Evening light at campsite
Trekking along
Descent down trail in autumn
Rider viewing caribou
Bright morning start
View to lake
Riding in Yukon Territory
Leading the pack horse
Descent into valley floor
Endless landscapes
Relaxing on arrival
Ready to go
Campsite beside the lake in the evening
Evening camp with fire
Roasting marshmallows
Evening dinner in cabin
Cabin
Moose at lake edge
Moose swimming in lake
Bear claw marks on a tree
Rsupply float plane
morning view from campsite

This horseback riding vacation is a rare chance to experience the pristine natural beauty of the Yukon from the back of a trusty horse. The Yukon, or "Great River" in the old language, is supplied by the great lakes that characterise the landscape along with the ancient glacial valleys, volcanoes, alpine meadows, forests and tundra.

On this 14-day horseback adventure, riders head far off the beaten track, taking all supplies on packhorses with only one resupply by float plane half way through the trip. This enables horseback riders to explore deep into the wilderness, a world away from the usual day trips away from Whitehorse. Guide, Pierre Fournier, has a lifetime of experience in this wilderness and will lead the group to some of the most scenic spots, navigating the rough terrain and wildlife with ease.

Over 10,000 years ago this was the first of Canada's territories to be settled by the ancient peoples crossing the Bering Strait from Siberia on a land bridge. It is believed that these first people lived in small groups and followed a regular cycle of seasonal activities, following the patterns of the land, as the horseback riders will on this trip. They hunted caribou, moose and mountain sheep in spring and fall, and spent summers fishing for salmon.

Once a booming gold-rush area, it is now sparsely populated, and the vast Yukon abounds with snow-melt lakes and perennially snow-capped mountains and even today, when the world can seem so small, getting here is part of the adventure. Following paths forged by animals over thousands of years, where traces of the gold miners and hunters can still be glimpsed, this is an epic horseback riding pack trip for adventurous equine explorers.

Read Louise Carpenter's account of this trip in the Telegraph Travel magazine.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from JC of Durham on 04/08/2023

Ride Summary
Very remote with amazing landscapes and horses. Somehow both peaceful and adventurous.
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
It was a wonderful to visit this area with Pierre who has spent so long exploring here.
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
The horses were fully at home on the terrain, when ridden and loose at night. It was interesting to see their lifestyle. Pierre and Camille did the saddling/unsaddling to be sure everything was OK. The riders were involved with the rest of the care.
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
3
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
The pace was all walking, but the terrain was rough with steep, boggy and wading sections. There was a long lunch break on the full-days riding, and the rest day halfway. We had generally very good weather in late June-July. Pierre made changes for our comfort and safety.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
You have well researched rides in great locations, that are honestly described.
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Thank you for handling the ever-changing flights.
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Day 1 
Whitehorse International Airport - Ranch: Flights into Whitehorse International generally arrive in the evening. Pierre, the host for the trip, will be there to meet guests and drive them to the ranch.  Experience the midnight sun in the Yukon with stay in overnight in log cabins heated by a wood burning stove.
Lodging: Wood cabins (2 to 4 per by cabin)

Day 2
Ranch - Whitehorse: After a relaxing breakfast and a briefing from Pierre for the week ahead, riders will be introduced to their horses - corresponding to riding level and personality. Introduction to western saddles, packing gears, boxes, hobbles, saddle bags and a quick briefing before setting up the equipment. Time for the first exploratory ride (1H), followed by a drive down to Whitehorse to discover stories and culture of the town old days, the Gold Rush. There was a time when the City was the center for many travelling pioneers on their way to the gold mines of Dawson City. Visit the 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 barbecue and evening around the fire. (1 hour riding)
Lodging: Wood cabins (2 to 4 per cabin) 

Day 3 
Ranch - Bonneville Lakes: A busy morning with the gear being set up on the pack horses. The luggage is weight distributed equally in the box and pack saddle. This will be demonstrated. The group heads out to the Bonneville area and after a little hike, the route joins a high plateau with a scenic view of Fish Lake and the surrounding mountains. This gives riders their first experience of the wild open space of the Yukon wilderness. Tonight's camp is near a lake, where everyone sets up their own tents. A campfire cookout, settle the horses for the night before relaxing for the night (4 hours riding)

Day 4:
Bonneville - Ibex Lake: After breakfast and packing up camp, head towards Ibex Lake and enter the foothills of the mountainous region of the Yukon where snow still lingers on the high peaks. Which pass the route follows depends on the weather.  Either on the lake shores surrounded by pine forest or the 1800m high Marmot pass where there is opportunity to encounter Dall sheep, grizzly bears, or wolf. Today will cover around 40kms before reaching Ibex Lake and setting up camp. (6 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent or under a tree.

Day 5
Lake Ibex - Rose Creek: The morning ride takes the group above the tree line, prime viewing position for wildlife, towards Mud Lake (an ancient lake molded by the glaciers). After finding some good grazing for the horses, stop for lunch and relax on the shores of the lake. Back on the trail, looking for wolf dens as riders make their way to Rose Creek to set up camp. Evening around the camp fire overlooking the large pristine valley. (6-7 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent or under a tree.

Day 6 
Rose Creek - Rose Lake: Saddle up for another day of discovery from alpine forest to alpine meadows where the coastal mountains rise. The land is pocketed with lakes created by beaver dams. Our destination is a pristine, untouched lake at the foothill of the coastal mountains, a good spot for wildlife viewing. Swim at the camp (if the temperature allows), fishing at leisure in magnificent scenery, ending with a tasty meal and an evening around the fire. (5 hours riding)
Lodging: tent or under a tree.

Day 7 
Rest day to enjoy Rose Lake: Today is a well deserved rest day and time to enjoy all the opportunities that Rose Lake offers; swimming, fishing, hiking in the mountain, or just enjoying a good book at camp. The float plane will arrive during the day to stock us up with fresh provisions.  
Lodging: tent or under a tree.

Day 8 
Explore the Shore of Rose Lake: Today we explore the shores of Rose Lake without the pack horses, which allows more freedom. Ride along the shores of the lake, in the water, and though the forest.  There is lots of wildlife around especially moose, dall sheep, and grizzly bears.  After riding, head back to camp for an evening around the campfire as the sun sets for the night. (6 hours riding)
Lodging: tent or under a tree.

Day 9 
Expedition Canoe: After breakfast it is trapper time!  Head out in canoes to explore this amazing scenery and catch the evening meal. After a short period of paddling, head towards a beautiful bay to explore some wildlife and a spot of fishing. Back at the camp the guide will demonstrate how to fillet a fish, and explain the trapping traditions and techniques in this strategic location for trapping wolf, lynx, wolverine, beaver and otter.  Back at the camp finish the afternoon tending to the horses before settling down for a freshly caught meal.
Lodging: Tent or under a tree.

Day 10:
Rose Lake - Mud Lake: Long climb through the alpine meadows. Riders might have to lead the horses by foot for about 1 hour. There are panoramic view towards the Alaskan glaciers. Cross a large plateau, home of caribous, before descending to the glacial valley and the sandy banks of Mud Lake. Set up camp for the night. (6-7 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent on the shore of the river or under the stars.

Day 11 
Mud Lake - Bonneville: Head into wide open spaces today along a 35km trail to a high plateau. This is another prime spot to see wildlife and is the nicest camp to watch the sunset. Pass by beaver dams and small rivers until reaching a vantage point with surrounding mountain views. At the end of the day riders are met with a spectacular view of Fish Lake while en route to camp. Gather firewood and set up the tents for last evening in the wilderness around the campfire. (7 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent or under a tree. 

Day 12 
Bonneville - Ranch: The last ride leaves the alpine plateau heading down towards home traveling through open ground before entering the forest next to the lake. Today is a short day, and the last chance to appreciate the wilderness and slowly reintegrate into civilization. After saying goodbye to the horses, drive into town to freshen up and enjoy a final meal at the restaurant before heading back to the ranch to celebrate this special experience over a drink with fellow riders. (3 hours riding)
Lodging: Wood cabins (2 to 4 per cabin).

Day 13
Ranch - Whitehorse International Airport: Departure after breakfast. There may be an option to fly by float plane over the route you have covered in the past week, this is highly recommended if your international flight departure time permits.

On the last day of the expedition, those who are interested can take a guided flight overlooking camps and trails you have ridden during the week.  Those who have been on the little float plane have said the views were amazing and described it as one of the highlights of the trip!  Payable on site and costs between 250-300CA$ depending on the number of guests wanting to participate.   

If this is something you are interested in experiencing, make sure you have booked a late afternoon or evening flight home.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The horses used are hardy trail horses that live outside for most of the year. There is a real mixture of sizes and personalities, all are selected for their toughness and durability. They wear western tack and are mainly quarter horse mix with draft horse, draft horses or Arabian. 


Rider requirements

Riders should be confident and capable of spending up to eight hours in the saddle per day. A good level of fitness and a sense of adventure is desirable to cope with the physical demands of the trip. Great technical riding skills are not as important as the aforementioned attributes.

You will be expected to help out on the expedition. Setting up camp, preparing dinner, gathering firewood as well as making sure your horse is well groomed and looked after. Help is at hand for those not familiar with these tasks and all activities are completed with a sense of camaraderie and good humour.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Lodge

Three nights are spent in log cabins, there is no mains electricity but they are heated by wood stoves and there are solar panels and a generator that provide the opportunity to recharge phones etc. Internet acces is limited.  Hot showers are taken in town at a more comfortable location.



Camping

Five nights camping under canvas and four nights at Rose lake camp which has walled tents. Rose Lake Camp also offers and off grid shower, available near the lake.  All camping equipment, apart from sleeping bags and mats, is provided.



Meals

Breakfast usually consists of orange juice, eggs, sausage or bacon, porridge, pancakes, tea and coffee.

Lunch includes cold meat, cheese, bread, cereal bars, dry fruits.

Dinner is usually soup, pork, chicken, red meat or fish on barbecue, pasta, rice or potatoes, vegetables and of course, dessert .


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling. Dependent on your country, Passport and Visa requirements can change from regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. To visit Canada, you will need to meet some basic requirements, such as: • Have a valid travel document, such as a passport • Be in good health • Have no criminal or immigration-related convictions • Convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country. • Convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives). Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/canada In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Canada.html


Climate Summary

The Yukon weather and climate are derived from high latitude, mountainous terrain, very short winter days, and very long summer days. Summers, though short, are pleasantly warm.

The long days and high sun result in July daily average temperatures of 14.1C in Whitehorse. Oddly, it's warmer north than south!

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

The cost of medical treatment can be very expensive in Canada. For emergency health care you can go to a hospital’s emergency room or to a large number of walk-in clinics where an appointment is not required beforehand.

Giardiasis is present so do not drink water from streams. Tap water is safe to drink.

Rabies is endemic in Canada, do not approach stray dogs.

Lyme disease can be a risk in wooded regions; it is a rare tick borne disease.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Canada and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Health (ride specific)

This is a wilderness trip in a remote area from which evacuation can take some time. It is not recommended for anyone whose health is compromised in any life-threatening way. There is no electricity anywhere en route, so medication that must be kept chilled or frozen poses a problem.

Electricity

In Canada the supply voltage is 120V. If the appliance or its power supply are not dual voltage rated, the single voltage appliance will have to be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly (unless the appliance operates at 120V).

Mobile, WiFi and charging

Please note that there is no access to electricity or anywhere to buy film on the expedition. You will need to ensure that you have disposable batteries, a supply of charged camera batteries for the duration or a solar charger.

Items can be purchased in Whitehorse the day before you set off on the trail.

Packing List

Pack the same clothes as you would for an outdoor camping trip, we recommend you include:
• Sleeping mat
• Sleeping bag (temperature rating between -5 to -10 C)
• Strong rain gear (up and bottom)
• Boots (riding or hiking boots as there some mud and waterproof even rain boots are the best Yukon cowboy boots)
• Another pair of comfortable shoe or slipper for the camp
• Riding helmet, (mandatory), hat for the sun
• Warm hat
• Light neck warmer (warm one for August and September)
• Riding gloves and warm gloves
• Warm clothes (2x wool sweater or technical fleece or small down jacket)
• Technical under layer (2x top and bottom)
• 2 pair of pants
• T shirt
• Sunglasses
• Pocket knife
• Water bottle
• Thermos cup
• Swimming suit and a small compact towel
• Personal pharmacy kit as we carry a complete first aid kit
• Wet ones, dry shampoo
• Camera with extra batteries for the trails
• Book to read
• Always nice to bring some of your favorites goodies to eat while on the horse.

Your personal gears are all going to be transported by pack horses. A soft waterproof 60/80 liter bag is provided for each guest for your personal luggage and a saddle bag. A limit of 15kg luggage/per is generally ask.

Programmes

There are set departures for this trip between the beginning of June and half September - 13 day / 12 night. Private dates can be tailored for groups of 4 or more.

Departure Dates

2024: 2 (FULL), 22(FULL) Jun; 13 (FULL) Jul ; 3 (FULL), 22 (FULL) Aug; 10 Sept (FULL).

Pricing
No single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share with someone of the same sex.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
202413d/12n9double pp2,975
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
202413d/12n9double pp3,525
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
202413d/12n9double pp3,965
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
202413d/12n9double pp40,405
Other Activities

Outdoor pursuits such as fishing, hiking, swimming, wildlife spotting, reading and sleeping. What life is all about!

Wildlife

Mammals such as caribou, moose, beaver, wolves, bears, dall sheep.
Birds such as eagle, hawk, whysky jack, trumpeter swan, and the loon.

Other Country Information

People migrating from Asia crossing the Bering Strait first settled the North American continent. They formed a number of tribes that can be distinguished by language: the Algonquian in the eastern sub-arctic and maritime areas spreading into the prairies and plains of the mid-west; the Iriquioian speaking tribes mostly in the St Lawrence Valley and around Lakes Ontario and Erie; the Salishan, Athabascan and other linguistic groups lived along the rivers and coastline of British Columbia. Small, isolated Inuit bands developed a unique culture in the harsh environment of the Arctic.

John Cabot, a Venetian working in the service of the English sailed to Newfoundland in 1497. This and later explorations formed the basis of the English claim to Canada. The Frenchman Jacques Cartier undertook a series of explorations, mainly along the route of the St Lawrence River during the 1530s and 1540s and he claimed the land for France.

It's the edginess between Canada's indigenous, French and British traditions that gives the nation its complex three-dimensional character. Add to this a constant infusion of US culture and a plethora of traditions brought by migrants, and you have a thriving multicultural society.

Canada is between 3.5 and 8 hours behind GMT depending on where you are in the country. They use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.

The international dialling code is +1.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Whitehorse International Airport, Yukon (YXY)
Transfer:
Included from meeting point. It is a 20min drive to the ranch.
Flight Guide:
From London to Whitehorse International Airport (via Calgary or Vancover) from approx £800.00pp ret. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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