“The summer – no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all a thrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness –
Oh God! How I’m stuck on it all.”
Robert Service – The Spell of the Yukon
The Snake River is far from civilization and one of the famous rivers of the Peel River Watershed. This regions provides amazing wildlife viewing opportunities, crystal-clear streams, enormous untouched animal habitat, and some of the best wilderness hiking and camping opportunities in the territory. It is traditional territory of the Nacho N’y’ak Dun and Tetl’it Gwich’in First Nations – and an area up for protection and conservation due to its unique ecosystem and pristine wilderness setting.
The Snake River is the most easterly of the Peel tributary rivers, and drains from the Mackenzie Mountains along the Yukon/NWT border. The river runs through some of the most scenic mountain ranges found anywhere in the Yukon. The Snake begins in the alpine and sub-alpine zones, and descends through the mountains to the Peel River Plateau, where it drains into the Peel River.
The Snake River is only accessible by float plane. Being close to the Arctic Circle, it never gets dark in the summer. The long hours of daylight allow for ample time to explore and hike. In the beginning of the trip, the tundra starts at the river’s edge leaving easy access to the rugged mountains. On the first part of the trip, while we are in the mountains, we have shorter paddling days and more time for exploration on foot. We hike up mountain ridges to reach spectacular viewpoints over the vast Snake River valley and beyond.
The river is rated at WW class II-III, which requires advanced paddling skills. During high water levels the river is classified as a class II and requires lots of rock dodging. Further down the river, there are a series of canyons, then it becomes braided, deep and fast moving.
The Snake River maintains a fast current all the way down to the confluence with the Peel River.
|Duration:||15 days / 14 nights (Duo Lakes to Taco Bar)|
|Distance:||300 km (187 miles)|
|Difficulty:||Experienced Canoeist – Whitewater Class II-III|
|Tour Dates:||August 12th to August 26th, 2018|
|Price:||$ 6,795.00 (CAN) per person + 5% GST|
|Additional Cost:||Single room/tent $200.00 per person + 5% GST.|
|Group Size:||Maximum guide ratio 6:1|
Arrival in Whitehorse. The Up North Adventures shuttle will greet you at the airport. Meet the other trip participants tonight, and your guide will verify your personal gear and go through any last minute questions. Participants are then invited to explore the City of Whitehorse, enjoy a good meal or take in some historic sights around town on their own. Enjoy your first night in Whitehorse in a hotel (included in price) located within walking distance of all downtown attractions and restaurants for your first evening.
We head north. Our shuttle van takes us through the heart of the Yukon. At Mayo, we unload the canoes and get all the gear ready to board the float plane, waiting to take us away out into the wilderness. Duo Lakes is our destination for today. Weather permitting we reach the shores of the bigger lake in the early evening, which gives us time to set up camp, get the fire going and enjoy a nice supper. This lake sports some wonderful Grayling, which can be a welcoming addition to our first wilderness meal. Blown away by the majestic mountains surrounding us, hungry for more of it and satisfied to see it tomorrow, we retire for our first night in the wilderness.
We start with a hearty breakfast, then break camp and tackle the 2 km long portage down into the Snake River Valley. A small path leads us to the river. Pretty soon everything is loaded in our canoes and the river trip itself starts. The upper part of the river may have low water levels, which require us to line the canoes for a short time until we reach deeper waters. We set off with a good current and the adventure is on. After a few kilometers we meet the first canyon. From here it is steady class II whitewater until Reptile Creek. After Reptile Creek the Snake will widen to twice its width.
Day 4 – 13:
A milky river will bring whitish waters and the Snake River looses its clear greenish sheen. This will continue until we reach the mighty Peel River. Standing waves and whitewater between II and III will be our companions on and off.
The days are ours to enjoy now. Tight corners and sweepers cannot hold us back. We navigate the Snake River with wild abandon. True wilderness wraps itself around us. We become immersed in a world beyond description: lonely and remote, still full of life and plants. Incredible mountain scenery invites us to stop and explore their heights. Our daily routine of camping, paddling and resting quickly turn into comfortable patterns. We become one as a group and are reminded of the life voyageur people experienced when exploring this entire country more than 100 years ago. We help, we share and we admire together.
A canyon with tricky waters some kilometers past Mount Colley requires our full attention. We have the option to portage on the left side, if we deem this section too dangerous.
At the lower Snake River, the mountains retreat and the river cuts itself through the Peel River Plateau. Still we have to be on the lookout for eddies, whirlpools and boils.
We are seasoned now, and really, we would rather like to stay out here. However, the pickup point comes ever closer. On the gravely shores of “Taco Bar” we set up our last camp. Reflecting on the last two weeks of true wilderness adventure makes the arrival of the float plane somewhat easier. We can always come back!
The pilot takes us to Mayo, where Up North’s shuttle van will bring us back to Whitehorse. One last time, we watch Yukon’s heartland glide by our windows in it’s full glamor. In Whitehorse we settle back into civilization and enjoy a well deserved night at the local hotel (included in price).
The airport shuttle timely delivers you to your southbound flight or you can start your next adventure.
We have to say our “Goodbyes” and Thanks for being part of our summer!
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Due to the expeditionary nature of this program, changes to the itinerary are a possibility and are left up to the discretion of the guide. All attempts will be made to complete the trip within the outlined timeline.