Yukon canoe trip
We (two of us) are planning to do the Dawson City to Circle trip. We think it will take us seven to eight days. We have two weeks. Has anyone canoe'd from Circle to the Dalton Highway. I think it's about 250 miles?
I'm not sure how long it would take us to go from Circle to Dalton Highway. I'm sure it depends to the wind and weather. Has anyone done this. Or should we spend more time between Eagle and Circle.
We could pull off the river and backpack for a few days but I can't seem to find any trails in the preserve.
Also, If we go to the Dalton Highway. I was trying to find a square stern canoe to rent. We have access to a 5hp motor. But we could only find a "Old Town Discovery Sport 15 footer". We would like a 17 footer. Would a 15 footer canoe be aduqate on this river. My though was that we could motor out with his canoe if the weather slowed us down. Any Ideas.
It's been 25 years but I consider it an enjoyable trip.....the river current moves you along quite rapidly with little effort on your part.....I find the upper river to be more interesting than the flats.....I would consider starting further up.....Carcross or Whitehorse etc....way better hiking in that area....check with Kanoe People in Whitehorse for more info....15' canoe is on the small side IMO....and yes, wind is a consideration on the Yukon....
First off, I haven't done Circle to the bridge. Done the entire river upstream of Circle though and I echo Vern's sentiments that you might consider maybe starting from Carmacks rather than Dawson and see more of the Canadian side.
We always found forty-mile days on the Yukon to be longish, but doable days, depends on how much wind you hit and how much you like to paddle. So your estimate of 7-8 days to hit Circle is pretty good. Exploring the Fortymile mouth and cabins is fun, and I'd recommend a hike up to Old Woman Rock if you're able, great view from on top there if you go up the back side. You're right, not many trails in Yukon Charley, but you can spend a lot of time and have loads of fun lining up some of the side creeks like Nation, Kandik, Charley Rivers. Even just a couple miles up it's a whole different scene and fun to camp on a bar along a clearwater stream and fish for grayling. You can hike up the road/trail at Coal Creek/Slaven's cabin to look at the dredge; that's also worthwhile.
Don't think you have enough time to make it through the flats to the bridge without a kicker, depends on what Ma Nature does. As you probably know, there are sometimes when you just can't paddle hard enough to overcome upriver winds. Two-day storms tend to make you want to hole up somewhere too.
Good stops in the preserve are Nation Bluff cabin and the cabin at the Kandik mouth, both now NPS public use cabins. Slaven's too. River people at fish camps are generally friendly to "floaters," and often give out king salmon if they have extra. Have a great trip,
Your schedule looks about right. I did a leisurely float from Dawson to Eagle last summer with a group of 10 and we took 4 days. Early morning starts and Boy Scouts are mutually exclusive, so you could certainly make it in three days if you needed to.
Plan some time at Forty Mile, too. Nice camping area and trails off the river. Spend some time in Eagle -- the museum is fun to go through, and there's a lot of history in Fort Egbert. Also, the NPS office there can update you on anything going on downstream in the preserve. Good food at the cafe, too.
At Slavens, if you have the time there's a gold dredge a mile or so off the river via a trail. The trail/road goes further south (?) to the Coal Creek Camp and beyond to the hills overlooking Woodchopper and some other higher country. It's a nice way to get off the river for a day or so. There's actually a free public use cabin among the NPS buildings near the Coal Creek airstrip if you want to park the boats and do an overnight.
Never been downstream of Circle. The upstream section, say out of Carcross, is fun -- or it was 25 years ago! I think Carcross to Dawson took us 5 days, but they were long and I was young. I'd add at least a day to that. We did that section in a 15-foot canoe. A little more volume would have been nice -- especially if we were trying to pack for another week.