- Transfers: return airport transfers* and fully-guided ground transportation throughout
- Accommodation: 5 nights’ standard twin/double room accommodation in Whitehorse, 2 nights’ standard twin/double room accommodation in Dawson City
- Meals: 2 lunches
- Activities: Yukon Quest race start, Takhini River viewpoint, Yukon Wildlife Preserve visit, two full-day dog sledding tours, Dawson City sightseeing tour, Dawson City checkpoint (the order of activities is subject to change)
- Services of our expert local guides
- Winter clothing for the duration of the holiday
Please note that flights are not included, however, they can be arranged. Please contact our Travel Experts for a quotation
*Flights must arrive and depart between 8 am-8 pm, otherwise, you will use the hotel’s free airport shuttle service
This trip has been carefully designed to highlight the best of the Yukon, following the famous Yukon Quest dog sledding race as part of a fully-guided, small group tour. Stopping at some of the most interesting places in the province along the way, you’ll also get to enjoy two days of dog sledding in the Canadian wilderness; embracing the true spirit of the race.
The Yukon Quest is regarded as the toughest dog sledding race on earth and sees up to 50 teams of mushers and sled dogs competing across a race track that spans 1,000 miles from Whitehorse, Yukon through to Fairbanks, in Alaska. Travelling along some of the most remote and untamed wilderness in North America, some mushers aim to complete it within 10 days; the words ‘endurance race’ certainly have a different meaning here!
The race was created in 1984 and the route follows parts of the fascinating Klondike Gold Rush trail from the late 1800s, as well as traditional routes used by early explorers and adventurers. Crossing frozen rivers and mountain summits, the trail has nine checkpoints along the way, some of which are separated by more than 200 miles.
Fear not, however, as our trip has been expertly crafted to offer you the best of the Yukon Quest, without the perils of a 19th Century expedition, but packed with just as much adventure!Read more
You’ll begin your tour in Whitehorse, watching the official start of the Yukon Quest, as the mushers and dogs gear up and thunder off in a cloud of frost and snow, chasing the title of champion. From here, you’ll be guided further north in a warm and comfortable minibus, stopping at a viewpoint along the way to cheer the teams on and feel the buzz and excitement of the race against the clock. You’ll also make a stop at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, where you can see some of the local wildlife, such as moose, caribou (reindeer), musk-ox and elk.
Before heading north to Dawson City, which is the mid-way resting point for the race, you can try your own hand at dog sledding, with two full days out on the trails, achieving your own sense of glory and accomplishment. There’s something incredibly special about having the opportunity to experience dog sledding in the Yukon, home of the mightiest race on earth, in a place where dog sledding has been a part of native First Nations’ lives for hundreds of years.
No trip to the Yukon would be complete without visiting Dawson City, and so it is here that you’ll wait for the teams to come into the checkpoint for their mandatory layover. With plenty of time to explore this small town, you’ll learn about the history of the area and the fame and fortune that was found during the gold rush. It’s like stepping back in time to an age of wooden boardwalks, swinging saloon doors and dancing cabaret acts…you can almost hear the clink of glasses and the shouts of the miners striking it rich!
By the end of your week here, you’ll come away with amazing memories of adventure and discovery, coupled with some fantastic tales to tell your friends and family when you return.
Image credits: Arctic Range Adventure Ltd
Arrival, Transfer and Welcome
After landing at Whitehorse Airport, you will be picked up and transferred* to your nearby, downtown hotel.
Whitehorse sits proudly on the banks of the Yukon River and is surrounded by rolling hills, covered in woodland and painted white with snow.
There is a wide range of cafés and restaurants in town and your hotel is only a few minutes’ walk away from the centre. Take a stroll along the streets and let the cool, refreshing air grip you as you venture through this former frontier-town.
One of our favourite places for a proper northern meal is Klondike Rib and Salmon, which is in one of Whitehorse’s oldest buildings. It’s small inside, but as the locals will tell you, it’s definitely worth the wait. Wild game, smoked meats, local fish and homemade bread are just some of the tasty dishes on the menu – we thoroughly recommend the elk carpaccio to get you into the Yukon spirit!
Depending on your arrival time, you will collect your winter clothes tonight, or tomorrow morning.
*Flights must arrive between the hours of 8am-8pm to be eligible for the group transfer, otherwise, you will need to use the hotel’s free shuttle service.Included Meals: None
Yukon Quest Race Start, Takhini River Viewpoint, Yukon Wildlife Preserve Visit
Imagine a snow-covered street in a small Canadian town and I’m sure you can conjure up images of winter life here in Whitehorse. Now, add to that a huge number of huskies, lots of mushers and plenty of fans, and the start line of the Yukon Quest becomes one of the most exciting winter scenes you’re likely to witness.
The dogs are being prepped and harnessed, the sleds are being packed with supplies and the mushers are giving one last check over to their team of dogs, prior to heading out for the adventure which lies ahead.
The dogs will be barking, deafening the crowd with their excitement, but just wait until they set off: the focused silence is incredible. Hopefully, you’ll have the chance to meet a few of the competitors before they glide off in search of victory.
Following this, your guide will take you to the Takhini River Bridge, which is a prime spot to see the race as it speeds north. Here, the mushers will split from the Yukon River on to the Takhini River and further into the wilderness they go.
On your way back to Whitehorse, you’ll visit the huge Yukon Wildlife Preserve, which is home to several species, including moose, caribou (reindeer), elk and deer. Here you will learn about the wildlife of the region and how it thrives in various habitats, before heading back to Whitehorse for the evening.
Lunch isn’t included today, so please remember to bring along a packed lunch, either from the hotel, or one of the many cafés in town.Included Meals: None
Full Day Dog Sledding Tour
Today and tomorrow, you will take to the trails in charge of your own team of dogs. You’ve seen how the professionals do it, so now you have the chance to discover what it feels like to drive your own sled.
During this full day tour, you’ll learn how to handle your canine companions who will be bursting with excitement and eager to start running on the snow. Your expert guide will show you how to control your team and leave you feeling confident in your ability to become a Yukon pioneer.
Although dog sledding is an everyday part of life to many people here in the Yukon, the feeling of sledding across the snow-covered trails, as your dogs all run in peaceful unison is incredibly rewarding and one you’ll never forget.
Embrace your surroundings as you glide past the rolling hills and mountains and the never-ending blanket of forest. The Yukon is a world away from the hectic pace of modern life and it is here that you can really appreciate true wilderness and the rich history of discovery, exploration and the unknown.
Throughout the tour, you will ride two people per sled, with the chance to swap drivers at various points along the way. Lunch on the trail is included and you will spend approximately six hours on the sleds, with plenty of breaks along the way, so you will need to have a good level of fitness to participate. If you would like to drive your own sled, this can be arranged for a supplement; please speak to our travel experts for a quotation.
After your day on the sled, you will return to your hotel in Whitehorse for a well-earned rest.Included Meals: Lunch
Full Day Dog Sledding Tour
If you want to achieve the goal of becoming a fully-fledged dog musher, then a second full-day of dog sledding will certainly do that for you (you may be a future Yukon Quest entrant in the making?). You’ll hit the trails once again today, your sled crunching the snow below as you glide across the wintery plains, steering your team through the forests and over the frozen rivers as your expert, local guide leads the way.
As with yesterday, you will travel two people per sled and you will be on the trails for around six hours, with plenty of rest breaks and lunch in between. You can also upgrade to drive your own sled today; please speak to our travel experts for a quotation.
You will have the evening free to make the most of Whitehorse before your journey to Dawson City tomorrow. Take a walk along the banks of the Yukon River – which you’ll be seeing again soon, 330 miles downstream. You can imagine how the journey of the prospectors and adventurers all those years ago is now being retraced by the mushers and their dogs, each team striving to claim victory, but in search of very different prizes.
Rather than scrabbling over one another in a desperate bid to strike it rich with a claim of gold, the Yukon Quest adopts a more diplomatic approach, sharing the winnings between the first 10 finishing teams, although first place obviously brings with it some fantastic bragging rights!Included Meals: Lunch
On the Road to Dawson City; Sightseeing Tour
Heading north on the road from Whitehorse to Dawson City, today you will travel along the Klondike Highway where you’ll begin to get a sense of the incredible size of the Yukon Territory. It is stunningly vast and varying in terrain, from its wide, frozen rivers and deep gorges, to the rolling, snow-lined hills and the jagged mountain peaks, towering into the sky above. It’s similar in size to Spain, but home to around 40,000 people; a population which is dwarfed by the resident moose and reindeer.
The journey to Dawson is around 330 miles and will take approximately 7 hours, with scenic stops along the way. You’ll call in at Braeburn Lodge, where you can stop for light snacks and drinks and probably the biggest cinnamon buns you can buy in Canada – just what you need for a day on the road. Try dipping it into a cup of hot, warming coffee and you will be in heaven! Lunch isn’t included today, so please make sure to bring along a packed lunch either from your hotel, or one of the many cafés in Whitehorse.
Dawson is a must-see when visiting the Yukon. It still has a frontier-town look and feel, with its unpaved streets and wooden boardwalks. You’ll feel like you’ve travelled back in time to the Old West, in a place where the dancehalls are buzzing with the sounds of singing and laughter, the saloons are packed with miners looking to spend their hard-earned gold and the chimneys are smoking, as the cafés cook up their hearty meals to keep everyone fuelled up.
This is the place where the world-famous Klondike Gold Rush started in 1896, leading to a boom of people, which created the largest city north of Seattle and west of Winnipeg. It’s estimated that over 100,000 people set out on the stampede in search of gold and it was with this hysteria that Dawson came to prosper. The former city and surrounding area is now home to around 1,300 people.
On arrival, your guide will take you on a short tour of Dawson before you head to the race checkpoint to see how the teams are doing. Hopefully, the first teams should start arriving at some point tomorrow; an announcement that is hard to miss, as the town’s fire siren whirrs into action!
It’s also worth remembering that, here in Canada’s far north, you’re in prime Northern Lights territory, so be sure to keep an eye to the sky in search of the lights tonight.Included Meals: None
Dawson City Checkpoint
“Gold! Gold! In the Klondike!” was the cry heard and read throughout the world when the prospectors found the first nuggets of gold, glistening in the rippling rivers and it is with this in mind that Dawson keeps its traditions alive, as the first Yukon Quest sled over the line is given several ounces of gold as a prize…maybe the musher will continue the tradition of enjoying a drink or two in the local saloon with their new-found riches!
Dawson City is the mid-way point on the Yukon Quest and here the mushers and their dogs have a mandatory rest stop for 36 hours. The mushers get some much-needed sleep and the dogs chow down on their favourite meals, resting their paws, ready for the second half of the journey ahead.
You’ll be close to the action as the teams start to arrive in Dawson and you’ll likely have a chance to meet some of the mushers and their dogs, all of whom will probably appreciate the human interaction after their stint in the wild!
It can be hard to appreciate the difficulty of the Yukon Quest, which is sometimes overshadowed by its Alaskan counterpart, the Iditarod. But, as we found out on a trip to the Yukon, the locals are fiercely passionate about the differences between the two. We naively mentioned that the Iditarod was the toughest dog sledding race on earth and were swiftly put in place by a seven-time finisher of the Yukon Quest who turned a shade of vibrant puce at the very thought if it. He then proceeded to highlight the number of check-points for rest and re-supply (9 compared to around 20)...quickly apologising for his outburst shortly after. We certainly never mentioned the Iditarod again!
During the day, your guide will take you to various sights of historical interest where you can learn more about the gold rush, as well as the local Trondek Hwechen First Nation.
The teams will continue to arrive throughout the day and into the evening; perhaps under the dancing eye of the Northern Lights above. If you head to one of the local saloons tonight (your hotel has one of the best), you’ll more than likely bump into a musher or two!Included Meals: None
Drive to Whitehorse
Although the Yukon Quest continues on to Fairbanks, Alaska, it is here in Dawson that you will part ways and turn back south to Whitehorse. Following breakfast, you will be back on the road, making a few stops along the way. The transfer will take approximately 7 hours.
Lunch is not included today, so remember to bring along a packed lunch, either from the hotel, or one of the town’s cafés. Hot drinks and snacks will be provided for the journey as well.
On the way south, you will stop at Five Finger Rapids, which the gold prospectors had to navigate on home-built rafts, with several ending up in the roaring, tumbling rapids of the Yukon River, being spat out the other side with their possessions in tatters. Thankfully, you’ll just be looking from the river bank today.
You will spend one final night in Whitehorse, so why not head to a hearty, local restaurant for another taste of Yukon cooking and hospitality prior to your flight home tomorrow. We think Antoinette’s is the place to be, serving the rare but amazing fusion of Caribbean-infused Yukon dishes, such as Arctic char burgers with pineapple salsa, or the crispy guacamole salmon with corn salsa; your mouth just waters at the very prospect of it!Included Meals: None
The time has come for you to head back home with thoughts of exploration, discovery and adventure, ready to tell your friends about all of your achievements and your trail in the footsteps of the stampeders and pioneers.
When you get home, remember to check the race results to see which team made it across the finishing line first; maybe it’ll be one of the mushers you met in Dawson!Included Meals: None
Included in price
Dates & Prices
We include more, no hidden costs
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Holiday group size (approximate)
Approximately 4-16 people
We always try to provide an approximation of the group size you can expect to be with for the duration of each of our holidays. It may be that you are joined by others for parts of your holiday (such as transfers and particular activities) but the above number reflects those you can normally expect to be with from beginning to end. If group size is something which is particularly important to you, please speak to our Travel Experts and they can suggest the best holidays for you.
Tailor-made holiday group sizes will vary for all activities as will the group size for any additional activities you book.
Minimum numbers required for a holiday to operate
Some of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate (as listed in the ‘Group Size’ section). If your holiday departure has not yet reached the minimum number, you will be told at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date is not guaranteed by nine weeks before your scheduled departure date, we will contact you to discuss the available options as per our booking conditions.
The minimum age for this holiday can be found in the dates and prices section of the holiday page, under ‘Terms’.
Unless otherwise stated in the dates and prices section of the holiday page, under ‘Terms’, the minimum age for participation in an Artisan holiday is typically 8 years old (there may be younger children in some destinations who have booked with other companies). If an adult-only environment
is important to you, then please contact our Travel Experts and they will advise on the best dates and destinations for you. If you are looking for a holiday designed specifically for families then please see our sister company www.activitiesabroad.com
Please note that some of our holidays may incur a single supplement. Please speak to one of our Travel Experts who will provide you with a quotation.
Medical history and advice
We want our holidays to be accessible as they can be and will do our best to accommodate any special requests and requirements where possible. We have a wide range of holidays and destinations and so our travel experts will help find the best holiday for you.
In order to give us the best possible chance to do this we ask that if you or any member of your party has any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday or has any special requirements, that you tell us at the time of enquiry or booking. You must also promptly advise us if any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday develops after your booking has been confirmed. You may need to provide a doctor’s note and proof of insurance in some cases as the health and safety of our clients is absolutely paramount.
In providing this information you are allowing us to work with our expert local partners to ensure that your whole party can enjoy the holiday. By letting us know in advance we can discreetly work with you to adapt any part of the holiday which may potentially be challenging. Being able to prepare for this in advance makes an incredible difference to what we can offer and minimises any impact on your party and the rest of the group.
Unfortunately, if you choose not to share this information with us in advance then it may limit some or all of the itinerary you have booked, and we cannot be held accountable for any additional costs or missed activities resulting from this.
Insurance is not included in your holiday, but it is a pre-requisite to travelling with us. You will need to ensure that you have cover for all the activities that you will be participating in during your holiday.
It is extremely important that you take out a suitable travel insurance policy at the time of booking. Plans do sometimes change, and you will need this policy should you need to cancel your holiday.
If you are struggling to find a suitable policy then details of our preferred provider, who will cover you for all the activities we offer, can be found on our website by clicking here. Please note that this policy is available to EU residents under the age of 75 only.
If you have a reduced level of mobility, then please contact our Travel Experts to discuss the suitability of this holiday in relation to your requirements.
Experience and fitness
Any activities included in your itinerary are all designed for beginners. Full instruction and tuition are provided for all activities and you do not need to have any previous experience. For example, you need never have set foot on a pair of skis of any kind before a cross-country ski tour. We have adults of all ages and fitness levels taking part in our holidays.
We do highlight certain itineraries where an increased level of fitness is required. If you have any questions at all with regards to fitness levels please get in touch and talk to one of our experts. You can find further details in our trip preparation section online. You must inform us at the time of booking if any of your party has a disability, medical or behavioural conditions which could affect their own participation in the holiday or indeed that of the other people on the holiday.
Guides and safety
It is essential when partaking in any activity that you listen very closely to, and abide by, the instructions provided. Nobody knows the environment better than our activity providers who work here almost every day.
Consequently, their knowledge and experience are unsurpassed. If there is anything that you are unsure of during a safety briefing or that you would like to clarify with the guides, please make this clear to them immediately before starting the activity.
There may be rare occasions when our guides consider local conditions unsuitable for a certain activity. Hence, your itinerary may be subject to change at short notice, but we will always endeavour to firstly find a replacement on the day and secondly, to provide the cancelled activity later in your stay whenever possible. Very occasionally it proves impossible to provide the activity in which case you will be refunded when you return home.
Our guides' word on activities is always final and your safety is their principal concern at all times, please respect their decisions. By following their instructions, your safety and enjoyment during each activity will be greatly enhanced.
You must inform us of any medical conditions that may affect your participation in an activity at the time of booking.
Booking activities locally and equipment hire
Additional activities can be booked locally in almost all our destinations. However, as per our booking conditions, we cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss incurred through participation in activities which are booked at your destination outside of our holiday itinerary (see our ‘Terms and Conditions’ for further details).
When arranging any such activity please always ensure that safety is your primary concern.
In some of our destinations, you can borrow or hire equipment for use in your free time. You do so entirely at your own risk. You must ensure that you are properly prepared, have the necessary equipment and knowledge (maps, etc) and ensure that where applicable, you follow marked routes. We recommend discussing your plans with the local teams who will be able to advise on the most suitable options for you.
Always let the reception/guide know where you are planning to go and take a torch and mobile phone (with the hotel/guide’s phone number stored). It is also a good idea to leave your contact number and the time you expect to return to the hotel should the hotel need to contact you.
The order of activities is always subject to change and guests will be provided with their final itinerary upon arrival.
If your trip includes car hire the named driver must have a credit card registered in their name which they can present when they collect their car along with their driving licence, as a deposit will be held on the credit card. Please see your trip dossier for full details.
Travel Safety and Foreign Office Advice
Our clients’ safety is at the centre of everything we do, and our operations team continually assesses and monitors the destinations we feature. We carry out thorough risk assessments and work closely with all of our suppliers to continually follow best practice. For up to date travel advice the UK government offers its Travel Aware website as well as the advice detailed below.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Advice
We receive all updates from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) with regards to travel advice and we always ensure that we follow this advice in our operations. The FCO issues travel advisories for countries based on a very wide range of factors. They may provide notification about things as simple as a football match and crowds, or they may go so far as to advise against all travel to a region. We ask all our clients to refer to the relevant Travel Advice by Country for the destinations they are visiting in order to make an informed decision on the safety of the destination based on the details provided. It also provides vital information regarding entry requirements, embassy information, local laws and customs as well as specific safety and health. Guests should take responsibility for keeping themselves up to date with this advice. Please also ensure that, if you are transiting through another country, you have read the advice and meet the entry requirements for that destination too.
The FCO travel advice is applicable to British Passport Holders. Most governments will issue their own travel advice for a region and, if you are not a UK resident then you can find some helpful links below:
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/ Canadian Consular Affairs Bureau http://voyage.gc.ca/ The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html
If the FCO deems that there is an unacceptable level of risk for UK citizens then, together with the government, they may issue an advisory against all travel to a region or country. If such an advisory is published, then we will act accordingly, and this may require the cancellation, curtailment or amendment of a holiday itinerary. These decisions are made on the basis of ensuring our clients’ safety and will affect all clients on the holiday, regardless of their nationality.
If one of our local experts suggests an amendment due to a situation which develops locally then we may also take the decision to amend an itinerary appropriately.
If we have to cancel your holiday prior to departure you will be offered the option of an alternative trip (where any price difference will either be refunded to or covered by you) or a full refund of the monies paid.
If we have to curtail a holiday, then you will be refunded for any costs for the elements we have been unable to deliver, where we have been able to secure a refund from our suppliers. If we must reroute a holiday, then any basis for refund is determined on a case by case basis and dependent on whether the central holiday experience was provided or not.
Flight schedule changes and connecting transportation
On your documentation, we will confirm your flight schedule. Sometimes the flight number, routing and timings might change prior to your departure. If the change is classed as a significant change then we will contact you to discuss this. Please see our booking conditions for details.
Flight schedule changes can impact on your pre and post-holiday travel arrangements if these have been booked separately to your holiday. We strongly recommend that you do not book transport (such as trains or transfers), car parking or non-connecting flights to the departure point for your holiday until you have received your final confirmed travel times when your final travel documents are issued. We are not responsible for the effect of any schedule change on your pre or post travel arrangements. We strongly recommend that you do not purchase non-flexible or non-refundable tickets to avoid cancellation and penalty charges.
Booking your own flights - cancellation disclaimer
If you have chosen to book your own flights, then you will need to wait until we confirm to you that the holiday departure has met the minimum numbers required to run (if applicable to your chosen holiday). Once the holiday is guaranteed to run, you will be informed and you can then make your arrangements.
If transfers are included in your holiday, please ensure that any potential flights will be met by our standard transfers (speak to one of our Travel Experts for advice) otherwise private transfer supplements may be applicable. Once your flights are booked, please send us a copy of your detailed flight itinerary.
Please be aware that most tickets are non-refundable in the case of cancellation. For this reason, we strongly advise you check the rules of the ticket and check the limitations of your cancellation insurance before booking. We cannot be held liable, in the unlikely eventuality that we should be forced to cancel or amend your trip, for losses incurred relating to any flight booking you have made.
Payment and cancellation terms:
Please note that the following payment and cancellation terms supersede in part those mentioned in sections 2 and 7 of our general booking terms and conditions.
A deposit of £400pp or 15% (whichever is higher) of the total holiday cost is required at the time of booking. Full payment is required 70 days/10 weeks prior to departure.
- After booking and more than 70 days prior to departure = loss of deposit
- 70-50 days prior to departure = 40%
- 49-34 days prior to departure = 60%
- 33-15 days prior to departure = 80%
- 14 days or less = 100%
Please note that for some itineraries and activities, our local representatives will require you to sign a waiver prior to taking part.