Yukon River Expedition: Carmacks to Dawson City

Feel your hand dip into the Yukon River as you navigate over 400km of pure Canadian adventure from Carmacks to Dawson City while sleeping under the dancing Aurora Borealis.

Both the river and paddle experience are immense, beautiful and memorable. You and your fellow adventurers will have 10 days to discover Whitehorse, Takhini Hot Springs and the famous Dawson City. You will visit some of the places where the gold rush captured so many hearts and leaving many penniless.

Camp Details

Date: June 01 to 10, 2018 and/or August 03 to August 12, 2018
Ages: 18 + years (co-ed)
Price: Early Bird (Before January, 2018): $1,800.00 CDN plus 5% tax. 
Regular: $2,400 CDN plus 5% tax.
Includes instruction, food, accommodation, most camping gear, Whitehorse airport pick-up and drop-off, and canoes during the trip. Does not include flight, fishing license, personal extras, and some optional activities.
Locations: Whitehorse, Takhini Hot Springs, Yukon River and Dawson City

Fireside's Yukon River Expeditions are for those wanting/needing to explore the untapped wilderness of the Yukon, connect with others and just to inject some adventure into their lives.

All Fireside adult expeditions are carefully crafted to encourage participants to develop and honour their outdoor skills, while creating a balanced environment to build and explore a deep connections with self, others and the sacredness of our natural world.

Our Yukon River Expeditions provide you with excellent instruction, equipment and support while travelling over 400km down the Yukon River from Carmacks to Dawson City. At Fireside, we share the gifts of the wilderness with people of all colours, abilities, backgrounds, sizes, gender identities and experience levels.

Your Fireside Adventures is designed to allow you enjoy and experience our pillars for adults - Life, Be, and Adventure in the wilderness:

Life – It is completely precious, mysterious, difficult to describe and with an eventual but unknown end date. That’s life. We create life experiences that reinforce the importance of connecting a personal individuality, sense of community, relevant and meaningful outdoor experiences mixed with skill training and shared knowledge practices.  

Be – We provide a platform for adults needing and wanting time for exploration, self-discovery and individual growth that fits with their own pace.  Through writing activities, group dialogues, solo time, and easy and non-intrusive Fireside BE mini workshops we create the connection between spirit and experience.  Be brave. Be real. Be you.

Adventure – Experience true adventure with a group of like-minded, supportive and diverse people, while learning skills that will allow you to plan and experience your own adventures in the future.  Challenge yourself to expand your comfort zone, and check out the incredible Yukon River.

expedition Highlights

  • Fully guided multi-day expedition on the Yukon River from Carmacks to Dawson City
  • Led by excellent and experienced guides gifted in teaching outdoor leadership and wilderness skills who will provide support for the entirety of the expedition
  • Wilderness gourmet cooking
  • Step back into time by hiking the trails seeking Yukon Gold Rush artifacts and abandoned cabins
  • Soaking your bones at the Takhini Hot Springs at the beginning and end of your expedition
  • Sleep under the stars on some of the Yukon River’s pristine river islands
  • A chance to see the northern lights dance above your head
  • Learn the basics of front and backcountry camping, river canoeing, orienteering, hiking and risk management
  • Learn to apply leadership styles and core competencies of outdoor leadership
  • Unplugged from wifi, phones, computers, home and work life. 

Food - A well-nourished body makes a significant impact on a person’s experience in times of physical and/or mental exertion. Participants will learn how to pack for and prepare meals on extended backcountry trips, and how to cook in a “wilderness” kitchen. While on trip we will nourish our bodies with healthy and holistic foods suited to all diets.

Safety – It is safer to travel in a group and it is much safer to have guides supporting you regardless of your comfort and outdoor skill level. Our team puts a lot of effort into planning, preparing and most importantly, teaching you how to be safe in the wilderness.

Tentative Trip Plan (subject to change)

Day One – Takhini Hot Springs, Whitehorse

  • Afternoon departure from Vancouver International Airport
  • Shuttle to Takhini Hostel from Whitehorse Airport
  • Program orientation and gear check
  • Welcome ceremony
  • Visit Takhini Hot Springs

Day Two – Whitehorse & Carmacks

  • Early wake-ups
  • Introduction of staff and overview of canoe trip in Whitehorse
  • Unpack personal gear (again) and group gear check
  • Yukon River canoe prep & orientation (half day practice with canoeing)
  • Pack up food and last gear inspection
  • Knots lesson
  • 1 hour of free time in Whitehorse
  • Campfire “Welcome Ceremony”
  • Soak bones in Takhini Hot Springs
  • Safety lessons and protocols (evening)
  • Drive to Carmacks campground
  • Set up camp
  • BBQ River Ceremony
  • Emergency procedures final review

Day Three  – Carmack's/Five Fingers Section/Sam Magee’s Ashes/Rink Rapids

  • Early wake up (on the river by 8am)
  • Practice strokes (again) once leaving Carmacks
  • Map reading and basic orienteering
  • Emergency Procedures (review test while on the river)
  • Paddle past Five Fingers section
  • Visit the legendary Sam Magee’s ashes (we will read some Robert Service poems)
  • Campfire cuisine
  • Campsite selection
  • Review safety protocols and use of devices

Day Four to Seven – Yukon River

  • Outdoor leadership skills training
  • Guiding principles of leading out trips focus on Yukon terrain
  • Weather reading & review forest fire procedures
  • Continued river navigation lesson
  • Yukon River history and geography including historical review of Yukon Gold Rush
  • Bushwhacking course and half day expedition
  • Visit where the popular television show called Yukon Gold
  • Exploring and visiting old cabins
  • A night at Fort Selkirk
  • Review wildlife in the wild
  • Panning for gold
  • Option to fish

Day Eight – Arriving into Dawson City

  • Early arrival
  • Shower up
  • Tour the city and visit historical places including the arts festival
  • Graduation dinner
  • Campfire

Day Nine  – Takhini Hot Springs/Whitehorse

  • Pack up and breakfast in Dawson City
  • Lunch on the road (6 hour road trip)
  • Clean gear in Whitehorse
  • Final dinner and bracelet ceremony 

Day Ten – Homeward Bound

  • Pack up and morning to explore Whitehorse
  • Shuttle to airport for early morning or  3:30 pm departure

Facts About Yukon 

The name “Yukon” originated from the Locheux native word "Yuk-un-ah," meaning "Great River," referring to the Yukon River that flows across the territory into Alaska.

One of three Canadian territories, Yukon is situated in the northwest corner of Canada's continental mainland. Yukon sits between the Canadian province of British Columbia and the Arctic Ocean, with Alaska to the west and the Northwest Territories to the east.

The Arctic Circle crosses through Yukon and the territory has 430 kilometres of shoreline along the Beaufort Sea.

At 483,450 square kilometres (186,661 square miles), Yukon is larger than California and covers more area than Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands combined. It represents 4.8% of Canada's total land area.

Facts About Yukon River

The Yukon River is the longest river in Yukon & Alaska. Third longest river in North America, flowing northwest from the Coastal Range mountains of northern British Columbia, through the Yukon Territory and Alaska to the Bering Sea. Its overall length is 3,185 kilometers (km), with 1,149 km within Canadian borders. The watershed’s total drainage area is 840,000 sq. km (323,800 sq. km in Canada) and it discharges 195 cubic kilometers of water per year.

During the Klondike Gold Rush the Yukon River was one of the principal means of transportation. Paddle-wheel riverboats continued to ply the river until the 1950’s, when the Klondike Highway was completed.


As of September 2012, there were 36,304 people living in the Yukon. Of those, 27,687 were living in the capital city of Whitehorse.


Yukon’s dry, continental climate results in a wide variety of weather year-round. Humidity is very low, so summers can be hot and dry while winter coldness is less harsh than in damper climates.

Capital City – Whitehorse

Whitehorse is Yukon’s capital and a major northern hub. It enjoys facilities, services and businesses far beyond the expectation of a city of 30,000. It's a big little city surrounded by wilderness with the amenities of a much larger destination paired with the friendly demeanour of a close-knit community.


Yukon weather has been known to be quite variable as an Arctic air mass can dominate one day, and the next day a warm front can move in from the Pacific. On your expedition you could experience all four seasons in one day! With varied geography and changeable weather, it's important to be prepared for sudden changes in weather and temperature, especially since we are on a canoe expedition.

In summer, the temperature can be plus 30 Celsius and the blazing sun shines around the clock. Above the Arctic Circle, the sun doesn't set on June 21st and it doesn't rise on December 21st.

Yukon Summer Season

Summer is June to August. The sun barely sets. People are full of energy. Days can be hot, and the evenings cool off.

What to Wear

When you visit Yukon, chances are you'll discover the relaxed dress known as 'Yukon formal'. Whatever the season, pack a wide variety of clothing. Layering is always a good idea so you can adapt to changing weather and temperatures.

To be comfortable on outdoor adventures, wear a thin wool or polyester base layer that can wick away perspiration.