Northern Adventures: 4-7 Day Boat-Supported Canoe Trip Yukon River, Lake Laberge to Carmacks

 

This is one of our most popular trips. This wilderness adventure includes a scenic boat trip down Lake Laberge to the ghost town of Lower Laberge and the start of the Thirty Mile River. Described as “30 miles of magic” by National Geographic, this is the most beautiful, historic and exciting section of the entire Yukon River (click here to see a map of the area). It’s significance has been recognized by its designation as a Canadian Heritage River.

Emerald green in colour and crystal clear, it winds its way through endless forests of spruce and pine – around islands and gravel bars – under dramatic high clay banks – with bald eagles watching as we slip by below.

Wildlife seen along the river include moose, bear, caribou and wolf. For the angler, the river offers the finest Arctic grayling fishing found anywhere in the North. Trophy size Northern pike are also found in quiet backwaters all along the river. Have a look at our Testimonials page for some great fish stories!

Along the river are many remnants from pioneer days – glimpses at life along the river a century or more ago. At the head of the river is the now abandoned village of Lower Laberge, where we’ll stop to explore the cabins and telegraph station as well as the remains of the sternwheeler Casca. She was one of the fleet of steamboats that worked the river over a period of some 50 years.

As the current carries us down the river at an easy pace, we pass several log cabins and wood camps, then at the lower end of the river stop at Hootalinqua, another abandoned gold rush village where several buildings remain. Just downstream is Shipyard Island, where the sternwheeler Norcom was pulled ashore some 90 years ago – she is still intact to the point that you can climb aboard and walk her decks.

As we pass Hootalinqua, the large Teslin River joins the Yukon, creating a much wider and somewhat slower river.

Our next stop on the way to Carmacks is the abandoned village of Big Salmon, once a busy community with a trading post and Mounted Police detachment. Below Big Salmon we pass the wreckage of the sternwheeler Klondike still sitting on the gravel bar where she grounded in June 1936 and broke her back.

At Cassiar Bar, we’ll stop and pan for gold – this gravel bar was made famous during the gold rush for the richness of the gravel, and the “colours” that drove men to abandon their regular lives and head into an unknown wilderness are still found more than a century later.

Our campsites along the way will be carefully chosen for their view of the river and mountains. Your guide will cook gourmet meals for you over an open fire and keep you spellbound with tales of the Yukon!

The bridge over the Yukon River at Carmacks signals the end of the water part of our journey. Once we load the boats on the truck waiting at the campground, it’s an easy 2-hour drive back to Whitehorse. You can, if you choose, continue on to Dawson City by joining our 5-day trip from Carmacks to Dawson.

Rates:

$1,995 per person for 4 day trip, minimum 2 people. Discounts apply for groups and families – please inquire. Prices are in Canadian dollars. Prices do not include 5% GST.

  • All food and non-alcoholic beverages are supplied.
  • We also supply the finest in wilderness gear, including Woods tents, North Face sleeping bags and Therma-rest mattresses and pillows.
  • Includes transportation from Carmacks back to Whitehorse.
  • For information on what you need to bring with you on a trip with us, see our gear list.

Reserving a date for your Yukon adventure is easy – just contact us by email, phone or regular post at the address below and let us know when you would like to go. Click here for booking details.

Detailed Description/Trip Itinery:

DAY 1-2
Our van will pick you up at 8:00am at your hotel for a 45 minute drive to the Lake & our Lodge. Here our Boat will already be loaded with canoes & gear. Add the dry bags & we are ready to launch into the Lake (our Lodge has an incredible Lake view so a few minutes for pictures will be in order!)  We will then have a scenic trip down Lake Laberge, North to the Yukon River. On the way we will stop on a beautiful beach for lunch & pictures. The Lake is surrounded by mountains & is one of the most beautiful in the North!

Once at the North end we will land on the beach, which marks the start of the Yukon River, unload our Canoes & check our canoeing skills with a lesson or two! The Canoeing is easy & there is a nice current to move you along quickly. It is easy paddling. Also, here on the beach are the remains of a Goldrush Paddlewheeler & an historic old abandoned village called Lower Laberge to hike around & explore!  Once done you will launch your canoes into the River. We will follow behind in the Boat, just out of sight. Our Campsite for Day 1 is 6 miles down River on an island known for its views & fabulous Arctic Grayling Fishing. Catching our dinner  is easy & we will cook our catch over an open fire! Here we will set up our tents, relax & enjoy the Yukon Wilderness. There is a Bald Eagle nest just across from our Camp!

DAY 2-3
After a hearty breakfast , we will launch our Canoes in to the River. This is the 30 mile section of the River  which is characterized by clear emerald green water, Grayling everywhere, spectacular cliffs, winding through many islands. Usually we see moose & bears here. We often see a bear swimming the River, especially in warmer weather. They pose no danger, but are very exciting to see. Last year we saw a total of 12 bears in the River in 5 days. It was a very warm Trip & they love to soak in the River just like we do!  After about a 3-5 hour paddle we will come to the abandoned gold rush village of Hootalinqua. Here the Teslin River joins the Yukon & the River widens considerably. This is an excellent lunch stop & a great place for a hike to explore & go up to an historic Cemetery with a river view! We will then continue our canoeing down to a Riverside Campsite chosen for its beauty & views. We love to have a camp fire every night to cook on a site around & socialize! Steak Night is a tradition & they are especially tasty over a fire! It is easy to bathe in the River from all of our campsite & a dip is so refreshing after a day in the sun!

DAY 3-4
After Breakfast & coffee we will again launch our canoes into the River. The River is now wider and a little slower with excellent views of the surrounding mountains. This part of the River tends to be better for moose & larger animals. You will see  a lot of Beaver now as you paddle, as well as Eagles  & Osprey. The rare peregrine Falcon is actually common along the River as well. Sometime after our lunch break we will come to a stop called Cyrs Dredge. There is a fascinating Old Gold Dredge here, partly in the River, but most interesting is we can pan for Gold here! You will see some nice flakes of Gold in your pan here! This is one of my favourite stops, as you can imagine!  From here we are going to go through a maze of islands where we will help you choose a channel by going ahead for a short while. This is a very pretty section of the River. Our Campsite will be a little ways above the River for a great view of the Sunset.

DAYS 5-7
After our usual tasty Breakfast we will again launch our canoes into the River. We will keep fairly close to the river banks in order to spot more wildlife! The views are ever changing with each turn so keep your cameras ready. Our last Campsite will be about a 3 hr paddle from our destination, the Village of Carmacks. Here there is a floating dock to pull out on & a nice Riverside Burger Stand with ice cream! Our van will meet us here for the trip back to our Lodge, then Whitehorse, about a 3 hour scenic drive back to your Hotel!