The Coal River is a Yukon gem that is not often travelled. This river has some of the beautiful features along the way, making every day exciting. We flew into Pike Lake and covered the 120 km or so in 7 days to the Alaska Highway just before the Coal River enters the Liard River.
We were a group of 6 with 2 dogs in three canoes with spraydecks. The canoes we used were an Esquif Miramichi 18, a Nova Craft Prospector 17 and a Nova Craft Moisie. There have been a few large forest fires along this route within the last 15 years or so, which has changed the scenery slightly as well as made the portage and lining from Pike Lake to the river a little more challenging.
Trip Completed: July 2020
First set of class 3 rapids at the start of the big canyonBison swimming across the riverLast Class 4 dropCoal River Waterfall in the middle of tripBelaying a canoe down the last portageBull trout below the last set of class 4 rapidsCoal River SpringsFirst Class 4 rapids towards the end of the big canyonPortage out of Pike Lake
Starting Point: Pike Lake
Ending Point: Alaska Highway
Total Distance: 120 km
Duration: 7 days
Location: Southeast Yukon, Watson Lake being the nearest town.
Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of the Kaska Dena First Nations.
Maps & Resources
Guidebook: Paddling in the Yukon Guidebook
Map: I use the Canada Topo app for all my river trips, which is a free app (on iPhones) which uses the original topographic maps of Canada. You download the maps of your route before departing, and you can use them on your phone (or iPad) while out on your trip just like you would use a regular GPS.
Permits & Reservations
Campsite Reservations: No reservations
Permits: No permits required
Know Before You Go
Season: July to Early September
Cell Reception: No
Water: The river is clear the whole way.
Wildlife: I would n...
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