Lower Stewart River: McQuesten Airstrip to Dawson City (5 days / 240 km)

Trip Reports - Steward River - Yukon River with forest fire in the background

The Lower Stewart River is a beautiful section of river in a large valley with lots of different landscapes along the way. The first 140 km of the journey is on the Stewart, and the last 100 km is on the Yukon River.

I have travelled this route more than 20 times now. From personal trips to guided trips, this river is a great trip for people looking to do something less challenging, and shorter than many other options in the Yukon. I take university students on this route every year as part of an environmental science field course. I have been doing so for 6 years, and still can’t find or think of a better option. This description will be explanatory of what you can expect within each section, instead of a one-trip description, as I have simply travelled it too many times to pick one!

It can be paddled in basically any kind of boat. During my field courses, I’m in a 15’ whitewater raft with a 9.9 motor in the back so that I can carry more gear, while the students are all paddling 17’ Nova Craft Prospector canoes. The current is swift, the average floating speed on the Stewart is about 4-6 km/h (when not paddling) while it is about 7-10 km/h on the Yukon River.

Trip Completed: End August 2023

Trip Summary

Starting Point: McQuesten Airstrip

Ending Point: Dawson City

Duration: 4-5 days

Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate


Central Yukon, Yukon Territory.

Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of the Na-Cho Nyak Dun, Selkirk, and Trondek Hwech’In First Nations.

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: We did not find any guidebooks for this river

Map: I use the Canada Topo app for all my river trips, which is a free app (on iphones) which uses the original topo 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


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