Yukon River Quest to start June 26 with 76 teams

The 24th Yukon River Quest is set to start at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26 at Rotary Park in downtown Whitehorse.

As of June 5, the final pre-race registration count was at 76 teams. Of those, 73 teams will compete in the full 715 kms. Yukon River Quest to Dawson City, while three teams will do the YRQ 300 Half Race to Carmacks.

This year’s field features 178 paddlers from 12 countries. Host country Canada is represented by nine provinces and territories, the United States has teams from 11 states, and there are paddlers from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Estonia, Belgium, France, Ireland, Israel, Czech Republic, and Slovenia.

“The Race to the Midnight Sun” returns to the last week in June 2024 after an experiment last year to try running the race in early July. After two previous years of high water, river levels in 2023 were low to normal, but most racers and volunteers preferred the race going back to late June – nearer the summer solstice – and finishing on the long weekend in Dawson City.

After the start, paddlers weather Lake Laberge and go round-the-clock on the upper Yukon River until they reach this year’s mandatory10-hour rest stop in Carmacks. Teams will start arriving at Coal Mine Campground Thursday morning, June 27 and into the evening.

Back on the river, they encounter Five Finger Rapids, pass Minto (final road access), historic Fort Selkirk, Coffee Creek, and make the long haul to Dawson. The faster teams should finish late on Friday afternoon, June 28. Others will get there through the night and well into Saturday. Their reward is a coveted YRQ finisher pin and prize money if they place in their category. Those who have logged 5,000 or 10,000 kilometres join our Great River Club.

This year’s pre-race breakdown shows seven solo canoes (C1), 17 solo kayaks (K1), 11 stand-up paddleboards (SUP), 22 tandem canoes (C2), three tandem kayaks (K2), seven 4-person canoes (C4), and nine voyageur canoes (VC) of six or more paddlers.

A wrap-up awards banquet is held in Dawson City Sunday after the race concludes.

To follow along from June 26 to June 29, view the Race Tracker link at, or check in for updates on YRQ’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

It takes an army and navy of close to 200 YRQ volunteers to pull off this event every year, from those running safety boats to the checkers, handlers and servers along the route.

Major logo-level sponsors include Air North, Chieftain Energy, Lotteries Yukon, Newmont Goldcorp, Mammoth, Gold Trail Jewellers, The Yukon Star, Coal Mine Campground, CKRW The Rush, Driving Force, Kanoe People, Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation, Yukon 1000 Race Timing, Total North, Up North Adventures, and Northland Beverages. Paddlers will be wearing bibs sponsored by these and other local businesses who support the race.

The race is organized by the Yukon Marathon Paddlers Association, based in Whitehorse, Yukon.

MORE INFO: Contact Cynthia Onions, race coordinator at