Trekking along
autumn ride after shower
Descent down trail in autumn
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
Evening light at campsite
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 from horseback the pristine natural beauty of the Yukon, the westernmost of Canada's territories that borders Alaska. A wonderful location for a horse riding holiday, 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 trip we head far into the wilderness, bringing all supplies on packhorses with only one resupply by float plane half way through the trip. This enables us to explore deep into the wilderness, a world away from the usual day trips away from Whitehorse. Your guide, Pierre Fournier, has a lifetime of experience in this wilderness and guides us 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 you 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 the Telegraph Travel Magazine Article on this trip. *

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 JG of Walferdange on 28/08/2022

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
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?
We did not need mosquito nets in August but might be worth double checking whether those could be helpful in June/July (and if so added to the list).
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
5
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
The ride is in walk but over some rough terrain at times (mud, steep slopes). The horses do excellent job but good balance in the saddle certainly helps.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
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, your hosts for the trip, will be there to meet you and drive you to the ranch. This will be your first experience of 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, you will be introduced to your own horse corresponding to your level and personality. Introduction to western saddles, packing gears, boxes, hobbles, saddle bags with a quick briefing and we’ll take time to set up the equipment. Time for our first exploratory ride! (1H). After we’re driving 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 of 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 nice barbecue and a nice 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
The departure morning, is always full of movements, all the gears have to be set up on the pack horses, luggage are weight and distributed equally in the box and pack saddle; demonstration of the packing technique. Once we’re all in the saddle, we’re heading out to the Bonneville area. After a little hike up we’ll join a high plateau with a beautiful scenic view on Fish Lake and the mountain surrounding us. That will be you first experience of the wild open space that offer Yukon wilderness. Tonight will make camp near a lake, where everyone set up their own tent. A nice diner is cook on the campfire, relaxation near the fire, care of the horses. (4 hours riding)

Day 4: Bonneville - Ibex Lake
After breakfast and packing up camp you’ll 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 you take depends on the weather, either on the lake shores surrounded by pine forest or the 1800m high Marmot pass where opportunity to encounter Dall sheep or perhaps a grizzly or a wolf. Today you 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 you above the tree line, prime viewing position for wildlife, towards Mud Lake - an ancient lake molded by the glaciers. Finding some good grazing for the horses you will stop for lunch and a nap on the shores of Mud Lake. Back on the trail, looking for wolfs dens as you make your way to Rose Creek for your overnight stop. 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 full day rest well deserved, it’s time to enjoy all the opportunity that offer Rose Lake, swimming, fishing, some hiking in the mountain around or just enjoy a good book around camp. You’ll have the opportunity to see the float plane that join us in the day to bring some fresh food always appreciated.
Lodging: tent or under a tree.

Day 8: Rose Lake - Big Ben
We 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. Diner 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, you will head off to the old Watson Trail that takes you mainly through the open forests. Today is a great day for moose spotting. You saddle up once again and ride for another 20kms to your campsite for the night in an open forest in the wilderness along the Watson River. After diner, roasting marshmallow over the camping as the sun set for the night. (4 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent or under a tree.

Day 10: Watson Trail - Alligator Lake
Long ascending to the alpine meadows. You might have to lead the horse by foot for maximum 1 hour. Panoramic view towards the Alaskan glaciers. You cross a large plateau, home of many caribous, and then descent to the glacial valley, to the sandy banks of Alligator Lake (so called because of its shape rather than its inhabitants!) where you will set up camp for the night. (6 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent on the shore of the river.

Day 11: Alligator Lake - Upper Fish Lake
The land opens up into generous open spaces today, you trail for 40kms to high plateau, another great spot to see wildlife and the nicest camp to see the sunset. As you go you’ll pass by a beaver dams and some little rivers until you get to a high point where you see the mountain around and at the end of the day an upper view on Fish lake you’ll follow until you meet the camp. Last time gathering some firewood, setting tent before coming back to civilisation, last evening in the wilderness around the campfire. (8 hours riding)
Lodging: Tent or under a tree.

Day 12: Upper Fish Lake - Ranch
Today is going to be our last ride day, leaving from the far end of Fish lake will head toward home travelling through open ground and enter in the forest that follows the lake. Today is a short day last look at the wilderness to slowly reintegrate civilisation. At the end of the day will drive in town for a good shower and a good meal at the restaurant, then back for a last night at the ranch to share good drinks and a good bye.
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 canvass. 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. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request. General information: All travellers are required to provide details online 72 hours prior to travel.

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.)

Citizens of a few countries may also need a:
• medical exam and
• letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.

For further information please visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp

The Canadian High Commission in the U.K is at Macdonald House, 1 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 4AB. Telephone: (020) 7258 6600. Email: ldn@dfait-maeci.gc.ca.

The British Consulate in Canada is at 80 Elgin Street, Ottawa, K1P 5K7. Telephone: + (1) (613) 237 1530. Email: generalenquiries@BritaininCanada.org.

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

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. Check with your doctor for details but apart from general precautions against tick bites no prophylaxis is usually required.

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org and the Deprtment of Health also gives medical advice on their web site at www.dh.gov.uk

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

The voltage is 110-120V, 60Hz in Canada as in the USA and you will need a flat blade plug and possibly an adaptor depending on the appliance.

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

2022: 2 (FULL), 22 (FULL) Jul; 9 (FULL), 28 (FULL) Aug.
2023: 28 May; 18 Jun; 9, 29 (FULL) Jul; 16 Aug; 2 Sept.

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 £
202213d/12n10double pp3,075
202313d/12n10double pp3,125
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
202213d/12n10double pp3,435
202313d/12n10double pp3,489
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
202213d/12n10double pp3,445
202313d/12n10double pp3,499
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
202213d/12n10double pp37,589
202313d/12n10double pp38,199
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 ten minute drive to the ranch.
Flight Guide:
From London to Whitehorse International Airport (via Calgary or Vancover) from £800.00. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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