You will hike and paddle your way into the fascinating history that was the Klondike Gold Rush. Your historic journey unfolds against the backdrop of a majestic beauty spanning from coastal Alaska to the Yukon’s interior. From the barren and haunting beauty of the mountain pass on the Chilkoot Trail, to the noble majesty of the broad and swift-flowing Yukon River, your adventure will carry you through a great northern wilderness that remains almost unchanged in appearance since the gold seekers packed their loads of provisions through this land, more than a century ago!
Day 1: Chilkoot Trail Begins! Your guide will pick you up at your accommodations in Whitehorse between 6:30-7:00 am. Please finish eating your breakfast (not included) by this time. Any unnecessary gear or luggage can be left with our staff for lock up in our secure storage facility. Our drive will take us south from Whitehorse on the Klondike Highway. This is a spectacular drive with views of Tagish and Tutshi Lakes, before climbing through the Skagway Pass. At the summit of the pass we will cross into Alaska.
You must have your passport for the border crossings. From there we will descend more than 1000 m (3000 feet) to the town of Skagway, situated at the northern terminus of the Lynn Canal, the world's largest fiord and the northern-most destination of many who travel Alaska’s famous Inside Passage. We will take a short trip into Skagway to go to the trail office and pick-up our permits. Next it’s back into the vehicle for a short trip to the town site of Dyea and the Chilkoot Trailhead. Our first day of hiking is shorter short one to accommodate the travel from Whitehorse. Tonight we camp at Finnegan’s Point after 7.7 km (4.8 miles). Includes: (L), (D).
Day 2: Alaskan Rain Forest. On your way to Sheep Camp today look up into the surrounding mountains. Many of the valleys have spectacular hanging glaciers. We will travel 11.2 km (7 miles) and gain around 225 m (750 feet). Canyon City campsite, the Canyon City Ruins and Pleasant Camp are today’s places to rest, snack and explore. Once at Sheep Camp we will have a chance to set camp enjoy dinner then listen to an entertaining ranger talk on the trail conditions, history, ecology, wildlife and safety concerns of the area. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Over the Summit, into Canada. This will be an early morning and a big day. Right out of camp you will begin to climb towards the pass. You will cover approximately 14.1 km (8.7 miles) and climb around 840 m (2750 feet). Pay close attention to the rapidly changing environment. Today you will hike from the Pacific Northwest Coastal Forest, through the tree-line and into the alpine tundra. The scales, the golden staircase, and the international border are today’s highlights.
Depending on the time of year you may experience walking on snow pack that has not melted from the winter’s heavy snow-load in various places near the summit of the pass. From the summit you can look behind you to see the lush coastal forest of Alaska and forward to the alpine tundra of Canada. Take a breath and enjoy your accomplishments. Feel the relief of not having to pack one tone of gear up and over the pass like the stampeders had to. Once you arrive in tonight’s camp you will understand and appreciate its name “Happy Camp”. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Out of the High Country. Today is an easier day. Relax and enjoy your hike through the treeless alpine tundra down to the sub-alpine Borealis forest. The views are spectacular as you follow Long Lake high up on a ridge and drop down into Deep Lake. Take a moment to rest and soak your feet in the crystal clear water of Deep Lake. For the brave souls this is also a spot for a quick dip in the cold mountain water while others may opt to sit and enjoy the beautiful rapids while having a snack. Our destination tonight is Linderman City. There is an interpretative wall-tent here maintained by Parks Canada. You can spend some of your leisure time here reading and viewing pictures of the trail’s colorful history. You can also get your official “Chilkoot Trail” hiking certificate. Today you will hike 8.8 km (5.5 miles) and make an overall descent of 244 m (800 feet). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: To Bennet Lake. Today is your last full day of hiking day. Leaving Linderman City you will climb onto a high Borealis ridge. As the trail continues north you will get glimpses of both Linderman Lake and Bennett Lake. Bennett was the gathering place of over 20,000 stampeders as they built boats from the surrounding forest and waited for the lake ice to go out. Bennett was a large and busy town with streets, hotels, stores, warehouses, and offices. The only remaining building at Bennett is St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. The demise of this town was triggered by the completion of the White Pass Yukon Railway to Whitehorse. Today you will travel 11.3 km (7 miles). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: White Pass and Yukon Route Railway Train Ride. Rest and enjoy a leisurely morning. Chat with your guide or sip a freshly-brewed coffee and read the interpretive info while waiting for a truly unique Trail of 98 experience. In the early afternoon we will catch the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway to the town of Carcross. The train will travel along the eastern shore of Bennett Lake to Carcross. “Carcross” is a short form for “caribou crossing”. This was the historic place that the Carcross/Tagish Caribou Herd crossed the Nares River.
Your group will be met in Carcross by our staff. However, before leaving we’ll take a visit to the Matheson General Store and enjoy an ice cream cone for the ride home. After a short one-hour drive to Whitehorse we will check into our hotel room and the remainder of the evening will be set aside to explore downtown Whitehorse. Dinner this evening is not included in your package. There are numerous high-quality restaurants in the downtown area, and your guide will be sure to make some recommendations. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 7: By River to the Gold Fields! After breakfast at our hotel in Whitehorse we will drive north on the Klondike Highway for two hours and launch our 18-foot cedar river canoes at Carmacks. Over the next seven days we will travel the Yukon River en route to Dawson City and the Klondike Gold Fields. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Days 8-13: Yukon River Canoe Trip. Yukon River Trip, travel and rest schedules will be determined by your guide based on the needs of the group and weather. During these seven days on the river we will see The Five Finger Rapids, Fort Selkirk, and numerous other historical locations along the river. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 14: Arrive in Historic Dawson City by Canoe. This final day of canoing is short. We plan on arriving in Dawson around 10:00am. You will have 2 hours to tour this historic town. At noon we will be met by our staff, and after a picnic lunch will begin our 6-hour journey back to Whitehorse. We will stop in Carmacks to allow time for a dinner break (not included). We will return to Whitehorse by between 8 and 9 pm and drop you off at your chosen accommodations. Includes: (B), (L).
* July 2-15
* August 2-15 (custom dates available)
- Skill Level: Intermediate backpacking, beginner canoeing
- Fishing Opportunities: Excellent (arctic grayling, whitefish, northern pike, inconnu)
- Clients are welcome to remain in Dawson City in order to continue their explorations of the Yukon from there. There are several days worth of activities to enjoy in and around Dawson City and several options for getting return transportation to Whitehorse at a latter date. Visit the Parks Canada web site for more Information on hiking the Chilkoot Trail. All meals included in this itinerary are listed as: B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner.
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