teslin river

Put-in: Johnson’s Crossing  Take-out: Little Salmon R. The Teslin-Yukon River was one of the routes used by the Klondike goldrushers of 1897-99 to reach the goldfields of Dawson. As such, there are historical reminders of a period that saw the movement of people and sternwheelers along banks once dotted with wood camps, mining works, and trading centers.

As our canoeing journey begins on the Teslin, the river is wide and the current almost unnoticeable. Before long we aretransported away from civilization and back into time. The serenity and grandness of the Yukon quickly supplants the noise, seriousness, and urgency that defines urban life. Rolling hills, spruce forests, high sandy banks, wildlife sightings, pieces of history, will define our experience along the Teslin River. The Teslin River’s current picks up and we begin to move more quickly along its shores. Eventually we will join the Yukon River at a place called Hootalinqua, a significant trading and sternwheeler depot during the goldrush. Nearby is Shipyard Island, where we will stop to see the derelict remains of the steamship Evelyn, laid up here in 1930. The remainder of our wilderness paddle will be along the swift Yukon River, past numerous old cabins, a gold dredge, old native villages at Big Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

Difficulty: Class 1 Novice Cost: Cdn: $1995 + GST GST 5%[Federal Tax]

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A non-refundable deposit of 30% of the trip fee is required to hold your reservation.The balance of the fee is due 60 days prior to commencement date of the trip. As a significant portion of our trip costs is already committed well in advance of each trip, there is no refund after 60 days. If payment is not received when due, Sea to Sky Expeditions reserves the right to treat the reservation as cancelled. Sea to Sky Expeditions will refund both deposit [less a small administrative fee] and full balance of payment, if we can replace your spot with another participant, less any non-refundable moneys from third party deposits. Cancellation notice must be received in writing. Please note that all tours in B.C and the Yukon. are subject to a 5% GST federal tax. No one may depart on a trip unless all payments and necessary documents (including medical and liability release forms) are received by Sea to Sky Expeditions. Due to the nature of operating in the wilderness and international destinations, prices are subject to change [rare]. Where necessary to change a price, we will try to provide as much notice as possible, and offer you the choice of another trip, or to cancel, with full refund. Our prices are quoted in Canadian dollars. If you choose to pay by credit card, we have to process the payment in Canadian funds. Your credit card company will automatically change it to your currency based on their exchange rate. If you paid your deposit in Canadian funds, please continue to make all further payments in Canadian funds to avoid any confusion in the daily changing exchange rate. Sea to Sky Expeditions reserves the right to alter itineraries or cancel any trip prior to departure for any reason whatsoever, including insufficient booking levels or logistical problems that may impede trip operations. A trip cancellation due to insufficient booking levels will generally occur at least 30 days prior to departure. Sea to Sky Expeditions is not responsible for expenses incurred by trip members in preparing for the trip (i.e. non refundable airline tickets, visa fees, equipment, etc.).


A complete itinerary along with maps, clothing and equipment list, will be issued upon registration.

Included:  Transportation from the point of origin and return, camping fees, cooking gear, camp stoves, tents, meal preparations, canoes, canoe carts, paddles, life jackets, canoe dry bags, meals/snacks/beverages on the expedition, tarps, major first aid supplies, emergency radio or satellite phone, and professional guides. Meals:  All meals while on the river.

Excluded:  Transportation to point of origin, transfers, accommodation and food other than included in the itinerary, and personal equipment.

  • Gratuities are not included. Our guides make every effort to ensure your holiday is all you expected and more. Recognition of a job well done is always appreciated; $10-20/day per guide is recommended. 

 Day 0:  Arrival in Whitehorse. This denotes the day or days spent in Whitehorse before the listed start date of the trip.

Day 1 – 5:  We will pick you up from your accommodation around 7:00 a.m. and head to our put-in at Johnsons Crossing. We are looking to cover about 40 km per day. Although this sounds like a significant distance, the current of the river makes this a reasonable goal. The river, in its initial stage, is wide and the current slow. At 100 Mile Creek [km 161] the character of the river changes. The wide open river valley disappears, the river narrows, and the willow covered marshes give way to a shoreline of spruce trees and clay banks. 100 Mile Creek: So named for its distance from Hootalinqua. It is believed that it was a supply base for the isolated community of Livingstone, site of the turn of century Livingstone Goldfields. Boswell River [km 97] to Mason’s Landing [km 30] marks another change in the river. The additional volume from the Boswell, Swift and Indian Rivers results in more gravel bars and islands appearing. The river valley widens and large clay banks with distinctive eroded features called hoodoos become more frequent. It is in this stretch of river that we will experience “Roaring Bull Rapids”. Other than a “rush”, the rapids are not technical or dangerous. Mason’s Landing: This was the head of navigation for sternwheelers from Whitehorse that were carrying supplies for the community of Livingstone Creek. The site was maintained until the 1930s. A number of cabins remain from the period still remain. From Mason’s Landing to Hootalinqua the current increases as the river begins its final plunge into the Yukon River Valley. became the supply centre for the low-grade gold mining being carried on along the lower Teslin River in the mid 1890s. Due to its important position at the junction of the main stampede route to the Klondike and the secondary “All-Canadian Route” which went up the Stikine River then overland to Teslin Lake, the NWMP built a post here in 1898. Although the permanent population was never more than about a dozen, a telegraph station was built in 1900, and Taylor & Drury had a store in 1901-1902.

Day 6-8:  As the river widens out at Hootalinqua, it takes on a completely different character – calmer. At Shipyard Island we will stop to see the 130-foot Evelyn. She was built by the Bratnober Company in Seattle in 1908 – working for the Upper Tanana Trading Company and then the huge North American Trading & Transportation Company (NAT&T), she supplied the trading posts along the tributaries of the lower Yukon River until 1913. She was then sold to the Side Steams Navigation Company, who renamed her the Norcom. She may have only worked for 1 more season before being put on the ways at Hootalinqua (in 1918, she was “side-tracked” here, meaning that she would probably not be launched again). Most of her machinery was removed in the 1920s. At the confluence of the Yukon and Big Salmon rivers is Big Salmon Village. It is the site of an ancient fishing village. During the goldrush a NWMP post, telegraph station, riverboat stop, and trading post was located here. Just down river from Big Salmon are 2 small gold dredges which were used in the 1940s – the first one, built by Whitehorse pioneer Laurent Cyr and partner Boyd Gordon, is in reasonably good condition except for being toppled over into the river. Our paddle will continue to the confluence of Little Salmon and Yukon rivers, our take out. Little Salmon village is believed to be the oldest permanent Indian settlement on the upper Yukon. There is an unique cemetery here which we will stop to visit. We will be transported back to Whitehorse and should arrive in the late afternoon or early evening.

Whitehorse Air Canada has daily flights to Whitehorse. Air North has scheduled flights from Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver to Whitehorse. Please check with your travel agent for details. Air Condor has one direct flight per week from Frankfurt, Germany.

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