In the witching hours after midnight, the sky darkens enough in late August to afford us a chance at spotting the return of the northern lights, after their exile of invisibility during the near 24-hour light of the arctic's mid-summer. Add to this tour a visit to the Mackenzie Delta and the highly scenic community of Dawson City Yukon, and you have the perfect combination of endless photography potential and world-class wilderness exploration.
Day 1: Whitehorse, Yukon. Hopefully you enjoyed your travels and have arrived safely in Whitehorse, the Yukon’s capital city, nestled among the wilderness. Please arrive in Whitehorse in time for an orientation meeting at 8:30 pm the night before our departure. Guests are responsible for accommodation and meals while in Whitehorse. Whitehorse is a splendid little city and we recommend booking some additional time at either the beginning or the end of your trip to see Whitehorse. If you wish to fish on your trip but, have not had a chance to purchase a Yukon fishing license, you should do so this evening. Your guides will let you know where they can be purchased.
Note: Often our guests choose to come to the Yukon several days early, or to depart several days after their wilderness vacation. Therefore we don't include accommodation in Whitehorse in order to provide flexibility for our guests. If you prefer, we can easily arrange your hotel accommodations in Whitehorse and add these details to your itinerary.
Day 2: Our staff will pick you up from your hotels starting at 7:00 am. Participants need to have finished their breakfast by this time. Any final details will be dealt with and we will depart by 8:00 am. We will travel northwest along the Alaska Highway out of Whitehorse and then turn north on the Klondike Highway. We will have glimpses of Lake Labarge and the Yukon River as we travel north. We will stop for a picnic lunch along our route. By mid-afternoon we will turn north on to the Dempster Highway. As we travel we will climb in elevation into the Ogilvie Mountains and the Tombstone Range.
We will travel up to North Fork Pass, the highest spot on the Dempster Highway at 1300 m (4265 feet) of elevation. Here we will have several hours to photograph Tombstone Mountain, which is visible to the west. We can also hike above the road for shots of the beautifully colored willows, woody-stemmed plants and mosses. We will enjoy a barbecue dinner at the Tombstone Territorial Campground before driving back to our hotel rooms in Dawson City, for a well-deserved night of sleep. Includes: (L), (D).
Day 3: After breakfast at the hotel (included) we will spend the rest of the day exploring Dawson City and its surroundings. Your guide and the bus are at your disposal for exploration, even though most of Dawson City can be traveled on foot. After a picnic lunch on the Yukon River, we will drive a little way out of town for a tour of the great mechanical beast that reshaped this frontier landscape a century ago. Gold Dredge No. 4 is a Parks Canada National Historic Site.
We will go on a fully-guided tour of this ship-sized piece of mining equipment, lead by Parks Canada interpreters. Back in town after the gold dredge tour, you will have lots of time to explore the scenic and historic buildings of Dawson City, with the warm light of evening. Dinner is not included tonight so that you can enjoy dining at one of the many delicious local restaurants in Dawson City. You’ll want to get to bed at a good time, because tomorrow will be an amazing day. Includes: (L), (D).
Day 4: Today we will leave the hotel very early and take a packed out breakfast with us. Our goal is to be in the air at first light on a helicopter ride into the Tombstone Mountains. This valley is considered the most scenic in all of the Yukon and is known for its stunning fall colors and 600 m (2000 ft ) faces of near-vertical granite. Our flight will take about 25 minutes and we will touch down near Talus Lake, in the heart of the Tombstone Valley, with impressive views of Tombstone Mountain. We will be on the ground for approximately six hours so there is lots of time to work on getting your perfect image. Each participant is limited to 40 lbs of gear for the day.
After a scrumptious lunch in the alpine, we will be transported by helicopter once again out of the Tombstone Valley and farther to the north to one of the Yukon’s most famous bodies of water. Syenite Lake is the most dramatically colored body of water in the Yukon, which due to its rich mineral load virtually glows an iridescent aqua-marine color that has to be seen to be believed. We will land on a ridge overlooking the lake, which will give time for participants to hike down to the water, or travel south again, to another stunning valley of fall alpine scenery.
We will be on the ground near Syenite Lake until around 9 pm, depending on light. We need to be back in Dawson City before sundown, which occurs at around 10:00 pm at this time of year. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Today we will say goodbye to Dawson City and head north along the Dempster Highway. The Dempster is scenic from one end to the other, with literally dozens of highly scenic locations for photography. Today we will travel past Tombstone Territorial Park, and explore the area to the north, known as the Blackstone Uplands with stops at Chapman Lake, the Blackstone River, and then on to our campsite at Engineer Creek, a Yukon Territorial Government campground. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Today we will travel north along the highway stopping for photographs as we see fit, and a celebratory drink of champagne as we pass the arctic circle. By evening we will arrive at the scenic Rock River Campground for out first evening in Canada’s arctic. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Today we will continue north to the community of Fort McPherson. We will pass over the Richardson Mountains, which will be ablaze with color. These haunting mountains are virtually void of any shrubs and are like a rolling red carpet of sedges and mosses, gravel ridges and huge expansive skies. After several hours to explore the Richardson mountains, we will descend into the Mackenzie River Delta and cross the Peel River on the ferry. Homemade wooden fishing boats line the river, and it has a true northern look to it.
After crossing the river, a short drive takes us to Nitainlaii Territorial Park, where we will camp for the night. After dinner, we can visit the community of Fort McPherson, home to the Tetlit Gwich'in First Nation people. We can get some images of the community while visiting, but we believe in respecting people's personal spaces and we try to respect people’s privacy and ask permission before including them in our photographs. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Today we will travel to the community of Tsiigehtchic, (formerly known as Arctic Red River). This little community is situated on the banks of the MacKenzie River. We will have lunch in the community and them head south all the way to Eagle Plains Lodge, for accommodation. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Today we will travel from Eagle Plains lodge to Tombstone Territorial Park, with occasional short stops as the scenery dictates. At the campground we will have a a celebratory dinner, to commemorate our exciting journey through the northern Yukon landscape. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Today after breakfast we will return briefly to Dawson City for a one last quick visit before returning to Whitehorse by around 8:30 pm. End of trip. Dinner and hotel not included in Whitehorse. Includes: (B), (L).
- All meals included in this itinerary are listed as: B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner
- Dates: August 23-31
- Clients have the option of being left in Dawson City to continue their Yukon exploration from there. If you wish to remain in Dawson City we can add airfare back to Whitehorse to your package and extra nights accommodation in Dawson City.
Also see tour packages in:
Canada Yukon Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Photography and Videography