Canadian Canoe Routes

Yukon River, Dawson to Circle
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Author:  e2holmes [ July 11th, 2014, 11:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Yukon River, Dawson to Circle

We did this trip in August 2012, but I'm just getting round to posting some notes 2 years latter. -- eli

After doing the Whitehorse to Dawson section of the Yukon River, we returned the next year to do the Dawson to Circle section. This section is a bit shorter. We took 11 days, but could have easily done it in less. Logistics were harder since getting out of Circle required a trip on the mail plane and we could not rent canoes. We bought Ally foldable canoes and they were great. We have since used them on another couple trips.

This was a beautiful mellow trip. It was basically a float trip. There wasn't as much history to visit as on the Whitehorse to Dawson trip, but the history we did get to see was especially nice. We spent a day and a half at the Slaven's Roadhouse and had a great time exploring the gold dredge there. The geology is very interesting in this section also, as the pictures show. We stayed in the public use cabins along the way for 4 nights, which made things rather posh.

Pictures/itinerary: The pictures give a daily view of our trip.

Getting there We used AirNorth for Vancouver to Dawson, then mail plane from Circle to Fairbanks, and AirNorth for Fairbanks to Dawson and Dawson to Vancouver. This was about the most expensive way we could have done it. Much cheaper would have been to do a round-trip Seattle to Fairbanks and then AirNorth for Fairbanks to Dawson and mail plane Circle to Fairbanks. Do a google search to find the current mail plane company out of Circle.

Baggage and small planes: You pay for your luggage by pound and it'll be expensive. Go light. The mail planes don't have a lot of room and might be limited by weight. You can mail stuff home out of Circle. Ask someone in town where the post office is. They have boxes you can buy. It's about a 15 min walk from the river.

The Circle mail plane: When you get into Circle, head to the post office and ask them when the plane is coming and where to meet it. You can camp at the landing strip and that'll be quieter than in town.

Canoes: You'll need foldable canoes unless someone is renting Dawson to Circle. I highly doubt that since there is no way to get the boats back to Dawson. There is a place in Fairbanks that rents Ally foldable canoes. Do a google search. We bought our Ally canoes from KanoePeople in Whitehorse. The place in Fairbanks sells them too.

Camping: Along the river and in the free use cabins in the Yukon-Charley National Preserve. In Eagle, there is a campground. In Circle you can camp out the take-out but it's a party zone. We camped there but I wished we'd hiked to the landing strip and camped there.

Public Use cabins: They are free and in the Yukon-Charley National Preserve. Just do a google search. These were really fun to stay in. We stayed at the Nation Bluff cabin, the Kandik River cabin and the Slavin Road House. The last one is not to be missed. You can get showers at Slavin's by hiking into the Coal Camp. Some of the cabins have propane stoves.

Dogs: Allowed, but see note re bears below.

Bears: Definitely. I've never seen so many bear tracks along the river, but we didn't actually see any.

Maps: I downloaded google maps and printed those off. I also downloaded the geology map from the Yukon-Charley National Preserve website. The guide book you want is Yukon River (Dawson-Circle) by Mike Rourke. You can get it from It takes awhile to get so don't delay.

Difficulty: Easy. This is a class I float, but it is a big river so you really do not want to flip in it. It would be a long, long swim.

Dawson: There are good grocery stores in Dawson and you can get all the food you need there (if so inclined). There is only a small outdoors shop, the Trading Post on main street, but they are surprisingly well supplied. The have white gas (Coleman fuel). There are ATMs in town.

One of the big headaches is getting from the Dawson airport into to Dawson. If you are staying at the Dawson hostel, they might give you a shuttle or there might be someone running a shuttle. Try calling the Dawson Visitor Center to find out who runs the shuttle. Another option is to stay in a hotel that runs a shuttle. In my photos, I have some fliers from hotels that have shuttles. If you have a foldable canoe, you might just hike over to the Klondike River and start from there. Beware of sweepers (fallen over trees) on the Klondike.

There is lots of interesting tourist stuff to do in Dawson. Plan at least a few days there to explore. Head to the Visitor Center to learn about everything there is to see and do. If you have time, make sure to check out the nice hike to a top of the Moosehide with great views.

Lots of places to stay in Dawson: camping, hotels and hostel. The first year we camped and the 2nd year we stayed at the hostel. It was very nice to have a cabin to pack up in. The bathhouses at the hostel are great. There is an RV camp in town, but quieter is the campground across the river. Head to the canoe camp spot which are on the right as you enter the camp.

Lots more TRs of northern waters trips on my blog:

Author:  littleredcanoe [ July 14th, 2014, 10:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Yukon River, Dawson to Circle

Well you had me excited about being able to fly Fairbanks to Dawson so I checked with Air North.

This is the response I got on July 14 2014

Good morning,

Unfortunately, we no longer fly between Dawson City and Fairbanks, Alaska. I believe the only option to travel between these two cities currently is by bus or car.


Marie Young

Thank you for choosing Air North, Yukon's Airline Customer Service

As far as travel in the North, everything is always changing.

Author:  e2holmes [ July 18th, 2014, 5:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Yukon River, Dawson to Circle

Yes, I noticed that too after I posted. Perhaps they will add the route back again at some point. It was only for summer when we used it.

Author:  greenriver [ June 23rd, 2015, 1:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Yukon River, Dawson to Circle

Really enjoyed your Yukon River journeys. Thank you.

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