Teslin / Yukon Rivers - Johnsons Crossing to Dawson City

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722 km
14 days
Loop Trip: 
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0 m
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0 m
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Not applicable
Not applicable
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Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Shuttle to Johnsons crossing and start under the Alaska hiway bridge . Paddle down the Teslin River slow current the first 35 kms. Fast current from there till the end of the trip. Several old cabins and and good camping spots all along the Teslin.

There is an old barge and mining equipment at O`Briens Bar. A good place to stop for lunch and explore. Teslin joins the Yukon River at Hootalinqua, where there is a maintained campsite with picnic tables, toilets and a roof over a table. There is also a hiking trail behind the old buildings to well up in the mountain for a good view of the Teslin and Yukon River valleys at the confleuence. Just downstream of Hootalinqua is Evelyn Island with an old Paddle wheeler. A must-stop. The river flows on past numerous old cabins a gold dredge, 2 old native villages before comming to Carmacks.

The trip could be concluded here or you could stop at the restaurant for a meal, pick up a few groceries and carry on . There is a maintained campground here but we had been warned to keep an eye on our gear here as it has a habit of disappearing.

Moving down the river there is an abandoned coal mine from the 1800s with a fair campsite.
About 10 km past this is the only area of concern, the Five Finger Rapids. There is a path to a lookout on river right about 100 m above the rapid. This takes you to a lookout to scout the rapids. Not all the rapid is visible from the lookout but enough can be seen to make a plan. STAY RIGHT through the haystacks to avoid the tricky currents and whirlpools from the other channels . We did not see any possible portage around the rapids.

A few miles below this there is another rapid that looks fairly imposing at first but can be totally avoided by staying to the extreme right.

Just below this there is a spot with a thick layer of white volcanic ash that is reputed to be Sam McGee`s ashes.

The river carries on past Minto an old homestead where there is a few cabins an a dock for some mining operation.
There is an airfield here and access to the Klondike Hwy.

Then past Fort Selkirk where there is a museum run by the natives and a chance to buy some crafts.

All through this trip there is old wood yards that used to supply wood to the paddlewheelers . Some have returned to nature but several still have old decaying buildings.

Although there is some sand in the river water the water is still usable for cooking and drinking till the White river flows in. From then on it is necessary to get drinking and cooking water from feeder steams.

At Sterwart island there are old docks from an ore transfer site.

The river runs on and then comes to Dawson City. There is a government campground on river left just past the fairy landing dock - good place to camp while you see the sights of Dawson.

Special Comments: 

There is no need for topo maps if you use Mike Rourke`s river guides . ( Mike`s are the easiest to follow and have the most info). All the points of interest are noted and explained and the campsites are marked.
There was a great deal of wildlife all along the river . We saw moose, caribou, black bear , grizzly bear, dall sheep, eagles, perigrine falcons, ducks, loons and all kinds of smaller mammels and birds .
The scenery was the highlight of the trip . We traveled through mountains the entire trip . Only negative would be the mosquitoes and the rainy weather.

Joe Beynen


Post date: Tue, 11/11/2008 - 19:25


added Nov /08
Carmacks: There is a campground Coal Mine Camground on RR 3km above the Carmacks bridge. It is canoe friendly with camping,a couple of cabins to rent and burgers and ice cream. You can leave a car there for shuttle purposes for approx $3/day.You can walk into town for supplies.
Five Finger Rapids. As the report says use the right channel. However we did not stay to the extreme RR in the channel. We shot the right channel by slidding down the tongue angling towards the left to avoid the standing waves. The water level was high and we had no problem. We however are comfortable in moving water with a loaded boat. Rink rapids is the only other rapid as this report says RR and its easy.
The other comment would be that the river gets big after Carmacks and is moving 10Kph+ If you see a campsite to the side you most likely won't be able to get to it as the current will take you past.
Other support as of 08:
Kanoe people http://www.kanoepeople.com/
Up North http://www.upnorth.yk.ca/
These two have a strong retail presence in town 1/2 a block apart. There are others like:
Shadow Lake Expeditions http://www.shadowlake.ca/index.html
We used him for shuttles and rentals for the Snake R. His equipment was top notch and we were the envy of other trips.

Post date: Sat, 01/01/2000 - 07:00


HI; My friend and me will canoe the yukon from Dawson to circle. On Aug,18. Do you supose will have bear problems? How do you sugest we get our drinking water? Will bugs be bad? Any information you can give us would be great. Thank-You.

Post date: Sat, 01/01/2000 - 07:00


I live in the Yukon and have done the Teslin and the Yukon River many times... if you need any info please feel free to e-mail me.

Post date: Sat, 01/01/2000 - 07:00


I do not think this is an advanced river. I have seen it and it does not rank with the Nahannai or Bonnet Plume, both of which I have paddled. Others rate it as beginner.