Canoe and Kayak Trips

Who do we cater to?

Kluane Airways Ltd caters to the Do It Yourself type client who is trying to save a dollar.

Do It Yourself Trips

Kluane Airways Ltd offers a full service to the canoer or kayaker, including:

  • Shuttle service to point of departure
  • Rental of canoes, kayaks, paddles, life jackets, throw ropes & camp gear
  • Flights via float plane to river of your choice
  • Shuttle service at the end of your trip back to Whitehorse or wherever

What rivers do we specialize on?

Due to our unique location on the east side of the Yukon, we service the Eastern and Northern Yukon and the Western NWT.

Yukon Territory

River Description Days (Estimated)
Pelly River Class 1 5 -7
Liard River Class 1 - 2 6- 8
Big Campbell River Class 2 - 3 3 - 4
Tyers river Class 2 3 -5
Upper Hyland River Class 3 4 -7
Francais River Class 1 - 3 4 -7
Hess River Class 3 - 4 14
South MacMillian River Class 3 - 4 10 - 14
Snake River Class 2 - 3 12 - 14
Bonnet Plumb River Class 2 - 3 ( plus two class 5 falls ) 12 - 15
Wind River Class 2 10 - 14
Nisutlin River - Upper Class 3 5 - 7
Ross River Class 3 6 - 8
Coal River Class 3 - 4 5 - 7
South Nahanni River Class 2 - 3 21
Little Nahanni River Class 3 - 4 4 - 5
Redstone River Class 2 - 3 10 - 14
Keele River Class 2 - 4 10 - 14
Mountain River Class 2 - 3 10 - 14


International River Classification Scale is as follows:

Class 1: Moving water with a few riffles and small waves. Few or no obstructions.

Class 2: Easy rapids with waves up to one meter. Channels are wide and obvious without scouting. Some manoeuvring is necessary.

Class 3: Rapids with high, irregular waves that could swamp an open canoe. Narrow passages often require scouting and complex manoeuvring.

Class 4: Long, difficult rapids with constricted passages that often require precise manoeuvring in turbulent water. Scouting from shore is often necessary and conditions make rescue difficult. Generally impossible for open canoes. Boaters in closed canoes and kayaks should be able to Eskimo Roll.

Class 5: Extremely difficult, long and violent rapids with complicated routes that should be scouted from shore. There is a significant hazard to life in the event of mishap. It is essential to be able to Eskimo Roll.

Class 6: Difficulties of Class 5 carried to the extreme of navigability. Nearly impossible and very dangerous - for experts who have taken all possible rescue precautions. Serious risk to life.

Note: It is an excepted practice to add a grade for wilderness conditions or for cold water.

The best book available for information on the rivers in the Yukon and Western NWT is called Rivers of the Yukon. The book costs around $ 20.00 and can be obtained via the following address:

Rivers of the Yukon
Primrose Publishing
21 Klondike Road
Whitehorse, Yukon
Canada, YlA 3L8

Preparing for a trip

A good rule of thumb in preparing for any fly in trip is to drive as close to the river as possible. Air charter is very expensive and you want to minimize the distance you must fly, especially if you have more than one plane load. Remember, when you are chartering an aircraft, you are paying by the mile for the aircraft to fly both ways or you may be paying strictly by the hour, going both ways. Always know your exact weights when you arrive at a charter operators base.

Try to pack your gear in smaller, soft bags. These are far easier to load in an aircraft. In the case of pack sacks or pack boards, do not tie things such as shoes, canteens or other small objects to them. This make loading them in a small aircraft very difficult and upsets the pilot.

If you have bear spray, always notify the pilot. He may want to have it out in the open or if he has hatches in his floats, he may wish to carry it outside of the cabin. The last thing you would want is for your bear spray to go off and disrupt the pilots abilities

If you have firearms, always notify the pilot. He may want to inspect them prior to loading in the aircraft. Remember, Canada has very strict firearms regulations and it is a criminal offence to not disclose their presence.

If you are bringing your own canoes and you wish to haul two of them on one flight, they must be able to mate. In other words, if you remove the seats and cross braises and end plates, they must be able to fit together so the pilot is able to haul them both on the same side of the aircraft.

In preparing your canoes to mate, one of them would have to have the seats, cross braces and end plates removed. The end plates are normally riveted on so you will have to get some screws and nuts that will now fit. The seats and cross braces hardware will work as is.

Make sure you bring your own throw ropes and rescue ropes as most canoe rental operators do not include this sort of gear when you rent a canoe.

Always notify us in advance if you need life jackets and if so, what sizes and how many. We also have to know if you need canoe paddles and if so, what lengths and how many of each. Life jackets and paddles are usually supplied on the rentals, but we do need the details on sizes.

Carefully consider whether or not you wish to rent a satellite phone. Once you are on the river, this is the only manner in which you will be able to contact anyone. Something as simple as a sprained or broken ankle can be very serious if you have 14 days before you get to your destination.

Travel insurance for such things as rescue in the case of someone getting sick or hurt is a very good idea. The cost of getting off the river once you start can be very expensive. On most rivers you would need a helicopter. On a lot of the remote Yukon or NWT rivers, you could drop $5000.00 - $ 10,000.00 very easily.

Prices: Canoe trips always take lots of planning and it may take our office a few days to give you a quote. Plan on arranging your trip early as we have a limited amount of canoes and gear, so only supply a small amount of clients each year. Our aircraft are very busy during the summer months, so confirm your dates early.

Booking your trip

To confirm a trip with us, Phone, Fax or E-mail us at the address listed below. We require a 50% deposit to confirm a date. Balance is due 30 days prior to departure.

Our Kelowna office can assist you in booking your flights into Whitehorse as needed or assist you with instructions on how to drive right to our Finlayson Lake float base. They can also give you our summer phone number if you wish to contact us directly in the Yukon. We are usually at the lodge for the months of May to October.

Trip insurance is a very wise move. Most charter operators and canoe rental companies want a deposit up front with the balance 30 days prior to departure. Your trip costs can be quite high and if you are involved in an accident or have some sort of other family problem prior to your trip, insurance will look cheap.

Main Office:

Kluane Airways Ltd
Box 29008 OK Mission RPO
Kelowna, British Columbia
Canada, V1W 4A7
Phone: 250 - 860 - 4187   Fax: 250 - 860 - 8894






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