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.
- YQ550 ALASKA – Tok to Fairbanks (Below has the information for this link)
- Yukon Quest Trail Map (same image as 1000 mile)
- Yukon Quest Distance Chart (same image as 100 mile)
- 2022 Race Approximation Schedule (required update)
- The Race in Action (required update)
- Where to Watch the Race (required update)
- Mushers' Guide to the Trail (required update)
YQ550 ALASKA – TOK TO FAIRBANKS
Eagle to Circle City: (approx. 162 miles)
The Yukon River ice can be rough. Prior to race start check on the ice conditions so you will be prepared. The Yukon is mostly flat running though there may be some side slopes depending on river levels at freeze-up. Prevailing winds come down the Yukon River. You will be on the river the entire way to Circle with the exception of a few short portages. Whether the trail uses the portages or no, depends on ice conditions at freeze-up. Andy and Kate’s homestead at mile 12 is your first landmark, Tatonduk River (Sheep Creek) comes in from the right at 28 mile, 43 miles downriver from Eagle you will reach a hospitality stop at Trout Creek (Mike Sager cabin). It is on a short cut-off left from the main trail—there will be a sign. Good warm-up spot, parking for more than 6 teams will be tight.
Leaving Trout Creek you will head north down the Yukon River. Below the mouth of the Nation, expect an icy trail with minimal snow for 5-6 miles; in the event of downed markers/windy conditions with poor visibility; generally stay toward the North bank. The trail returns to snow along this bank near the end of this section. Near Washington Cr. is another usually windblown and icy section of trail. Trout Creek to the mouth of the Kandik River is 37 miles, approx 80 miles from Eagle, there is a warm-up cabin here; good firewood available, easy to heat. 18 – 20 miles from the Kandik mouth is Slaven’s Roadhouse. Good facilities for mushers, fair spot for dogs. You are 100 miles from Eagle and it is less then 60 miles to Circle.
From here it is 17 miles to Richard Smith’s cabin—on the north bank, and about 19 more to Doug Dill’s cabin. (South bank in the mouth of a slough. This cabin is rough since the 09 flood) Both cabins will be marked. It’s about 21 miles to Circle from Dill’s; count on rough ice for the last half of this trail into Circle. You will see the light from the airport beacon prior to reaching town. The checkpoint is on the main street in the middle of town. There is fair parking for dogs, good facilities for mushers Expect it to be cold.
Central to Mile 101: (approx. 28 miles)
You leave Central on the highway, make a small detour off the left side a mile out to avoid a blind corner, cross the road and run a 14 mile section thru swamps, firebreaks and mining areas. At the base of Eagle Summit you will cross the Steese Highway and again be in a mining district while gradually climbing 9 miles toward the summit. There is an important dogleg in this climb; ½ mile below the top you will come to the first of 13 large tripods which mark the route. You will angle right, keeping the higher slopes of the mountain on your left and slightly drop before turning sharply back left and climbing the last ¼ mile on the steepest section of the trail. This is almost always very hard windblown snow. Remove booties for traction, some mushers carry ice cleats for their boots for here. The top of Eagle Summit is less than ¼ mile wide, windblown with tundra showing.
Braking down the 101 side is fair, however, and it is not as steep. 6 miles to checkpoint Mile 101, straight down the valley. Watch for windblown ice, overflow, and bare gravel. There are fair facilities here for dogs and mushers. You are just shy of 39 miles to Chena Hotsprings Rd., a bit over 41 to the next checkpoint.
Mile 101 to 52 Chena Hotsprings Rd: (approx. 41 miles)
Leaving 101 you will follow along the road for 7 miles, in and out of the ditch or on a parallel trail depending on overflow. Near 94 mile of the Steese, you leave the edge of the road and drop into the Birch Creek headwaters. There will be a few overflowed creeks over the next few miles as you travel up the valley on your way to Rosebud Summit. You cross Birch Creek one last time and begin the long ascent toward Rosebud; it is a 5 mile steady climb.
Once near the top, Rosebud Summit consists of a series of short climbs and descents, it usually is pretty good traveling, with fair braking on the down hills. The last descent drops you into the timber at the head of the N. Fork of the Chena River. A very steep descent through burned timber; watch for tree roots that catch your brake; avoid trees when possible… It’s about 14 miles to Chena Hotsprings Rd. from the pass, another 3 to the checkpoint at mile 52 of the Hot Springs Rd. You will have an 8-hour mandatory layover here. Use it wisely and remember that you are around 70 miles from the finish line.
Two Rivers Checkpoint to Fairbanks: (approx. 72 miles)
Watch for recreational teams, snow machines and skiers from here to town. 2 miles out from the checkpoint you pass Angel Creek. The trail crosses under the Chena Hot Springs road two times---the first crossing is 28 miles from Pleasant Valley, the second 24 miles. This section of trail is well-traveled and relatively fast; expect overflow at the creeks as everywhere.
2 miles before Pleasant Valley Store you will cross over the Chena Hot Springs road. Watch for traffic. The trail runs parallel to the road past the store and turns left to run down Pleasant Valley road. This is a subdivision road with occasional traffic; it is plowed and icy—tough to hook down. You will go straight off the road and then turn right on to a very well-maintained dog trail which leads 15 miles west before turning south 2 miles and dropping onto the Chena River. You are then on the river all of the way to the finish. You will cross under the Nordale Road Bridge about 5½ miles after reaching the Chena River, it’s another 17 miles to downtown Fairbanks and the Banner.