Vancouver & Yukon River Adventure

Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? In these times of overtourism, addictive gadgets, always-on working weeks and never-ending news cycles, there are at least a few places left that allow us to experience a true outdoor wilderness adventure trip. The Yukon is one such place!

By:
Shane Reynolds, Outdoor Recreation Director and Outfitter

I was recently catching up with an old friend of mine from my days at UCLA. He grew up in the Brooks Mountain Range of Alaska. We were talking about trip planning and wilderness trips, and he mentioned the Yukon, one of the wildest places he had ever visited. 

If you have ever thought about visiting northwest Canada and the Yukon, this adventure will absolutely make everlasting memories! We will start the adventure by meeting in Vancouver and exploring the city for a day before continuing north to Whitehorse in the heart of the Yukon.

The trip will begin with a pick-up at the Vancouver airport. We will get settled at our hotel for the night before having dinner out with the group. We’ll rise the next morning and explore some of the city before going back to the airport for a flight north to Whitehorse — where the real adventure begins. Once in Whitehorse, we’ll pick up any fishing licenses that are needed and head out on our river trip on the Yukon River. 

Our first day will be spent on a scenic motor boat cruise down historic Lake Laberge to the start of the Thirty Mile River. This section of the Yukon River is part of the Canadian Heritage Rivers System and offers excellent fishing opportunities. The following three days will be spent canoeing the pristine Yukon River, exploring historic sites, and floating past many relics of the famous Klondike Gold Rush. We’ll be camping at some pristine campsites!

After meeting our guides at the outfitter base, we’ll do a gear check to make sure you have everything you need on the river. All canoes and gear will be loaded onto the motor boat, and you get a chance to sit back and enjoy a scenic cruise down Lake Laberge. Then it’s time to hit the water with the canoes. Once the gear has been loaded and everyone has had a chance to stretch their legs and grab a snack, you’ll find yourself floating down the Yukon River. After a few hours, we’ll reach our first campsite and enjoy dinner as a roaring campfire keeps you company on your first night out in the Yukon wilderness.

For the next couple of days, the ever-changing landscape of the Yukon River will cast a spell on you as you canoe down the mighty waterway. We’ll stop at historic landmarks such as Hootalinqua, Shipyard Island and Big Salmon Village, where our guide will take you back in time to the Gold Rush days, when the river was the highway for thousands of stampeders trying to get to the gold fields. Your chances of seeing wildlife such as moose, bald eagles, martens and beavers are excellent, and you might even spot a bear wandering along the shore. Our river guides will introduce you to basic paddling skills or review your technique so that you feel safe and comfortable doing one of Canada’s most popular outdoor sports.

On the final day, after a hearty breakfast, you will break camp and hit the water for the last leg of your river adventure. Past endless forests of spruce and pine, we continue as the river winds its way towards Little Salmon Village, our take-out point. The scenic drive back via the Campbell and Klondike Highways will give you the opportunity to reflect on the past few days and to catch glimpses of the river you just paddled. We will arrive in Whitehorse in the early afternoon and catch a flight back to Vancouver where we’ll spend the night and go out to dinner. On the next day, we’ll visit a beautiful park in the heart of Vancouver before flying back to Texas. 

While European settlement in the Yukon is fairly recent, in the last 130 years, the territory has been home to six principle indigenous tribes for centuries — the Kutchin, Hän, Kaska, Tagish, Tutchone and Teslin. It was during the Klondike Gold Rush, a three-year period between 1896 and 1899 that promised prospectors great wealth in exchange for hard times, that the population briefly climbed to over 100,000.

The land was exploited with little regard for the indigenous population or the environment that sustained it for so long. As well as bringing new diseases with them, the Europeans also claimed land, introduced foreign ways of governance, and drastically reduced the populations of moose, caribou and other game — all of which had an impact on the indigenous people, who today make up around 25 percent of the Yukon’s total population. 

During my time at Cordillera Ranch, I have led some adventurous activities! But this adventure will beat them all as we discover some amazing wilderness along the Yukon River. Short stops in Vancouver will make the travel from Texas to the Yukon a bit more enjoyable as we see some sights and taste some good food and drinks in the largest city in western Canada. 

Please contact Shane Reynolds with any questions and see the Club calendar for all the details for the trip. 

Onward!

Shane Reynolds is the Outdoor Recreation Director & Outfitter at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at  outfitter@cordilleraranch.com and 210.616.6051, or at the Cordillera Ranch Outfitter Center at 830.336.4823.

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