Yukon Canoe Choice, Itinerary

So wife and I are in the planning stages of a vacation to Yukon (our first) this August. We’re still selecting our river trip, but it occurred to me that I really don’t know which canoe to take. Some of the reading said the Yukon is really like paddling a big lake. If so, then maybe a kevlar tripping canoe would suffice. It’s certainly more comfortable than my royalex Prospector 16. The Prospector was my first choice, but the seat is too far back and narrow for touring. I could move the seat forward (new seat) but if the MNii will work well>>>>>??? Right now, I’m looking at the Big Salmon, the Yukon to Carmacks or Dawson, maybe the Teslin. Thanks for the input.

Oh yeah, any must see attractions or events we need to schedule the river around?

You and your canoe must be capable of making eddy turns. Where did you get the idea that paddling the Yukon is like paddling a big lake.? Campsite eddies are must make turns… The Yukon flows at eight to ten miles an hour… Any discussion of where to land will guarantee you will miss it.

Move the Prospector seat. . We are taking an Odyssey which is a deep big water version of the MN II with a flared nose that will go through standing waves without getting wet. But we know how to maneuver it in fast water with boat heel…

Again its not the boat as much as paddler skill.

If you do the Yukon straight from Whitehorse you will be paddling a very large lake that actually acts as an ocean… Pick the side you are going to go down and stick to it.

Knowing how to cross eddy lines is quite mandatory…

A Kevlar river tripper would be fine, a Kevlar lake boat like a MNII, not a good choice at all, and a bad one if you are wanting to do any of the other tributaries. I’d opt for the prospector


the link should take you to Mike Rourke’s guide to the full Yukon River. There are also half river guides, depending on what you do. For the Yukon, its the only guide you need, and won’t need any topo maps - indicates good campsites and how to run the Class II Five Finger Rapid. Don’t miss the dry-docked river steamboat at Hootalinqua.

Yeah, no problem with eddies here. Was wondering about the hazards and the Kevlar, more than anything. We live on a fast, tree strewn stream, just not a big one, and we’ve been doing it with kayaks lately. We’ll dust off the RX river boat. It makes my butt hurt, but she handles well. Just not the capacity for an extended trip.

How far are you going? Be aware that you have to arrange for your own transportation from wherever you wind up. Husky Bus does not have a canoe trailer. Kanoe People and Up North have a drop off point and periodically send their trailers for their boats. You’d have to enquire if there were any way to retreive a private boat.

That’s good information. Haven’t gotten to outfitter services yet. Still looking at rivers and itinerary.

Which river offers the best wilderness experience? We’re interested in good fishing, wildlife, mountain scenery, no poo strewn campsites.

You need to look at outfitters before rivers and itinerary. Transportation is not as easy as getting a bus in a city… Husky Bus is a van that runs three times a week. It may make way more sense for you to rent a canoe as we did on our first trip… We dropped it off at the Trading Post in Dawson per the outfitter. The outfitter did not have a facility in Dawson

Wildlife is not a given… It does not come on schedule. We saw moose big horn sheep and grizzlies. Which leads me to mention that grizzlies in camp are a possibility.

I don’t think you know much about the Yukon and its tributaries. I suggest you do some reading about the history. Its the history that makes this river unique. You will see people…Why?Because the river is still a working river. ( There are still gold mines there.)Yet if something happened to you rescue would be difficult and might go unnoticed so a communications device is important. We carried a PLB.

We traveled 500 miles in 9 days. Boat capacity wasn’t an issue.
Fishing… there are salmon wheels above the White. Below the water is too silty because of ash in the river ( its not due to pollution but rather an ancient volcano). You may see FN persons out fishing…

Poo strewn campsites? Most of the canoeists are from Europe and they know camping properly… We saw no yahoo beer banging boaters.

@Mattt said:
Don’t miss the dry-docked river steamboat at Hootalinqua.

Don’t ask… we did went around the wrong side of the island… Hence we must go back! Once you miss something on one trip you need to take another as there is no turning around and paddling upstream ( though in Dawson we were able to ferry cross river to visit the cave man and return to town)

I am still looking for shuttle services for private boats. I was curious… and have found only shuttles for rental boats.

We will have our canoe but end in Carmacks at the campground where we will send one of us back to Whitehorse via Husky Bus to get our truck and trailer and return to that campground ( Coal Banks) where we continue by road to Chicken.
so the only reservation we need is for Husky Bus and not any outfitter.

Went on the HB website. There is service southbound 3 days a week… And the website says contact them for transport of canoes. Maybe that will be helpful


I know that Husky Bus had a canoe trailer last year, but probably only use if for charters - i.e., a large enough group to make it worth the cost. (they picked up a group if 8 with 4 canoes at Ft McPherson with a van and trailer - $3,400 for that long trip) I paid something like $70 extra to take my Pakcanoe on the bus, back from Dawson to Whitehorse - you might just give them a call and see if they have any return trips scheduled for which they are bringing a canoe trailer, and have room. Not sure if I remember right, but I seem to recall them telling me they could bring the trailer anytime, and charge $100 per canoe ? call them and see what they say.

With two people, this is an option: camp at Robert Service campground or anywhere else you could keep your canoe and gear for a couple of days. Meanwhile, one person takes the vehicle to Dawson, leaves it there for the return, and rides Husky Bus back to Whitehorse, and hike a couple of miles back to the campground - launch from there the next day. It is downstream from the dam, so no portage involved

How do you modify a post once its posted ?

anyway, doing the 2 person self shuttle also works from Carmacks, form the private campground (Coal Mine c.g.) if you have made the arrangement to be picked up there.

Great information about the shuttle. Certainly works into the cost/benefit analysis of using a private canoe or renting. I also don’t have the best canoe for such a trip. A 17 footer would likely be more comfortable and hold more gear. Wish I had held on to that Mad River Horizon 17 I had a decade ago.

Lots to consider. I’ll make some calls and report back if I find anything beyond what was mentioned. Thanks.

P.S. I’m honing in on the Big Salmon or Teslin, possibly skipping the trip from Carmacks to Dawson. I do have a PLB and it’s about due for a battery change. Thanks for reminding me.

Mattt if you wave the mouse in the upper right corner of your post there is a little gear wheel. You can click on it and edit for one hour.

We will be dragging a trailer. Our plan is to stow the trailer at Pioneer Campground and launch from Kanoe People. We will stash the truck at Wal Mart. Husky bus will stop at Wal Mart.
I am not finding the schedule yet. Four years ago the van left Dawson at Noon and so Carmacks around two thirty… We were in Whitehorse by five.

I have no idea how to get back to Quiet Lake as its not on the van route

On December 23 Karls made the following announcement in another thread:
“Currently the edit feature is available for 1 hour after posting, so that might be why the gear disappears on you. We’re going to change that to allow you all to edit your posts indefinitely.”

Then made it happen. :slight_smile:

Ok…good. Wasnt paying attention! I wish the gear was not quite so invisible though. It still requires hovering over the area
Now you all have us thinking about dragging the trailer to Coal Banks and getting the bus back and staying that night in Robert Service campground. Obviously we will have a tent too!

The schedule that HB has ( if it does not change ) is amenable for a run to Carmacks and getting back to Whitehorse the same day… The other advantage for us this time is we are crossing Lac Laberge and that can involve wind delays. Better not to be hung up on a pick up schedule at Carmacks.

If you rent a canoe though the Big Salmon and other rivers open up…But you would still have to call as another wrinkle might be minimum group sizes.
Last time we rented a Wenonah Cascade from Kanoe People. heavy barge but it was comfortable and no speed demon needed on this river… It was a dry ride even through Five Fingers… Shame its no longer made. Its 17.5 feet long.
Loon Watcher I have to mention that we really liked Carmacks to Dawson… So much we read on Five FInger Rapids that we had overthunk it… It was magnificent though. I wish I had had a Go Pro going. Rink was fun too. Its unbroken whitewater to pucker you up…except on the far outside where it is just fast smooth water.
We also loved Fort Selkirk And the bakery at Kirkpatrick Creek ( a collection of cobbled together structure to form a house and bakery that services the gold mines)

Oh yeah - definitely plan on stopping at Fort Selkirk if you do the trip to Dawson - restored town/village with 20 something buildings, free camping.