.

If you don’t want to do the whole trip you can start at Whitehorse and end up at Dawson. There is a bus from Dawson to Whitehorse so you don’t need to hire a shuttle.

I talked to some Brits who did the trip from Whitehorse to Dawson – novices – and said it was a piece of cake. They did say they dumped when they got caught in a swirly.

Look at, the yukon and kayakgoddess’s description of a brown bear encounter on her way down the Yukon.

If you’re serious send me a note and we can talk.

Thanks Yak
Hello Yak,

thanks for your response and for your tips. I am doing some research as well and I just had ordered a book called Paddling the Yukon river and it’s tributaries, which should cover whole length of the river. I also did paddle from Carmacs to Dawson with my wife, but did not finished due to illness, but this time I would like to run entire length. I would definitelly love to talk to you about it, my E-mail:




dont do the "team thing"
Why on earth would you want to gather a team of unknown people, unsure of their expereinces, group dynamics, remote with people you dont like etc??? You would be better off doing it solo or with your own friends than to try and organize such a big trip and have it ruined by people who dont get alone…food for thought.

Get Mike Rourkes map/book from Fireweed books in Whitehorse (do google search) its a very detailed map book of the river and is widely used by those who race the Yukon quest each year. Very good.

Take about 8 weeks to do. Do web search for Verlen Krugers 80s birthday paddle maybe on the web site. Lots of info/stories and photos.

Have fun

Yukon and group dynamics
The point about not going a trip with strangers is an excellent one. I have seen problems on 2 week expeditions, even when most of the people knew each other, and I was trying to select good folks. I have organized several international expeditions over the years, so I have some experience in this area.

The Yukon is about 80 days from the headwaters to the Bering sea, most of it very remote. It would be kind of like spending three months in an elevator with strangers. You might be ready to kill them by the end of the first month, even if they were not bad folks. There are probably only four or five people that I know that I would be willing to go on a three month expedition with.

I, too, would like to do the Yukon, I even made up a web page about it a couple of years ago, trying to get people to go. But I don’t think that I would consider doing it with anyone with whom I had not paddled for a week or two at least.

If you really want to go this way, arrange a shakedown trip in well in advance to meet the people, align goals and expectations, see if you can get along with them, etc. I might even be willing to go on a shakedown, to see if I was willing to go on the trip with the group. Anyone care to run a river in Utah, Colorado, or Wyoming?

The alternative, as suggested, is to do a solo trip. I don’t think that a solo trip is that crazy, given the lack of technical difficulty.

My personal experience with solo trips is limited. I walked 200 miles in Spain on a solo trip/pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. I enjoyed the parts of the trip where I was walking and chatting with new friends, and did not enjoy the parts of the trip where I was alone. Based on that experience, I would not sign up for a solo trip on a remote river, where you might not see another human being for a week. Your mileage may vary.

The mental aspect of such a solo trip is perhaps more imporant than the physical challenges. If you go with strangers, I would think that the group dynamics would be the largest challenge.

Perhaps the simplest way to solve the logistics problem is to buy a used canoe and plan to leave it at the Bering sea, as someone else suggested.

Good luck.


Check out this site for info.
This site is maintained by the German Chris Breier. Lots of pics. links and misc. info. Chris is currently doing the river for his 7th time and supposedly there will be dvd’s available on the different sections this winter. You can back haul freight from Emmonek to Anchorage quite reasonably. I did the trip with the Kruger group in '02. Next time,2 people max!

Good luck with plans.

Hi paddletothesea,

thank you so much for your input. I know, you’ve get the point. Actually, my plan was to get people together and do some trips before, so we could try how its gonna work. There is nothing to loose.

Thanks Richard
Hi Richard,

Thank you for your opinion. You are probably right, that going with strangers would not work. My idea though, was to get together and do some trips before. Whole planning is just in the begining anyway, so there is a lot of time to make these decisions. But again, thanks for your input, I really apreciate it.



You forget that with a year or so of
planning for such a trip, you won’t be strangers when you launch. However, with a large group that wouldn’t happen. Paddling with a close friend doesn’t mean you won’t have conflicts, or else, why do they call a tandem canoe a divorce boat? I agree though, if you don’t want to have disagreements, then it’s best to travel solo, or for that matter move to a mountain top and live as a recluse. Going solo does eliminate personality clashes; however, you better be good at self rescue.

I was wandering did you get to paddle the Yukon? I am thinking of paddling it from Whitehorse to the Bearing Sea this June. I am looking for advices!