The Chilkoot Trail and Yukon River

Walking in the footsteps of Canada`s Klondike Gold Rush




From $3,540 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Trek the Chilkoot Pass on the 5 day trail from Skagway to Bennett
  • Canoe the famous Yukon River from Whitehorse to Carmacks
  • A remote wilderness holiday in the Yukon, hiking and canoeing
  • See bears, moose, beavers and bald eagles in remote Canada

This trekking and canoeing holiday on the Chilkoot trail and the Yukon River, Canada is the ultimate in terms of remote wilderness, stark beauty and adventure. At the height of the gold rush in the Klondike in 1898 nearly 30,000 gold prospectors and 7,000 boats travelled down the Yukon River, which flows through into Alaska and out into the Pacific. Now it is a peaceful haven of remote wilderness and wildlife. We canoe the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Carmacks over the space of 6 days. We wild camp at night and learn some fly fishing skills to catch our supper. However, our experience of the gold rush would not be complete without also hiking along the famous Chilkoot Trail. We do this by transferring over the border to Skagway, USA. From here we have a challenging backpacking trek for 5 days over the Chilkoot pass, including the famously photographed ‘Golden Stairs'. We trek through coastal rainforest, over high mountain passes and boreal forest, and there are pretty streams flowing from the higher glaciers. If you want an adventure you have found it here. This North American wilderness is vast and a hidden gem; outstanding natural beauty combined with substantive history.

explore international

Explore International. This is one of our Explore International holidays. Participants on these trips can book through KE or through one of our international partners. This helps us to gather together sufficient numbers of like-minded adventurers to get your holiday up and running quickly. Led by an English-speaking guide, the cosmopolitan nature of these groups can be an important part of the experience!

Is this holiday for you?

We start with 5 days backpacking along the Chilkoot trail where we need to carry all our personal belongings, as well as sleeping bags, tents and provisions. The trekking days are up to 8 hrs which involve both ascent and descent. You are required to have the correct physical fitness and have at least some experience of walking consecutive days with backpacks up to 15kg in weight. The trail is well marked but the weather can be variable over the pass. We have a couple of nights in Whitehorse to re-pack and relax before our 6-day canoeing experience along the Yukon River. No actual multi-day experience is required for the canoeing section, however you need to be comfortable in a canoe and be able to swim with confidence. Canoeing the Yukon River is non-technical and there are no significant sections of white-water. The section of the river we will be navigating is Grade/Class 1; moving water with small waves, but unobstructed and no technical difficulty. Safety equipment (lifejackets/buoyancy aids etc) is provided. We will be wild camping and you need to be prepared to join in the camp chores including setting up tents, cooking, and searching for wood and water. We will supplement our rations with fish that we have caught ourselves, and you should be prepared to have a go fishing. Group members must be in good physical condition and most importantly, should have an adventurous spirit and the ability to cope with the unexpected. With such a spirit, the holiday will provide a real adventure experience with memories to keep for a lifetime.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Whitehorse. Transfers from Whitehorse Airport are provided.
  • Drive to the historic town of Skagway. Walk to Finnegan’s Point.
  • Trek from Finnegan’s Point to Sheep Camp.
  • Over the Chilkoot Pass to Happy Camp.
  • Trek from Happy Camp to Lindemann Lake.
  • Trek to the final camp at Bennett Lake.
  • Take the Whitepass steam train to Fraser. Drive to Whitehorse.
  • A day in Whitehorse to prepare for voyage.
  • Canoeing on the Yukon River.
  • Exploring Lake Laberge.
  • Further exploration and fly fishing.
  • Wildlife spotting in the wilderness.
  • Our last full day on the river.
  • Return to Whitehorse.
  • Departure day. A single timed transfer to Whitehorse Airport is provided.
Sun 10 Jul - Sun 24 Jul Code CYR /01/16/ Adult$3,540 Status Available Book now
Sun 31 Jul - Sun 14 Aug Code CYR /02/16/ Adult$3,540 Status Available Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Whitehorse, Canada. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Whitehorse Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • trek
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Whitehorse. Transfers from Whitehorse Airport are provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in Whitehorse airport. Transfers from Whitehorse Airport are provided. Whitehorse is the largest city in Yukon. KE Land Only package services begin with the overnight at the group hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

  • Drive to the historic town of Skagway. Walk to Finnegan’s Point.

    This morning we make the 2-3hr journey to the historic ‘gold rush’ town of Skagway, a small, but fascinating, town on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. This drive is considered one of the most spectacular in the region and we are sure to see some impressive scenery. On arrival in Skagway we have time for a short tour before we return to the minibus and drive the last stretch of the road to Dyea, the starting point of our trek. This afternoon we walk for around 3 hours through the rainforest to our first camp at Finnegan’s Point. This part of the trail runs along the Taiya, a salmon river. Black bears are often spotted in the area, busy collecting their winter supplies. We may also spot eagles today. Drive time: 2 – 3 hrs.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 150m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 100m

    • Time 3 hrs walking

  • Trek from Finnegan’s Point to Sheep Camp.

    After breakfast, we set of once more through the rainforest, still following the River Taiya; we have great views of the glacier. Many small, fresh streams cross our path and we will take the opportunity to fill our water bottles and keep ourselves nicely hydrated; this is a long day of around 7-8 hrs walking, with many small but steep climbs. Slowly, the landscape starts to alter and we begin to see cliffs, rocks and precipices. Along the route we will see remnants of the Gold Rush, tools and supplies discarded by the gold seekers. Reaching Canyon City, used by many as a base camp before the climb of the Chilkoot Pass, we take a little time to look around before walking the last few kilometres to Sheep Camp, where we will spend the night. This is the last camp before the ascent of the Chilkoot Pass.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 350m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 180m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs walking

  • Over the Chilkoot Pass to Happy Camp.

    This will be our most challenging, but rewarding, day; with 13km of walking and some truly majestic views. The climb begins gradually, we find less and less vegetation as we pass into a more alpine environment. Although we are well into the summer season, there is often snow to be found at altitude; fortunately, our trail is well marked. This area was a place feared by the gold miners, as avalanches were frequent during the winter. The trail continues to steepen until we reach our final climb, the ‘Golden Stairs’. It is from here that the most famous photos of the pass have been taken, depecting people in single file, carrying their loads. Our efforts are rewarded as, at the top of the Canadian border, we find a heated cabin and a hot drink. We are now over 1100m above sea level! We enjoy a well-deserved meal before descending down, passing small streams and picturesque mountain lakes, to Happy Camp; where, after 7 hours of walking, we spend the night.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 780m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 250m

    • Time 7 hrs walking

  • Trek from Happy Camp to Lindemann Lake.

    Today we will walk the easiest section of the trail, through rich and beautiful landscape, a welcome reward after yesterday’s exertion! Walking for around 4hrs, we cross Long Lake and Deep Lake and anyone brave enough can take a dip. As we descend further, our surroundings begin to change once more, as we drop back into the tree line. The trail winds gently down to our camp at Lindemann Lake.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 130m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 320m

    • Time 4 hrs walking

  • Trek to the final camp at Bennett Lake.

    This will be our last day of trekking, the end of our first adventure. Today’s 5hr walk leads us through yet more beautiful scenery as we approach Bennett Lake. The terrain is not difficult and we can take time to enjoy the views and take photographs. We spend the night at the lake where we celebrate our achievement and enjoy a relaxing evening by the campfire.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 150m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 100m

    • Time 5 hrs walking

  • Take the Whitepass steam train to Fraser. Drive to Whitehorse.

    We take the Whitepass steam train to Fraser and then minibus back to Whitehorse, this small tourist train was once used by gold miners; passports will be needed to board the train. Once back in Whitehorse, we have the opportunity to do some shopping and in the evening we will have a group dinner in one of the best restaurants in the city. Dinner tonight is not included in the holiday cost.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bl

  • A day in Whitehorse to prepare for voyage.

    Today we have some free time to prepare for our river journey and we will want to take advantage of some last minute shopping before we depart. Our guide will distribute our equipment today and later in the day we will have a briefing to discuss our itinerary for the days ahead. We spend a second night at our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Canoeing on the Yukon River.

    Our first day in our canoes as we begin our journey toward Lake Laberge. In total we will spend two days on the lake and another four days on the river, exploring this vast region; running a total distance of around 320 kilometers! We will make camp tonight on the shores of Lake Laberge, those keen can take a dip in its famous, crystal clear, waters. In the evening we gather round the warmth of a good fire. Meals will be served at our wild camp or during breaks. We will of course have time to fish, hike, read, or photograph the beautiful wilderness that surround us.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Exploring Lake Laberge.

    At over 80km long, the lake is vast and there is much to explore. We journey along the right side of the water passed many beaches and small cliffs. We may be lucky enough to see black bears on the shore searching for food or raptors nesting in trees. If the wind allows, we will erect a small sail, which will allow us to explore further. At night in camp, around the fire, we share tales of the gold rush and the stories of Jack London.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Further exploration and fly fishing.

    Today we canoe through the abandoned villages of Hootalinqua and Little Salmon. This is where we will set up camp for the night. This is an excellent place to catch arctic grayling and our guide will introduce us to the basics of fly fishing. We also have the option of taking a short evening walk to watch the sunset behind the hills above camp. An excellent way to end the day.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Wildlife spotting in the wilderness.

    From here on, the river divides into branches, and there are wooded islands everywhere; we must keep close together as a group so as not to get lost. The current becomes calmer as many subsidiary rivers, such as the Teslin River, mingle gently into the waters of the Yukon. It is not uncommon to encounter grizzly bear in this area, and we should be on the look out! Tonight’s camp will be on one of the many islands in the river. (B,L,D)

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Our last full day on the river.

    The water is wild today and, as we travel further away from civilisation, our chance of spotting wildlife increases. Black bear are very common in the region and we may chance to see one on our journey today; we should pay close attention to the edge of the cliffs along the river. The forests are heavily populated by Moose, and bald eagles nest all along the river bank. We may be lucky enough to spot beaver, busy gathering food for the winter. Tonight we will again camp on one of the wooded islands and we will build our fire, table and benches from the driftwood we will collect on the beaches. Around the campfire, our guides share stories of their adventures as we enjoy a well deserved meal.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Return to Whitehorse.

    This is our last day on the river. By mid-morning, we arrive at Carmacks; once a fuelling station for fishing boats. Here we will meet our driver who will take us back to our hotel in Whitehorse (approx 2hrs) where we can enjoy a celebratory meal and a comfortable bed. Dinner is not included on this night. Overnight hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bl

  • Departure day. A single timed transfer to Whitehorse Airport is provided.

    After breakfast it is time to return to the airport for our flights home. KE Land Only package services end with breakfast.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • An multi-lingual experienced local trekking and canoeing guide
  • Accommodation as per the dossier
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • All transport involved in the itinerary
  • All water safety equipment (Bouyancy aid etc)
  • Entrance fees for national parks and other sites

  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for local guides and support staff
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Fishing license ($20) Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

During this holiday the group will spend 4 nights at la hotel in Whitehorse. Whilst trekking on the Chilkoot Trail we will spend 5 nights camping at designated campsites along the trail. These campsites are basic. As we are carrying all our equipment single tents are not available on this section of the holiday. In order to keep the weight we will be carrying to a minimum, the 2 man tents used for this section of the holiday will be small. Whilst canoeing on the Yukon River we will wild camp alongside the river. Sometimes this will be near to a wilderness cabin. We will usually source wood for a fire. All accommodation is allocated on a twin-sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Single rooms are available in Whitehorse. For single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the holiday on our website. Additional nights in Whitehorse are also available, please call our office for a price. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

All meals except 2 lunches and 3 dinners are included in the holiday price. These meals are when you are in Whitehorse. You should budget approx 15-20 CAD$ per meal.

Whilst on trek we will have simple hot meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner; a mix of freeze dried food and fresh local produce, meat, vegetables, nuts etc… tea and coffee will be available in the evenings and at breakfast. During the canoeing section of the trip a limited amount of meat, vegetables and cheese will be transported in coolers and we will also enjoy cooking any fresh fish caught during the day. During breaks hot drinks and snacks will be available.

Clients arriving on Day 1 of the itinerary will be met on arrival at the airport by a KE representative who will arrange the transfer to the group accommodation. Clients MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation. At the end of the trip, on the morning of Day 15, there will be a single timed transfer back to the airport. For those wanting to extend their stay in Whitehorse, KE can arrange for you to spend extra nights in the city. Please contact the KE office for more information.

The group will be accompanied throughout the holiday by a professional local trekking and canoeing guide. The guide will also have multi-lingual skills.

We recommend you allow £150 for your personal expenses, including meals in Whitehorse, tips, bar bills, fishing permit etc.. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). Your money can be carried in the form of cash (Canadian Dollars) or it is possible to withdraw your money from ATMs using your debit and credit card.

During the trekking section of the trip you will be required to carry your own personal belongings, your sleeping bag and mattress as well as your share of a 2 man tent, camp provisions and cooking equipment. You can expect to be carrying around 15kg per person or 65ltrs volume in total. For this reason it is essential that you keep your personal belongings to a minimum. It will be possible to leave your main trek bag, with excess belongings, at the group accommodation in Whitehorse. You will have the chance to repack before the canoeing section of the trip. During the river journey, as your luggage will be transported on the canoes, you will be limited to 15kg per person. Dry bags will be provided but we would recommend that you take your own dry bags in addition to this.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. It is best to bring layered clothing options so you can dress appropriately as temperatures can fluctuate widely and Yukon weather can be unpredictable. The trekking section of this holiday is backpacking with all your equipment, please see notes below.

You must bring the following items:

  • Substantial and comfortable hiking boots
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
  • Baselayer shirts (long sleeves)
  • Thermals (evening use)
  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Down jacket
  • Waterproof jacket with hood
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Eyewear - Sunglasses
  • Warm fleece gloves
  • Sleeping bag with –10C rating
  • Sleeping mat / Thermarest
  • Rucksack / Backpack c. 65 litres*
  • Dry bags for your kit in your backpack & on the river
  • Dry pouch for your passport & documents
  • Headtorch / headlamp and spare batteries
  • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Insect repellant
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 litre / 1 quart (x2)
  • Mosquito net for the head
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small travel towel
  • Swimwear
  • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)
  • Personal first aid kit, including: a broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Immodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, insect repellent (DEET), and re-hydration salts (Dioralite), glucose tablets, water purification tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are a good idea.

Additional Equipment for Canoeing section:

  • Neoprene booties
  • Fishing rod (optional if you have one)
  • Light weight trainers / sneakers for travelling and camp use
  • Small day bag/back pack for day use

The following items are optional:

  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Shorts
  • Travel clothes
  • Spare laces
  • Trekking poles (recommended)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Camera, media, spare batteries

* Notes

This is a full self-supported back-packing trip for the Chilkoot Trail section for 5 nights (6 days). This means that you will have to carry all your personal belongings along with your sleeping bag, sleeping mat, a share of a small 2 man tent, a proportion of the group foods/provisions and cooking equipment. This will weight about 15kg. You ensure that you take as little as possible for personal belongings on this section.

You will be reunited with your main trek bag in Whitehorse on return from the Chilkoot Trail, before the canoeing section so that you can repack. You should ensure that on the canoeing section ALL your personal gear is packed into quality dry bags.


For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Canada

Current to 14 March 2016

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa for short stays.

From 15 March 2016

As of 15 March 2016 all citizens (except for USA citizens) will require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any Canada-bound aircraft or ship. The fee is CAD$7 and you should apply for it at

Visa USA

UK passport holders do not require a visa for short stays. You DO require an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any US-bound aircraft or ship. The fee is USD$14 and you should apply for it at

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in Canada is the Canadian Dollar.

The unit of currency in USA is the US Dollar. 

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an active holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime. Regular hiking in hill country is the best preparation but running, cycling and swimming are also good for developing better stamina and general cardio-vascular fitness. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks, with a full pack, in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The weather in the Yukon is ever-changing and always unpredictable. Summer days are long, but the summer season is short. July is the warmest month with a mean daily maximum temperature of 21°C. We can expect to encounter temperatures during the day ranging from 18°C. to 27°C. Naturally, at the highest elevations on our trip, the daytime temperatures will be much lower than this. At night, the temperatures will typically drop to around 10°C or even a few degrees lower. Although the weather is relatively stable at this time of year, we can expect some rainfall and mountains produce their own weather.

  • Yukon – Bradt Travel Guides, Polly Evans
  • The Call of the Wild, Jack London
  • White Fang, Jack London

Yukon Territory - International Travel Maps

Canada's Yukon Territory at 1:1,000,000 on a double-sided map from ITMB with altitude colouring to show its topography, plus street plans of White Horse, Dawson City and Watson Lake annotated with hotels and other facilities.

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