White Horse Airport
This expedition to the Yukon, the last Canadian border before Alaska, is a true experience of wilderness beauty: glacier valleys, pristine rivers and lakes, alpine meadows, forest and tundra. In the late summer, the fall colors are magnificent and a great opportunity for amazing photography. In this untouched nature, you follow the paths of wild animals such as moose, caribou and wolves and travel in the footsteps of the last trappers. This land has been famous during the Klondike Gold Rush and old stories of prospectors are still shared around campfires. This 10 days horse pack trip is an adventure of a lifetime for intrepid riders.
This expedition to the Yukon, is an impressive 200 km ride, far from any roads with an elevation of up to 1800 m. You will follow the path of wild animals like moose, caribou and wolves, share good stories around the campfire and enjoy everyday life with the horses This 10 days horse pack trip is a travel experience of a life-time. On this trip you have to be willing to let go, be wild and simply let the adventure begin.
Flights into Whitehorse generally arrive in the evening. Pierre and Veronique, your hosts for this expedition, will meet and drive you to the ranch of Shinevalley. This will be your first experience of the midnight sun in the Yukon, overnight in log cabins heated by a wood burning stove. Lodging: Wood cabins (2 to 4 per by cabin)
After a relaxing breakfast and a briefing from Pierre for the week ahead you will be introduce to your own horse corresponding to your level and personality. Introduction to western saddles, packing gears, boxes, hobbles, saddle bags with a quick briefing and we’ll take time to set up the equipment. Time for our first exploratory ride! (1H). After we’re driving down to Whitehorse, to discover stories and culture of the town old days, the Gold Rush. Time when the city was a center for many travelling pioneers doing the long trip to the gold mines of Dawson city. Visit of S.S Klondike, Mc Bride museum, Kluen dun cultural center, gift shops, galleries and some last minute shopping for the trip. Back to the ranch for a nice barbecue and a nice evening around the fire before a good night rest.
Lodging: Wood cabins (2 to 4 per by cabin)
The departure morning, is always full of movement as all the gear has to be set up on the pack horses, luggage has to be weighed and distributed equally in the boxes and pack saddles and we demonstrate the packing technique. Once we’re all in the saddle, we’re heading out to the Bonneville area. After a little hike up we’ll join a high plateau with a beautiful scenic view on Fish Lake and the mountain surrounding us. That will be you first experience of the wild open space of the Yukon wilderness. Tonight we will camp near a lake, where everyone sets up their own tent. A tasty dinner is cooked on the open fire followed by relaxation near the fire and care of the horses. (4 hours riding)
After breakfast and packing up camp you’ll head towards Ibex Lake and enter the foothills of the mountainous region of the Yukon where snow still lingers on the high peaks. The pass we choose depends on the weather and is either on the lake shores surrounded by pine forest or the 1800m high Marmot Pass where there is the opportunity to encounter Dall sheep or perhaps a grizzly or a wolf. Today you will cover around 40kms before reaching Ibex Lake and setting up camp.
Lodging: Tent or under a tree. (6-7 hours riding)
The morning ride takes you above the tree line which is the prime viewing position for wildlife, towards Mud Lake – an ancient lake molded by the glaciers. After finding some good grazing for the horses you will stop for lunch and a nap on the shores of Mud Lake. Back on the trail we look for wolfs dens as we make your way to Rose Creek for our overnight stop. Evening around the camp fire overlooking the large pristine valley.
Lodging: Tent or under a tree ( 6-7 hours riding)
Up in the saddle for another day of discovery, we will pass from alpine forest to alpine meadows where on the south east rise the mighty coastal mountains. The land is pocketed with lakes created by beaver dams. Our destination a pristine lake at the foothills of the coastal mountains and a good spot to observe the rich wildlife. Once we reach the camp we can go swimming if the temperature is good or go fishing at leisure in a magnificent scenery.A hearty meal and an evening around the fire.
Lodging: tent or under a tree. (5 hours riding)
Today is a full day of well-deserved rest. It is time to enjoy all the opportunity that Rose Lake offers: swimming. fishing, some hiking in the surrounding mountains or just enjoying a good book around camp. You’ll have the opportunity to see the float plane that joins us in the day to bring some fresh food which is always appreciated.
Lodging: tent or under a tree ( no riding)
We head down the trail toward Big Ben (Big Bear). A trapper cabin still in use in winter in the open season. It’s a strategic location for trapping wolf, lynx and beaver. The trail will pass from wide open meadows to go up on a ridge of alpine forest overlooking the Watson River. Diner in the cabin, where Pierre will explain the Yukon trapping tradition and techniques.
Lodging: tent or under a tree ( 4 hours riding)
After a good rest in the trapper cabin and breakfast, you will head off to the old Watson Trail that takes you mainly through the open forests. Today is a great day for moose spotting. You saddle up once again and ride for another 20kms to your campsite for the night in an open forest in the wilderness along the Watson River. After dinner, roasting marshmallows over the campfire as the sun sets.
Lodging: Tent or under a tree. (4 hours riding)
We follow a long ascending path to the alpine meadows. You might have to lead the horse by foot for maximum 1 hour. Panoramic view towards the Alaskan glaciers. You cross a large plateau, home of many caribous, and then descent to the glacial valley, to the sandy banks of Alligator Lake (so called because of its shape rather than its inhabitants!) where you will set up camp for the night.
Lodging: Tent on the shore of the river. ( 6 hours riding)
The land opens up into generous open spaces today, you trail ride for 40kms to a high plateau and another great spot to see wildlife and the most beautiful camp to see the sunset. As you go you’ll pass by a beaver dams and some little rivers until you get to a high point where you see the surrounding mountains and at the end of the day a view of Fish Lake you will ride along until you meet the camp. It is the last time to gather some firewood and setting up tents before returning to civilisation and the last evening in the wilderness around the campfire. ( 7-8 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent or under a tree
Today is going to be our last ride day, leaving from the far end of Fish Lake and then heading toward home traveling across open ground and entering the forest after the lake. Today is a short day and a last look at the wilderness and a slow re-entry into civilization. At the end of the day will drive in town for a good shower and a good meal at the restaurant, then back for a last night at Shinevalley Ranch to share farewell drinks. (3 hours riding)
Lodging: Wood cabins (2 to 4 per cabins)
Airport transfer from Shinevalley after breakfast
OPTIONAL ; On the last day of expedition, people who are interested in a guided flight, overlooking at all the itinerary and the camp we had been riding the last 10 days can board a little float plane. just make sure your return flight is in the afternoon or night. The flight is between 125$ to 150$ CDN depending the number of guests in the group that is going.