fall leaves

Upper Stikine River Canoeing Trip

2022 Trip: July 22 – August 6

Registration Opens January 1 2022 – get in touch if you have any questions or get on the waitlist!


Our Upper Stikine River canoeing expedition will have you spend 13 exciting days exploring the remote and beautiful Upper Stikine River as it begins its rapid descent from the high alpine lakes of the Spatsizi Wilderness Plateau, winds through endless wilderness with 5 distinct river characteristics, and completes the journey just before it plunges in to Canada’s grand canyon of the Stikine. A 300 km river expedition of class 1-3 whitewater will surprise and delight beginner-intermediate canoeists who are looking for a chance to experience BC’s true rugged beauty.

This guided expedition comes with 50% off any 2-day whitewater canoeing course at Elements Adventure Co. paddling school near Vernon, BC.


headwaters of the stikine river

Bird’s eye view of the “Eagle’s Nest” – headwaters of 3 major tributaries, the Nass, Skeena, and Stikine.

Duration: 13 days on the river        Max Participants: 11 people

Dates: July 22 – August 6, 2022 (including your travel time to/from our staging area near Iskut BC.

Cost: $5250 + GST and charter flight cost.     Contact us for how to qualify for Early-bird pricing (save $500)

BONUS: We are the only wilderness canoeing company that offers a 50% savings on a 2-day river-canoeing course taught by a certified instructor in advance of an expedition.

How is this expedition unique?

upper stikine river canoeing

The headwaters provide the best access to alpine wandering.

Spending two whole weeks being completely removed from the people, things, and activities that we think make us who we are, provides a rare opportunity to recharge and reconnect with ourselves.  The nature of this river combined with the pace we set, makes for the perfect environment for exploring, learning new river-tripping skills, and adventure!
Our guides have diverse backgrounds and extensive river-guiding and teaching experience, and will make this trip rich in culture and adventure.  They are genuine, open, gentle, and skilled communicators.

Who is this trip for?

rapids on the upper stikine river

With on-the-go instruction, you’ll feel ready for the more challenging sections of the river.

  • “I want to experience true wilderness, stunning scenery, and paddle one of the top 10 wilderness rivers in North America.”
  • “I have some canoeing experience or have a keen interest to learn!”
  • “I am looking for the time and space to explore my true adventurous nature, make new lasting friendships, and reconnect with the natural world in a meaningful way.”
  • “In addition to being safely guided, I want to participate and actively learn new wilderness canoe-tripping skills from the certified instructors/guides.”

Skill Level Required – level II (intermediate)

River Canoeing Elements Adventure CompanyParticipants have experience canoeing on intermediate rivers and are confident adventuring in the outdoors. They are comfortable around/on/in moving water and have taken a river canoeing course (or equivalent experience).  Participants can expect to build on skills and experience in new and challenging conditions under the leadership of their guides.  Participants should be fit and capable of carrying their canoe and gear over rough terrain.


What will we be doing (other than paddling)?

  • hiking, fishing, snoozing, reading
  • learning about local botany, geology, ecology
  • learning river canoeing skills such as scouting rapids, group management, choosing safe lines through rapids, making safe decisions, and more
  • stopping to play in a safe rapid
  • evening circle (debrief the day, review plan for tomorrow)
  • there will most likely be some singing……
  • there will most definitely be cooking and eating delicious food!

Bird’s-Eye View

whitewater river canoeing

View from the charter flight in to the Stikine headwaters.

The Stikine River begins high up in the Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park (the traditional land of the Tahltan First Nation) and descends 2000m through the Cassiar Mountains, the Spatsizi Plateau, the Stikine Mountains and finally into the Pacific Ocean, near Wrangell, Alaska.  At the river’s source high up in the alpine, a series of lakes gather to form a fast-flowing river with exciting ledges, canyons, wave-trains, and boulder rapids, with options to portage around the class II and class III rapids.

The best hiking can be done at the very beginning of the river, where access to endless alpine wandering is a short hike through the small fir, spruce, and birch brush.

caribou upper stikine canoeing

A lone caribou crosses a scree slope above Tuaton Lake

The Upper Stikine is known for its high density of wildlife.  You can expect to see some of Canada’s most iconic animals, including Wolves, Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Mountain Goats, Dall Sheep, Moose, Stone Sheep, Lynx, and Caribou from BC’s largest herd of Woodland caribou that roam in this region.

For a deeper look at the stunning beauty and the vulnerability of this region, check out this video narrated by Wade Davis making the case against mineral exploration in the Sacred Headwaters.


Draft Itinerary (13 days, not including driving to and from Tatogga Lake BC)

Please note: this itinerary is suggested and highly subject to change due to weather, river levels, and many other unforeseen factors.  A true adventure!

Airport Pickup available in Smithers BC.

Day -1 – Personal travel to Smithers, BC or similar

Day 0 – Drive to Tatogga Lake BC

Day 1– Charter flight over the Spatsizi Plateau from Tatogga Lake BC into the headwaters
Day 2 and 3 – Hike, explore, fish
Day 4-6 – river paddling, explore, camp
Day 7  – rest day (fish, hike, read, relax)
Day 8-12 – river paddling, explore, camp
Day 13 – final morning of paddling, take-out at the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, drive to Smithers BC or similar.

Day +1 – travel from Smithers, BC to home

Transfer to Smithers available.

Included in Price:

flights in to tuaton lake

Lake glass on Tuaton Lake

  • Guiding and safety
  • Paddle instruction
  • All food and meal planning for the 13 days on the river
  • Camping fees on drive there and back
  • High-end paddling equipment: canoe, paddle, PFD, large dry-bag or barrel, small dry-bag, safety equipment
  • BONUS: 50% off tuition on a 2-day river-canoeing course near Vernon BC, taught by a certified instructor.  We offer this feature to support you to brush up on your canoeing skills before the big trip.

Not included in the price:

  • Charter flight cost (is divided evenly between all trip members and billed 2 weeks before the trip).  You can expect a cost between $750 and $900 per person including tax.  We guarantee the charter flight cost not to exceed $900 per person including tax.
  • Front-country meals – which includes breakfast and lunch on Day 1 and lunch and dinner on Day 13
  • All transportation costs to our staging point in Tatogga Lake, BC.
  • Personal camping gear, tent, sleeping bag, thermarest – available to rent if you don’t have your own.

Other Important Details

upper stikine river whitewater canoeing

Dramatic skies – upper Stikine River.

  • Minimum age 18, or with guide’s consent
  • Maximum 11 participants
  • Early-bird pricing available before February 22, 2022 – save $500
  • Early-bird pricing is always available for bookings of 4 or more participants
  • To help you prepare, you will be issued a detailed trip package upon receiving your registration.
  • A $1600 deposit is required to hold your reservation.  The balance is due 90 days prior to departure. See our full cancellation policy here.


sunset stikine river

Sunset over the Spatsizi confluence.

Please contact us if you have any other questions about the Upper Stikine River Canoeing and Hiking Expedition.