Rising at the top of the world just off Mac Pass the little known and rarely traveled Tsichu River starts at the Yukon/NWT border and flows nonstop down to where it joins with the Keele R. Continuing its rapid descent the Keele joins with the Natla and then the Twitya before finally emptying out into the historic Mackenzie River. Paddling right from the top down to the Mackenzie, and beyond, our trip will drop over 4000ft over the course of the canoe trip.
We meet in Whitehorse, Yukon and end in Norman Wells, NWT. The trip starts with a drive from Whitehorse up the Historic Canol Pipeline Road to MacMillan Pass and a little beyond. This journey is epic in its own right and people travel from around the world just to travel this historic road. We’ll drive right to the end of the ‘passable road and then our gear will be shuttled the final 10km by 4×4 while we spend a half day hiking the Canol Trail. At mile 222 we will start our paddling journey on the very upper reaches of the Tsichu River. The river at this point high in the mountains is a tiny creek only 10ft or so across. As it moves quickly downriver its size increases.
During the 1st week that we will spend on the Tsichu we will travel down exciting narrow, steep and twisty class 2 (and some class 3) rapids, it will be a great fun ride! By the time we reach the confluence with the Keele the Tsichu is a fair sized river. After the confluence with the Natla the river again doubles in size. The next few days on the Natla/Keele are made up of fast current and enjoyable class 2 rapids down to the confluence with the Twitya. At approximately day 14 just above the Twitya confluence the first portion of our trip comes to a close. Here folks that have opted for the 2wk trip will fly out to Norman Wells.
(Note: this is a suggested itinerary only, conditions on each trip may vary)
Day 0. Arrival in Whitehorse, Yukon (you may want to arrive early to see the sights)
Day 1-2. We will depart Whitehorse for our shuttle to the Tsichu. We’ll head southeast and then north to the Canol Rd, stopping for the evening along the way. We’ll travel on through the spectacular MacMillan Pass and reach the end of the Navigable Road. From here our gear will be shuttled by 4X4 while we hike to the Tsichu River
Day 3-9. On Tsichu. The first day will be very small with some possible wading and lining. The river volume soon increases and we will be paddling many steep fast flowing class 1, 2 and class 3 rapids.
Day 10-14. On Keele from Tsichu confluence past Natla Confluence to “Shell” Landing strip just above Twitya River. The river here is much bigger. Current is fast and rapids are wavy and fun. We’ll pass through a number of small canyons. We’d hope to take a day off in this section.
July 17 Charter Flights depart for 2wk participants to Norman Wells
Flights Home from Norman Wells
* Please note: It is the nature of bush plane flights that such factors as weather, pilot judgment, fire, mechanical problems etc. can dictate the schedule of flights and can cause delays. Wanapitei cannot control these factors and accepts no responsibility for lost time.