Yukon Quest Trail Information
In 2022, the Yukon Quest will be running four races, the YQ300& YQ100 in the Yukon and the YQ550 & YQ200 in Alaska. The four races will run over 1,000 miles through 11 communities in Alaska and Yukon, following historic Northern travel routes.
YQ300 YUKON – Whitehorse to Braeburn
Whitehorse to Braeburn: (Long 100 miles)
You will be on the Yukon River for the first 12 miles of trail, then up the Takhini for approx. 18 miles. You climb the right-hand bank to intersect with the Old Dawson Overland Trail. You will be on this trail for about 70 miles. Good timber on a relatively easy section of trail. There are a couple of hills that can be challenging on the downhill. There are plenty of places to take a break; not many recognizable landmarks for the rookie. If you have questions; talk to Frank Turner. 5 miles from the Braeburn checkpoint you will encounter a very steep, short downhill on to Braeburn Lake. Cross the Lake and back onto the trail with a left turn.
The Braeburn checkpoint has good services and fair conditions for parking. It will be crowded.
Braeburn to Carmacks: (approx. 70 miles)
This section of trail can be one of the most challenging on the entire race. You will be on narrow trails, creeks with overflow; some of it potentially deep. Low snow can make this section tough on sleds. Immediately upon leaving Braeburn, you cross the Klondike Highway; it is about 18 miles, give or take, to Cogland Lake. You will turn left onto Cogland and stay on the Lake for 7 miles. For the next 30 miles you will be on and off of various small lakes and ponds. There are many good camping spots with fair firewood. There is a good open creek about halfway to Carmacks where you can get water. A good landmark is Mandana Lake which is about 28 miles from the Carmacks Checkpoint. You will stay on this Lake for almost 5 miles. The remainder of the trail to Carmacks is mostly narrow, heavily timbered with some steep hills. You will go down onto the Yukon River for several short sections and see your first jumble ice. Go under the Yukon River bridge and climb the left-hand bank; the checkpoint is within ¼ mile. The Checkpoint at Carmacks has been in several different locations over the years, so follow the markers………
Carmacks has good Checkpoint facilities but is not a great place for resting dogs. The holding area is usually plowed and teams will be parked closely. Yukon Quest and YQ300 teams will still be close at this point; if that is the case, you may consider camping elsewhere so your dogs get a good rest.
Carmacks to Pelly Crossing: (approx. 75-80 miles)
Follow markers closely out of this checkpoint; you are traveling thru town for a mile or so before turning right onto the Freegold road. You stay on this road for approximately 15 miles; it is usually very good, at times in the past it has been plowed, but always has had a good snow base. You will leave the road onto a firebreak trail---straight ahead off the right side of the road in a corner; almost impossible to miss. You will be on this type of trail; firebreaks and cat trails until just before you reach the Dog Drop at McCabe Creek. You will be on and off of the Yukon. There are some sections of burn the closer you get to McCabe. Immediately prior to reaching McCabe; come down from a burned area and cross the Yukon, McCabe is up the far bank. McCabe has good parking for teams, fair facilities for drivers. Usually has hot water.
You leave McCabe up the driveway, cross the Klondike Highway under the Bridge or over the road, depending on how high the creek has overflowed. It is 32 miles to Pelly. You will follow the power line side parallel to the highway for 5, (endless) miles---almost always punchy and slow, before turning right up a relay site access road and on to the very good, fast trail to Pelly. Watch for a short steep section down on to a creek just after you leave the road. You will be in a burn area first, with several short hills and a couple of overflowed creeks. The trail flattens and crosses several lakes just farther than half-way to the Pelly checkpoint. You will see the lights of town at the top of a pretty good downgrade; you are less than 5 miles out. The Pelly Checkpoint has been in various places over the year; always the parking and hospitality are very good.
Pelly Crossing: (approx. 205-210 miles)
You will leave Pelly on to the river and under the bridge. At times, if the river has bad ice conditions, you may jump up onto a plowed road for a couple of miles---or 20—depending…… Usually you will stay on the Pelly River all of the way to Stepping Stone. The trail is usually fast down the River. A few miles prior to Stepping Stone you will pass Pelly Farms. Cows. More often than not the trail is on the opposite side of the Yukon River from the farm. After reaching Stepping Stone, you will have to turn around and return to Pelly Crossing to finish the race.