Yukon, NW Territories...Nunavut

Kayamedic in Glacier NP post noted plans to travel across Canada to paddle Yukon & NW Territories (next summer?). We hope to do that in 2018. What locations in Yukon and the NW Territories (hopefully close to the BC & Alberta borders) are suitable for intermediate level paddlers with nothing greater than class II rapids? Car or multi-day paddling/camping. Recommended outfitters for help with shuttling? Also what about Nunavut?

The Yukon River between Whitehorse and Dawson is quite appropriate. You could do Whitehorse to Carmacks in six days if there is good weather on Lake Laberge… Its 250 miles. To Dawson is another five days.
Its best to find a guidebook from Mac’s Fireweed Books in Whitehorse ( one source) so you dont miss history. The river goes 8-10 mph and being on the wrong shore at the wrong time is going to be a disappointment. There is no going upriver.

Road access to the Yukon is spotty but its the best… I havent reconnoitered Nunavut…

Teslin to Carmacks is another possibility… 5 days from Johnsons Crossing. So is Big Salmon

I used Kanoe People but there are a number of outfitters for shuttle in Whitehorse.

Thanks, I was hoping you’d respond. This will be a good start – I like to plan our itineraries a year ahead. This won’t be till summer of 2018. What do you know about paddling Nunavut. I requested info from a Nunavut site mentioned in the NY Times on travel in Nunavut, but got no response (that was several years ago). An outdoor pursuits outfitter in Quebec thought that there might be outfitters there, but he could not specify.

Seems to me I remember either a story from Bill Mason or a similar type of story about being on the wrong side of the river to decamp.

Hit the send button before review – forget the Nunavut question. If you find out anything, will you post? Even if we don’t get to do it, would like to know what is possible.

Nunavut is nowhere Alberta BC or the Yukon… Do you mean the Northwest Territories ( what is left after Nunavut split off?)
I don’t know a thing save the Snake River from Duo Lakes YT( requires flight in) to Ft McPherson NWT. ( which does have a road.) tis up to class 3 though. When you get up there road access is sparse.

You may be thinking of the Nahanni… I have not done it but am sure there are outfitters. You may wish to post on www.myccr.com

This is a paddling destination after 2018, We are hoping to do all 50 states and all Canadian provinces & Territories. We have paddled 47 states and 6 provinces; expect to paddle the Maritimes next year, Maine & NH. Hope to be able to do Alaska, Yukon & NW Territories in 2018. That leaves Nunavut for the long future. Class III water is beyond our skills. We aim for Class I or less, so if we find ourselves in class II, we can still handle it. We don’t mind large lakes – can handle fetch better than whitewater.

You might want to consider the Thelon.

I guess I confined myself to relatively car accessible paddling which is in short supply up there

In searching Thelon River, found a load of information on rivers (and lakes) of Nunavut. Will give me time to research some of these.
Since discovering Farley Mowat’s People of the Deer 4 years ago (and his other stories) and other Canadian adventurers whose expeditions included, of necessity, paddling and portages we’ve been awed by the opportunities for paddling to the north of the lower 48. We could have spent a whole summer at Whiteshell Provincial Park in Manitoba, near Bill Mason’s birthplace, Winnipeg. (We did paddle there when there were no flying insects).
Although we don’t have the long winters where one can snuggle up with books in Florida, this will give us 2 years of reading in anticipation.

Save up money… Transport Canada is getting tighter on external loads on aircraft. The Thelon is too expensive for me.

I’m a kayaker from Montana who is interested in hooking up with some kayakers and/or canoers for long river trips, preferably with some whitewater. I’ve done many 1-2 week unsupported whitewater kayak trips on rivers such as the Little Nahanni and South Nahanni in the Northwest Territories; the Hess and Stewart in the Yukon; a Maclaren-Susitna-Talkeetna trip in Alaska which included a 4 mile portage with 650 feet elevation gain to Stephan Lake and Prairie Creek; the Happy and Skwentna in Alaska; many trips on the Owyhee, Middle Fork of the Salmon, Jarbidge and Bruneau, Selway, Main Salmon, Lower Salmon Gorge, Hells Canyon, and Little North Fork of the Clearwater in Idaho; the Grand Canyon of the Colorado; the Delores, San Juan, and Green in Utah; and the Rio Atengo and other rivers in Mexico. Send me a message if you’re planning a trip and are looking for participants.

My wife and I are planning a trip to Whitehorse for a canoe trip this summer. If there’s anyone here that would like to team up on an expedition, I’d be interested. We’re looking at all of the area rivers mentioned above. I’m also interested in finding some day trip opportunities along the route from Ohio. MYCCR doesn’t have as much for Saskatchewa and Alberta, or I’m just not navigating the site well enough to find it. I’ll start another thread on that topic.

There isn’t as much in AB or SK… And all travel downriver. If you have a few days the Bow River in AB is nice. Its tempting to cast your boat in Lake Louise but its not permitted… MyCCR is the best resource but a glance at Google Earth will show you why there is limited opportunity for day trips in the prairies.


Your challenge is logistics… It can be better to rent a canoe in Whitehorse. Getting it back from Carnacks or Dawson is a logistical concern… Renting allows you to leave it at the end… We are taking our canoe because we know the ins and outs of the HuskyBus and will leave the river at Carmacks where there is a campground. One of us can stay there while the other takes the bus back to Whitehorse and picks up our trailer and returns to Carmacks. Its a long day to do that. Then we gather up our tent and gear and go on to Alaska.

Its more of a float than an expedition. You wont be alone as there are non stop flights to Whitehorse from Frankfurt.

I spoke to the Husky Bus people, and they say they will transport a canoe from Carmacks:

Thanks for your message. Yes, a Carmacks-Whitehorse shuttle is definitely possible. The cost is $79 per person, and $60 per canoe. The pick-up point for canoers is usually the Coalmine campground, but if you prefer the Tatchun Centre (grocery store) that is fine too. Just let me know if you’d like to book, what date, and how many passengers + canoes and it would be my pleasure to assist with the booking. Thanks again and happy new year!

There is a fee to camp at Coal Mine. But it has a take out burger place, indoor eating place if it rains and decent tent sites also laundry and bathrooms and shower. There is a campsite near the bridge about a mile further down. Its free and littered with beer bottles and is a drinking place for locals. I wouldn’t touch that. Its closer to the store. Coal Mine used to have free bikes to pedal the 1.5 miles to the store which is pretty well stocked. The bikes were of questionable repair.

Yukon River is excellent option. Great combination of Class I river, scenery, and history (Klondike Goldrush). Husband and I did river couple of years ago. Used Kanoe People for transport and equipment. Excellent river guides available at http://bcyukonadventures.com/yukon-river-guidebook/

Consider a major historic route, long distance, good challenges. I solo’d the 1780 route of Alexander mackenzie from Ft. McMurray on the Athabasca river and paddled that to Lake Athabasca, across to the Slave River (need to portage 18-mile class 5 there…people there that can help) then paddled the rest of Slave to Great Slave Lake then followed south Shore to Mackenzie River…1200 miles down the Mackenzie to the ocean at Tuktoyaktuc. Total 2000-miles I did in just over 6-weeks. I used NTCL to transport boat all the way to Calgary and it only cost $70 US and drove up and got it. Amazing history—its the freakin Fur Trade Route for gods sake! Been used by HBC since the 1600’s. Lots of great things to see and experience!

For info on paddling the Yukon, I recommend reading the information available on the Yukon River Quest race web page, especially the racer’s briefing on the rules and preparation link. Lots of other stuff there too. There is even more info on the Yukon1000.com web page.

I’ll see you there in late June.

By the way, it is only 185 miles from Whitehorse to Carmacks (I’ve measured it directly 4 times so far). During the YRQ or Y1K, it takes paddlers little more than 20 hours of continuous nonstop paddling to get there.

The North has so many great rivers. The Yukon R stands out because of the access. Air charters are expensive. The remote rivers do not allow the acquisition of repair materials or food or anything else. I have always been attracted to the Yukon because it is the water highway. Lots of interesting people around with unusual outfits like rafts and big frieghters lashes together with a deck and a wall tent. Great place to learn about native ways.