Fortymile Bridge to Clinton Creek or Eagle
Note: If you are planning a trip on the lower Fortymile to either Clinton Creek or Eagle, you must check in with both Canada and U.S. Customs at Poker Creek or Eagle.
This trip lets you experience both the canyon of the lower Fortymile River and the wide-open spaces of the mighty Yukon River. Road access is available at both ends. At average water levels the trip takes around 12 hours of float time for the 48-mile trip from the bridge to Clinton Creek or 25 hours for the 101 miles from the bridge to Eagle via the Yukon River. A screen-viewable map of this trip is available here
For this section of the Fortymile you will put in at the Fortymile Bridge at milepost 112 on the Taylor Highway. A steep access road that often requires four-wheel-drive leads to the river on the east side of the highway. It is difficult but not impossible to use boat trailers here. Leave your vehicle at the parking lot on the west side of the highway instead of on the ramp. Outhouses are available.
Approximately seven miles from the bridge you will pass the historic Steele Creek townsite on the right bank. Once an important trading post with a post office and general store, Steele Creek today consists of three log structures, one of them the two-story roadhouse. These buildings have been sealed because they are too dangerous to enter, but the townsite is a fun place to explore and to imagine life on the Fortymile many years ago.
Deadman’s Riffle is about 14 miles below the Fortymile Bridge. It is class III at some water levels and can be portaged on the right.
After crossing the U.S.-Canada border, marked by a cleared survey line and survey monuments, the river flows through the Yukon Territory, Canada for 20 miles.
|Lining canoes around the Canyon Rapids |
is past the border below the mouth of Bruin Creek. At extremely high water it is very dangerous. It is difficult to line or portage due to the steep canyon walls. At lesser flows it is class II to III water and can be lined or portaged on the right or left.
An old parking lot and camping area is available above the Clinton Creek Bridge on river left, just below the mouth of Clinton Creek. The old settlement of Clinton Creek was inhabited from 1967 to 1979, though little remains there today. To reach Clinton Creek by vehicle, drive from the US/Canada border about 28 miles down the Top of the World Highway to the Clinton Creek turnoff and follow the unmaintained road for 25 miles. No facilities or services are available.
If you don’t take out at Clinton Creek, you can continue down the Fortymile River to its confluence with the Yukon River and then float down to Eagle, which has three boat landings. The first is a private landing for the sightseeing boat Yukon Queen II. Vehicles can be driven to the water’s edge at the second landing, just downriver. The third landing requires a 20-foot climb up a steep stairway to reach downtown Eagle. Be sure to check in with U.S. Customs on arrival.
The following topographic maps are recommended for this trip:
U.S. Geological Survey inch-to-the-mile (1:63,360) maps for the American portion
Eagle C-1, C-2
Shell Creek 116C/9
Mount Gladman 116C/10