Great River Journey - vacations and travel

Great River Journey Classic Plus


from $6,495* per person 7 Days Year-round
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Great River Journey 12 people max
  • Yukon river cruises, whitehorse, yukon territory, canada
  • Boats, Barges & Small Ship Cruises trips
National Geographic Traveler's Tours of a Lifetime 2010
Surrounded by the lands of Ta’an Kwäch'än Council and accessible only by riverboat, Upper Labarge Lodge provides a safe and luxurious first stop in a wilderness setting that invites travelers to relax completely.

Facilities at Upper Labarge Lodge include a log-crafted main lodge with fireplace and bar overlooking the lake, an elegant dining area, reading room and upper deck. Intimate pathways connect the main lodge to the private cabins overlooking the lake. Each cabin has a full ensuite with bed and sitting room.

Wilderness Adventures Abound

Limited access, restricted hunting and the remote nature of the surrounding lands provide unique opportunities for wildlife viewing. Interpretive sessions, hiking, and specialty tours such as Muktuk Adventures are available for individuals and small groups. Bird watching opportunities abound in adjacent Shallow Bay, a wetland that serves as a staging area for vast numbers of migratory birds. Beaver, waterfowl and arctic grayling populate nearby creeks, which are easily accessed by canoe and kayak.

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.


Day 1 – Whitehorse to Upper Labarge Lodge

The Journey Begins

Guests are welcomed in the Yukon’s capital city, Whitehorse, within the traditional lands of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch'än Council. Those arriving via air through Vancouver, Calgary and Frankfurt land at the Whitehorse International Airport. Highway travelers arrive in Whitehorse via the Alaska Highway. Cruise ship and Alaska Marine Highway travelers arriving through Skagway, Alaska can make the 100-mile trip into Whitehorse by a combination of the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Narrow Gauge railway and motorcoach.

The Journey begins with a private guided tour of the SS Klondike II, a Canadian National Historic Site. This paddlewheeler plied the Yukon River during the era of riverboat transportation. The tour brings to life the challenges and difficulties faced by those who opened up the Yukon.

Following the SS Klondike tour, guests are transported to the Great River Journey river boat. This boat comfortably accommodates 10 guests for the short trip to Upper Labarge Lodge.

Day 2 – Upper Labarge Lodge - Extra Day

Wake up to the sounds of nature amidst the fabled ancestral lands of the Ta’an Kwach’an Council. Before a gourmet camp breakfast, take in the glory of the morning by paddling a canoe along the shores of Lake Laberge, or try your hand at fishing for pike, arctic grayling or lake trout – or go for a refreshing early morning hike in the solitude of our northern forests. Set off by canoe or kayak to visit the local beaver and bald eagle population, paddle the shore of famous Lake Labarge and see what the early travelers and First Nations saw so many years ago. Take a guided hike along the trails and visit the historical Ta’an Village and cemetery.

Days 3 & 4 – Homestead Lodge

Journey into “The Thirty Mile”

Rested and ready, guests depart Upper Labarge Lodge to venture across Lake Laberge and down the “Thirty Mile” section of the Yukon River. Its high cut banks, steep overgrown bluffs, narrow and fast-running channels, numerous small rapids, untouched scenery and rich history have earned this section of the river official designation and protected status as one of Canada’s 28 “Heritage Rivers.” None is more beautiful.

Now a completely uninhabited and reclaimed wilderness preserve, the “Thirty Mile” was once one of the busiest and most treacherous stretches of the Yukon for steam-powered paddle wheelers. Heavily overgrown but still visible are the remains of the log cabins that served as homes, Mounted Police detachments, telegraph stations and wood camps. Several huge paddle wheelers remain largely intact where shipwrecked—or hauled out and abandoned—over 80 years ago.

A Flightseeing Adventure

After a rest stop at Steamboat Island and a tour of the dry docked and abandoned Evelyn as part of their cheap all inclusive holidays, guests board a floatplane for a one-hour overflight of the Yukon River to Homestead Lodge. The river below triples in size as the Teslin, Big Salmon and Little Salmon tributaries flow in, churning its waters through the awe-inspiring Five Finger and Rink rapids. Now a truly “Great River,” the Yukon presents immense open vistas as it flows past huge rock outcrops, bluffs and rock walls at the confluence of the Pelly River.

Day 5 – Wilderness Outpost

Real Yukon Wilderness, Real Yukon Adventure

From Homestead Lodge, guests travel to Wilderness Outpost for the most remote backcountry experience of their journey. This is an excellent opportunity for canoeing or kayaking accompanied by the support boat. Here, the river runs through wide-open valleys framed by large prominent rock bluffs. The Stewart and White Rivers join the Yukon, bringing with them vast amounts of glacial and alluvial silt, turning the Great River white for many kilometres downstream.

Touching Nature at Wilderness Outpost

Nestled on the bank of the Great River, Wilderness Outpost provides an opportunity for guests to experience nature first hand. Its tented cabins give guests the feeling of “roughing it in the bush” with all creature comforts intact. With inner and outer walls of canvas, the tented cabins blend the camping atmosphere with the structural integrity, safety and all the conveniences, including full ensuites, of a conventional lodge. Fine food, storytelling around the campfire, and night sounds provide the backdrop for reflection and personal growth. Experienced and attentive wilderness guides assure guest comfort and safety.

Day 6 - The City of Gold

Enjoy a guided hike through the surrounding wilderness, home to 10 per cent of Canada’s grizzlies, the Porcupine caribou herd, peregrine falcons, and seasonal home to millions of migratory birds. In the late morning we continue our journey by riverboat, stopping for wildlife sightings and for a last gourmet shore-picnic. This is the threshold of the world’s most famous gold rush, brought to life through the stories of your guides. Abandoned settlements and camps are testament to the ebb and flow of humanity into this now reclaimed wilderness. Arrive in the fabled Northern Eldorado of Dawson City – back to the time of gold fever and dance hall girls!

Savour the sights, the noise, and hustle and bustle of still thriving “Paris” of the north. The cultural richness of Dawson City is a perfect counterpoint to the stark beauty of the preceding days of wilderness. History, gold, shopping, and entertainment await. Explore the Edwardian streets & museums, enjoy the readings of Robert Service, and see the log cabin where Jack London spent his winters.

Private accommodation within the historic townsite provides a convenient base from which to explore the historical landmarks and experience the enduring character of Dawson. Guests have the opportunity to cash in a few chips at Diamond Tooth Gerties, hear poetry readings at the home of Robert Service, marvel at the log cabin where Jack London spent his Klondike winter.

Day 7 – Dawson & Homeward Bound

For millennia, Dawson was used by the Han-speaking people of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in as a small fishing camp – until everything changed when gold was discovered in 1896. Drive or hike over the ‘Dome’ and tour the gold fields, try your hand at gold panning on the world famous Bonanza Creek and learn how large-scale mining was done 50 years ago with a visit to Dredge #4.

Your journey of discovery with us winds down as you travel homeward along the Klondike Highway. When this road was built it ended the era of romantic and adventurous travel by paddle wheelers along the river you have so recently experienced. Travel back to Whitehorse via the route of the “modern world”, stop at a twisted log cabin for an old fashioned homemade lunch, often cooked on a working wood cook stove. Watch the flocks of birds as they make their way through the geologically unique Tintina Trench and see Five-Finger Rapids from a different perspective.

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