Rafting the Pristine Canadian Yukon!
Come to the Yukon and take this 10 day Tatshenshini River rafting journey through the Ice Age: Glaciers, Icebergs, Wildflowers and Wildlife! If you're looking to experience the true beauty of the Great Canadian North, this is the trip for you! This is a perfect river expedition for all ages and skill levels and is one of our all-time favorites.
Tatshenshini Rafting Highlights
Named the #1 River trip in the world in National Geographic’s “Journeys of a Lifetime”, the Tatshenshini River will impress even the most seasoned explorer. Starting in the Yukon, this wilderness rafting trip takes you through Northern British Columbia all the way to Southern Alaska.
As the world’s largest bio-preserve, the area around the Tatshenshini River has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to some of the largest and most spectacular glaciers in the world and huge populations of grizzly bears, caribou and Dall's sheep. Enjoy the best of everything the Yukon has to offer.
You’ll start your amazing rafting journey on a small river winding through the thick forest and beautiful canyons of the Yukon. As you raft downstream into Northern BC, the landscape opens up exposing you to breathtaking scenery of mountains and huge glaciers.
You’ll view countless wildlife, hike to sub-alpine meadows densely populated with a variety of wildflowers, walk on glaciers and paddle around icebergs as the trip climaxes at the stunning Alsek Lake in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. At the end of the day you can relax on the river bank with a glass of wine or beer while camp and delicious meals are prepared for you.
Tatshenshini Rafting Details
- Expert certified river guides
- State-of-the-art expedition equipment including an all-season tent (shared between 2 guests), sleeping bag, Thermarest air mattress, safety equipment and waterproof bags for your personal belongings
- All on-trip meals and beverages, including a selection of vintage wines, spirits, local and imported beers, non-alcoholic drinks and fresh water
- All transfers between Whitehorse, Yukon Territoritories and the river
The Wildlife and their Habitat:
The valley of the Tatshenshini is a fantastic area for viewing wildlife such as grizzly, black bear, moose, Dall’s sheep, mountain goats and wolves. Indigenous species also include coyote, lynx, marten and red fox. Feeding on the spawning salmon are many breeding pairs of bald eagles. The occasional golden eagle can also be seen soaring over the canyons of the upper Tatshenshini. A variety of hawks and the rare peregrine falcon also call this river valley home. Canada geese and the fish-eating merganser are found along the river. Gulls and arctic terns may be seen as well. During our hikes we may come across ptarmigan and many varieties of songbirds. You'll experience all the nature northern Canada has to offer on this rafting trip of a lifetime.
The giant spring or king salmon, coho, sockeye and chum salmon all spawn in the Tatshenshini and its tributaries while rainbow trout and char populate the upper river. The mountain slopes are forested with hemlock, fir and spruce. Balsam, poplar and cottonwood are found on the alluvial fans and river terraces, while wildflowers such as dwarf fireweed and cinquefoil grace the river’s edge. The alpine meadows are covered with wildflowers such as moss campion and spotted saxifrage.
In July, we experience the north’s incredible, long hours of daylight. July and August are the driest times of the year, so be prepared for the best weather the region has to offer. There’s no guarantee against a few days of overcast weather or rain; the mountain weather environment is best described as highly variable.
Tatshenshini Rafting Itinerary
You will need to be in Whitehorse the evening before the rafting begins. The guides will give you an overview of the trip and will make sure any last minute questions you have will be answered. You will also receive your personal dry bags and rafting gear for use on the trip.
DAY ONE – JOURNERY TO DALTON POST
The journey begins at 8:00am when we pick you up from your hotel in Whitehorse and head out on the Alaskan Highway. Our first stop is Haines Junction on the doorstep of the Kluane National Park and Reserve. Here you’ll have the opportunity to visit The Kluane National Park Visitor Centre and pick up some delicious treats at the renowned local bakery. After clearing customs we’ll head to Dalton Post to meet up with the other guides who have been rigging the rafts in preparation for our journey. After enjoying a delicious dinner by the campfire you’ll experience your first night of camping by the Tatshenshini River.
DAY TWO – FORESTS, CANYONS AND WHITE WATER
The day begins as every river day does; with a serving of coffee, tea, fruit juice as well as granola and fruit salad. You will also be served a hearty warm breakfast like eggs benny, banana nut pancakes with maple syrup or scrambled eggs with freshly baked bread. After breaking down camp and a thorough safety briefing, we set off down river deep into the canyons of the St. Elias Mountains.
DAYS THREE, & FOUR – TWISTS, TURNS, WILDLIFE AND WILDFLOWERS
On day 3 you’ll experience a more relaxed Tathshenshini river. You will see panoramic mountain vistas and with a keen eye it is possible to spot moose, trumpeter swans and the bald eagles who call this area home. We’ll end the day camping at Sediments Creek. On day 4 you’ll have the option of relaxing at camp or joining a hike to an open ridge where you’ll see great views of the meandering river and the surrounding area. A short hike along the ridge takes you to an alpine meadow full of wildflowers bursting with color.
DAYS FIVE & SIX – MOUNTAINS, GLACIERS AND THE MEETING OF 2 GREAT RIVERS
Downstream the scenery becomes increasingly more spectacular as the valley broadens. This allows you to see glaciers hanging from the mountainsides all around. On day 6 the river becomes more braided, filled with sediment from the surrounding glaciers. The river is so wide that by the time we meet the confluence with the mighty Alsek you’ll find it difficult to determine which way the river is flowing and in which direction you are heading. When we reach our camp at Melt Creek you may find yourself suffering from stiff necks, eye strain and full memory cards- the classic symptoms of SOS (Scenic Overdose Syndrome).
DAYS SEVEN, EIGHT – ICE WALKING AND ICE FIELDS
On day 7 we’ll head off down the Alsek reaching the dramatic views of Walker Glacier in a few relaxing hours. After enjoying your lunch you can accompany your guide for a hike near the glacier and see this majestic landscape up close. From here you can hear ice falls crashing through the night. On day 8 we’ll leave Walker Glacier behind and head to Alsek Lake.
DAY NINE – A JOURNEY INTO THE ICE AGE
Alsek Lake is the climax of the trip and is filled with floating icebergs. The icebergs are a result of huge chunks of ice carving off from the 2 enormous glaciers that feed the lake; the Alsek and the Grand Plateau. We’ll row through the lake keeping a respectful distance from the bergs for a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll never forget.
DAY TEN – BACK TO CIVILIZATION
After breaking camp for the last time, we’ll float the last few miles down to the airstrip at Dry Bay, Alaska near the shores of the Pacific Ocean. You’ll arrive back in Whitehorse in just over an hour and we’ll take you to your hotel for a well-deserved hot shower. Tonight, we’ll get together for our farewell dinner, raise our glasses for a last toast to the Tatshenshini and start planning our next adventure.
The Tatshenshini/Alsek River trip has a CLASS II Classification; although much of the trip is an easy-going CLASS I. This is a perfect river for all ages and skill levels and we have to admit, one of our favorites!
CLASS I: Easy. Moving water with ripples and small waves
CLASS II: Novice. Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels
CLASS III: Intermediate. Some maneuvering required, large waves may be present
CLASS IV: Advanced. Powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling
CLASS V: Expert terrain
CLASS VI: Extreme!
LEVEL OF ACTIVITY:
Of the 10 river days we spend eight of them rafting, and the other two “laying over” in camp. We spend three to four hours on the water on rafting days, mostly on Class I or II rapids – a gentle, bobbing current. We will encounter a stretch of Class III rapids on the second day only.
We walk daily near our campsites exploring the local flora and fauna, or stopping on the river to check out points of interest. On layover days there are longer hikes available, some of them quite serious scrambles, into the alpine tundra zone. All hikes are optional and a guide accompanies you at all times. A highlight is our glacier hike where we walk on the glacier.
It is the responsibility of each individual to ensure they have a valid passport and any necessary visas for their expedition. Requirements for travel visas vary widely depending on nationality. It is important that you check and apply for each of the visas you need whilst in your home country and consult the relevant embassy if you need more information.
You must be eligible to clear customs in both Canada and the United States at the time of your expedition.
Should you fail to clear customs Canadian Rafting Adventures powered by Canadian Outback Rafting is not at liberty to offer a refund for the booked expedition outside of the cancellation policy.
For more information, these websites can be helpful with up to date immigration rules.