Eagle to Circle on the Yuke
Has anyone out there ever floated the Yukon, Eagle to Circle?
A couple of Buddies and I are looking into it next summer an I want to get some real insight if availible?
I've done half that route in a canoe (from Slavens to Circle), half in a powerboat. All very manageable in a canoe w/o a motor. The current is fast, but the water is flat. You can just sit in the boat and make several miles an hour.
A few observations:
-- At high water, finding a nice dry camping spot at the right time of the day can be a problem.
-- As you approach Circle, be sure to get over on the left side. There are some islands and channels that could be confusing and in a canoe you'd hate to overshoot the town.
-- Bugs. Two years ago going to Circle in June they were horrible. Last year going Dawson to Eagle in early July there were none. Go figure. Plan for the worst.
-- Don't take an inflatable canoe. We did. Among the problems it was too small for two adults and gear, slower than a regular canoe, and while it was indeed "self-bailing" we found our butts in the water some of the time.
-- I'd be leery of using a raft, although they pack a lot. Up-river winds in the afternoon seem like they would slow you down.
Mike Sager in Eagle rents canoes for one-way trips and takes care of getting them back to Eagle from Circle. We used him last year on a Dawson-Eagle trip. He's gives great advice on the river conditions and his boats are good Old Towns or Mad Rivers. His web site is:
Also, check out the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve web site, http://www.nps.gov/yuch There's a link to canoeing the Yukon. The preserve has some free public use cabins, including a relatively new one at Coal Creek/Slavens. Also, Slavens Roadhouse is a fun stop right on the river. Can't miss it -- big two-story building with lots of history. You can also sleep there, sort of like a free hostel. It's worth the mile or so walk off the river to see and walk thru the old gold dredge there, too.
You might also give a call to Pat Sanders in Eagle. She's worked for the Park Service for a bunch of years, and is a good source of local knowledge about road conditions, work going on in the preserve, summer fire and smoke situation, etc. The office # is 547-2233.
Forgot one thing...
Great little guide book to take with you is "Yukon River Guide," by Dean Littlepage and Gerri Dick. The Alaska Natural History Association sells them. www.alaskahna.org I think their outlet at the Public Lands Information Center in Fairbanks (250 Cushman) probably stocks them. I found the Dawson-Eagle maps to be quite accurate.
I've lived in the general area for a while now and have done that float numerous times. Good info from toofewweekends that pretty much sums it up. Some nice public use cabins at/near mouth of Nation and Kandik Rivers, as well as a couple others. There are now more private inholdings too, so best to get a map from NPS on their public-use cabins and stay clear of the private property. Winds can really slow you down, current is 6-8mph and you can do forty-mile days if you want and do the whole trip in four long days with lots of paddling. Easier and more pleasant to stretch it into a week and just let the canoe turn in circles at times as you float down. Indeed, Circle is easy to miss as it is in a side channel on the south shore. Good fishing at the mouths of rivers, lots of mosquitoes if you camp in the timber. Plenty of sandbar islands to camp on to stay out of the bugs. Lots of waterfowl, maybe some bears spotted along shore or on the hills, all in all some beautiful country to travel through before it breaks out into the flats six miles from Circle. For a good overall historical reference, I highly recommend Dan O'Neill's Land Gone Lonesome, which explains the people who used to live there and the history of Yukon-Charley influence on those people. Dan writes from a perspective of being out on the river in his 19' grumman and has a lot of info on the river too.
Thanks a bunch
Thanks a bunch for the info, lots of good stuff. What would you say is the best time to do it? May, June or July? My buds will be coming in from the lower 48 so thats why we have started planning so far out.
Personally, I'd opt for July; you can even hit the July 4th festivities in Eagle if possible. Reason for July is that is our real hot month, and it's often hot enough to drive the skeets off during the day, and Yukon is usually higher from snowmelt in the Yukon Territory that sends the glacial runoff downstream, and not much rain to put a damper on your trip. Good luck and I'm sure you'll have a great float,