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

A rare chance to experience the pristine natural beauty of the Yukon from horseback. 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 trip 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 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 riders will on this trip. They hunted caribou, moose and mountain sheep in spring and fall, and spent summers fishing for salmon.

A trickle of prospectors turned into a flood when rumours of gold provoked the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800's. People from all over the world braved the exceptionally hard winters in the hope of making their fortune. Few got rich, and it is estimated that the money spent getting there exceeded the value of gold found during the rush.

Now sparsely populated 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 pack trip for adventurous riders.

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 AD of Walzbachtal on 08/10/2022

Ride Summary
A great experience.
Warm people.
Well trained horses.
Real expedition experience.
We were only two guests so the tour was very exclusive and in my opinion a stroke of luck.
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Very professional. Know the area very well. You feel safe and cared for.
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
I got the horse "Yukon". A great horse. Bitless ridden. Very well and fine trained horse.
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
Since the winter was unusually long this year and it was the first tour of the year, the tour schedule had to be changed. We couldn't ride as far as planned. But it was a unique experience to ride between snow patches and to see the landscape in a still winterly look.
The hosts were very attentive and took good care of us and offered us a lot of alternative programs.
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?
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?
6
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
The horses are well trained and safe in the field.
It's not difficult to ride, but you should feel safe off-road riding.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
Please give more details to explain your response:
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
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 and Veronique, the hosts for the trip, will be there to meet guests and drive them to the ranch and experience the midnight sun in the Yukon. 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 with a quick briefing before setting up the equipment. Time for the first exploratory ride! (1H), afterwhich a drive down to Whitehorse to discover stories and culture of the town old days, the Gold Rush. Time when the city was a center for many travelling pioneers doing the long trip 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 before a good night rest. (1 hour riding)
Lodging: Wood cabins (2 to 4 per by 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; demonstration of the packing technique. Once all are in the saddle, the group heads out to the Bonneville area. 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, grizzlys, 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 Mud Lake. Back on the trail, looking for wolfs dens as riders make their way to Rose Creek for to set 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
Up in the saddle for another day of discovery, will pass from alpine forest to alpine meadows where on the south east rise the mighty coastal mountains. The land is pocketed with lakes created by beaver dams. Our destination a pristine untouched lake at the foothill of the coastal mountains, a good spot for the observation of the rich wildlife. Once to the camp swimming if the temperature is good, fishing at leisure in a magnificent scenery, a hearty meal and an evening around the fire. (5 hours riding)
Lodging: tent or under a tree.

Day 7: Break and Float Plane Flight
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: Rose Lake - Big Ben
Head down the trail toward Big Ben (Big Bear). A trapper cabin still in use in winter in the open season. It’s a strategic location for trapping wolf, lynx and beaver. The trail will pass from wide open meadows to go up on a ridge of alpine forest overlooking the Watson River. Dinner in the cabin, where Pierre will explain the Yukon trapping tradition and techniques.
Lodging: tent or under a tree.

Day 9: Big Ben - Watson Trail
After a good rest in the trapper cabin and breakfast, head off to the old Watson Trail following through the open forests. Today is a great day for moose spotting. Saddle up once again and ride for another 20kms to te campsite for the night in an open forest in the wilderness along the Watson River. After diner, roast marshmallow over the campfire as the sun sets for the night. (4 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent or under a tree.

Day 10: Watson Trail - Alligator Lake
Long climb to the alpine meadows. Riders might have to lead the horses by foot for about 1 hour. Panoramic view towards the Alaskan glaciers. Coss a large plateau, home of caribous, before descending to the glacial valley and the sandy banks of Alligator Lake (so called because of its shape rather than its inhabitants!). Set up camp for the night. (6 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent on the shore of the river.

Day 11: Alligator Lake - Upper Fish Lake
Head into wide-open spaces today as riders follow a trail for 40kms to a high plateau, another great spot to see wildlife and the nicest camp to see the sunset from. Pass by a beaver dams and small rivers until reaching a vantage point where with views of the mountains around, and at the end of the day, a spectacular view of Fish lake and the route to camp. Gather firewood and set up the tents for last evening in the wilderness around the campfire. (8 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent or under a tree.

Day 12: Upper Fish Lake - Ranch
The last ride leaves from the far end of Fish lake and heads toward home travelling through open ground before entering in the forest that follows the lake. Today is a short day and the last chance to appreciate the wilderness and slowly reintegrate into civilisation. After saying goodbye to the horses, drive into town to freshen up and enjoy a good meal at the restaurant, and back to the ranch and the last evening to celebrate this special experience over a drink with fellow riders.
Lodging: Wood cabins (2 to 4 per cabins).

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.

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.


Rider requirements

Riders should be confident in all paces 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 activites are completed with a sense of comaradarie 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.

Three nights are spent in a log cabin, the remainder of the trip is under canvas. Breakfast usually consists of orange juice, eggs, sausage or bacon, porridge, pancakes, tea and coffee. Lunch is 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, dessert .


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

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).

Film and Camera Equipment

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

2023: 28 May (FULL); 18 Jun; 9 (FULL), 29 (FULL) Jul; 16 Aug (FULL); 2 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 £
202313d/12n10double pp2,809
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
202313d/12n10double pp3,165
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
202313d/12n10double pp3,559
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
202313d/12n10double pp35,615
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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