The following is a tentative itinerary and has been designed with much thought to capitalize on the most scenic and exciting parts of the river, while making time on other sections. Your guides will adjust the schedule to make the best use of river and weather conditions.
Trip length: 11 river days
Breakfast = B | Lunch = L | Dinner = D
Day 0 WHITEHORSE, YUKON
This is the first day listed for your trip.
Your journey north from your home will be a refreshing departure. You will fly over the largest expanse of wilderness in the world with stunning views on cloudless days, pass through quieter and friendlier airports, meet friendlier and less harried service personnel and generally begin to immerse yourself in the wilderness experience that is about to unfold.
The scheduled flights arrive in Whitehorse throughout the day. Aim to arrive by 6 p.m. Please make your way to your hotel and plan to rendezvous with your guides in the lobby of the High Country Inn at 8 pm for an orientation meeting. There will be a chance for last minute questions concerning clothing, gear, packing and other details. Whitehorse is a great place to spend a few extra days. We will send you a visitor’s booklet. The historic sites are interesting and there are local day hikes, bike, canoe rentals, dog mushing kennels to visit as well as a National Historic Site and several museums. Renting a car for a day trip through the White Pass to Skagway Alaska is a popular outing.
Day 1 (L/D) KLUANE NATIONAL PARK
We will meet in the hotel lobby at 8 a.m. Following breakfast (not covered) and will embark on the Alaska Highway. Along the way we will visit Kwaday Dan Kenji (translated: Long Ago Peoples Place). Here we will meet First Nation elders and see examples of native shelters and traditional living skills used by First Nations people in the region for 10,000 years. Further on we will visit the Kluane National Park Interpretive Centre. We then head south into the Kluane Game Sanctuary. The next leg of our journey will take us through the stunning scenery of the Haines Pass. Our objective is the US Customs Post at Pleasant Camp where we clear US Customs before the trip. You may be tempted to have an afternoon nap during the drive, but the scenery will keep you riveted! Later in the afternoon we arrive at Dalton Post, now known as Shäwshe reflecting its heritage with the Champagne Aishihik First Nations. Following a safety orientation we will load the rafts and push off. At this point the Tatshenshini is a narrow stream. Watched by Bald Eages we will travel a short distance before reaching the evening camp.
Day 2 (B/L/D) CANYON WHITEWATER
Alsek watershed is the heartland of the largest protected wilderness area on the continent. In camp we will relax and dry out after an exciting day in the rapids.
Day 3 (B/L/D) BALD EAGLES
Today, in contrast to the swift rapids we have descended, the river meanders quietly but surely through the broad valley dotted with oxbow lakes. This region is home to moose, beaver, bald eagles, osprey and many species of waterfowl. Throughout the day the many tributaries of the Tatshenshini cause it to swell until it has doubled in volume from our previous campsite. Here we are treated to our first view of the dramatic Alsek Range.
Day 4 (B/L/D) RIDGES & MOUNTAIN GOATS
Weather permitting, this is a hiking day. We will spend the time exploring the local area. A hike up to an open ridge offers everyone the chance to overlook the river and surrounding area. A short distance along this ridge offers an alpine meadow hosting an endless variety of wild flowers. Those who are more adventurous can continue to climb another 1000 metres to the top for a spectacular view of some of the glaciers of the Alsek Range. This area is known as Goat Ridge and often, if we are lucky, we glimpse mountain goats feeding on the open tundra of the high plateau.
Day 5 & 6 (B/L/D) ST. ELIAS RANGE
We float past the Carmine peaks and the O’Connor River with great views of the far off St. Elias Range. Here we see signs of recent glacial action as the river picks up speed and becomes very braided. Moose, mountain goats, grizzly bears and bald eagles often frequent the wide gravel river banks.
Day 7 (B/L/D) GLACIERS ABOUND
Today we begin to see the many glaciers of the area. From our camp at Melt Creek, near the confluence of the Alsek River, we can count 27 different glaciers. Glorious views can be seen in all directions
Day 8 (B/L/D) CONFLUENCE OF GREAT RIVERS
Now, as we speed along with the current, the voluminous Alsek River joins us from the north. So large is the confluence that it is difficult to know exactly where our route lies. The Noisy Range overlooks the confluence where the Tatshenshini disappears in the shadow of the looming Pentice Ice Caps. The surrounding peaks become higher and increasingly majestic, robed in glaciers. We stop at the base of Walker Glacier and its huge moraines. The hike onto the dramatic surface of the glacier is unforgettable. During the night you may hear ice falls – huge blocks roaring down from the heights where they have broken free.
Day 9 (B/L/D) ALSEK LAKE & BERGS
Back on the river we will pass the Novatak Glacier, nearly six miles wide where it sprawls towards the river.
As Mount Fairweather (15,300′) appears around the bend, dwarfing the surrounding 7,000′ peaks, a narrow sliver of a peninsula separates the river from Alsek Lake. Here the Alsek and Grand Plateau Glaciers occupy several miles of shore line where they “calve” huge slabs of ice into the lake issuing a thundering roar. The iceberg-studded lake is an enchanting place to camp.
Day 10 (B/L/D) GRAND PLATEAU GLACIER
On our lay-over day, we will relax and enjoy a hike to overlook the bergs on the lake.
Day 11 (B/L) DRY BAY, GULF OF ALASKA & FLIGHT BACK TO WHITEHORSE
The Alsek now passes through a transition from the tallest peaks on the continent to the broad flat Pacific coastline. In this valley we have a vertical distance of over 15,000’ between us and the highest peaks, an overall elevation difference greater than that of the Himalayas.
Back on the river we pull into shore at the tiny fishing community of Dry Bay where our plane will rendezvous with us in the afternoon. The location is home to a small group of seasonal fishermen. The sound of the local power generator The only access is by air or boat.
In all but the worst weather, the bush plane will pick us up and fly us back through the Coast and St. Elias ranges to Whitehorse. Following showers, the group may want to gather at a local eating establishment (not included). Whitehorse is a lively town and it will not be difficult to find a way to enjoy the evening!
Day 12 HOMEWARD BOUND
After goodbyes and a last look around Whitehorse, we will head for home
with a cargo of fond and spectacular memories. (We recommend you consider another day in Whitehorse in case of a rain delay from Dry Bay).
The Tatshenshini River in Yukon, British Columbia & Alaska
Glaciers, Grizzlies and Bald Eagles - Wildest River in North America
Part of the world’s largest bio-preserve, the Tatshenshini flows through the Yukon, B.C., Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park, Alsek/Tatshenshini Provincial Park, out to the Gulf of Alaska.
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‘After 11 days in the care of Canadian River Expeditions it became obvious to me that Neil’s primary purpose was to give his customers the best possible service and experience on the Tatshenshini. Everything was well organized, of quality, and nothing was skimped on for the purposes of profit. That is a rare experience these days! – Marco I. Vancouver, BC
What can I say? This trip was everything I hoped it would be. Great scenery, great guides – it was wonderful not to hear a cell phone or car alarm for 12 days. I want to quit my job, sell my possessions and move to the Yukon to work as a river guide for CRE. – Anne C. Vancouver, BC
The guides were excellent. Not only did they see to all the travel details, but they were very knowledgeable about the area & answered lots of questions. Safety was a very high priority.
Farley L. Hyannistort, MA
If you suffer from scenery fatigue, this trip will be a real killer!
Gus B. Cochrane, AB
The knowledge, skill and attitude of our guides were superior. Their expertise with all aspect of tripping made it look easy, fun and spontaneous, but we know they were part of a well-oiled machine. Well done to NRA.
Lewis W. Whitby, On
I’ve tripped on my own, I’ve lead canoe trips for the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and I’ve gone with a number of professional organizations. NRA is tops of the top, and it’s your guides that make the difference. Keep it up!!! I’ll be back!
Marilyn F. Toronto, On
Second trip in two years that I had great weather, guides, food and with very few bugs.
Gordon M. Toronto, On
This was my “coming of age” ceremony. I certainly did much to ensure I entered 65+ with an adventurous attitude.
Margy G. HalfmoonBay, BC
The Tathsenshini trip was one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken. The scenery was spectacular. My soul was rejuvenated. The guides were fantastic and the food & equipment is great. I’ll definitely travel with NRA again.
Elizabeth B. Toronto, On
The Tatshenshini’s Walker Glacier and Alsek Lake are as impressive as the Nahanni’s Virginia Falls and Fourth Canyon. Combined with NRA’s high safety standards, this means an unforgettable trip, complementary to the Nahanni. If whitewater is your game, you will enjoy the Tat…right until the last day.
Claude P. Ottawa, On
Your trips offer the best way to have a great time in nature and learn a lot about wildlife, geology, plants etc…I will definitely come back someday.
Peter L. Germany