The Yukon Quest will continue in the Yukon, with Yukon Quest races scheduled for the upcoming winter!
The Yukon Quest will start in Whitehorse on Feb. 17, 2024.
Below you'll find mandatory forms, race information and rules for each race, as well as a calendar for musher meetings and events.
Mandatory Forms & Race Rules
Yukon Quest 100
Yukon Quest 250
Yukon Quest 450
- Pre-Race Veterinary Health Certificate
- Pre-Race Veterinary Exam Form
- Musher Assessment Form
- Request for Housing
- Request for Extra Straw
- Local Contact Form
Mushers’ Guide to the Yukon Quest Trail
The Yukon Quest Trail follows the historic frontier travel routes of the Gold Rush Era. Dating back to the mid 1800’s, these routes were first connected end-to-end with the inaugural running of the Yukon Quest in 1984.
The following detailed description of the Yukon Quest Trail is courtesy of two-time Yukon Quest Champion and 17-time Finisher John Schandelmeier. It has been updated by Mike Reitz for 2017.
The Yukon Quest was founded on the premise that a dog driver and his team should be a self-sufficient unit; capable of challenging varied terrain and severe weather conditions. The race is a living memorial to those turn-of-the-century miners, trappers, and mail carriers who opened up the country without the benefit of snowmobiles, airplanes, or roads. It was their strength and fortitude that blazed the Trail over which most of the Yukon Quest travels. Read the old authors and poets of the North and you'll learn of the Dawson Trail of Robert Service's day and the ascent of Eagle Summit by Archdeacon Hudson Stuck. Every bit of Stuck's book; “Ten Thousand Miles by Dog Team" is as valid and poignant today as it was nearly 100 years ago. When you are out alone with your dogs, pitted against the elements, time ceases to be relevant.
The Yukon Quest honors the early pioneers but it is also a race. One of the basic prerequisites of any race is an established and maintained trail. Crews along the route start brushing and packing down the trail a month or two before race time and several snow machines precede the first teams by 6-12 hours. Reflective markers show the way.
The race organization monitors the progress of all teams and a good many privately-owned cabins are made available by generous residents. Hospitality stops will vary from year to year, depending on who is trapping or living where, but you may be certain that residents will welcome you wherever you find them. If you treat them and the facilities they offer with respect, they will welcome you and those who follow for years to come.
The Yukon Quest recognizes that not knowing the trail is a distinct disadvantage for rookies, however we also believe that the severity of this handicap can be reduced with a little common sense and some research. The trail information given here will be helpful but it is only a general overview. Learn as much as you can in advance of the race start, you may find it necessary to keep a notebook. During the race try to find a knowledgeable local at checkpoints or a race veteran who can give you detailed information on what lies ahead. Do not rely on one person’s trail description; quite often individuals have a different focus on the same section of trail.
- Know your own dog team; their abilities, attitude and individual strengths.
- Rely on your own good judgment.
- Check long-term weather reports before the race and at every checkpoint. They are available by phone through the National Weather Service, or Aviation weather.
- Topographical maps of the Trail may be helpful, but it is sometimes difficult to recognize landmarks when running at night.
- Trail maps are also available for viewing at the Yukon Quest office.
- Use the known speed of your dog team to estimate distance; be conservative.
- Current GPS information on the trail is suspect.
- The race organization will provide a fresh trail only ahead of the lead team. Weather and snow conditions will determine how far ahead the machines get. Much of the route is rarely traveled other than by the race so you have to expect some soft, slow trail. The Yukon Quest does not always have machines available to reopen the trail should it blow-in behind the lead group, but does keep track of every team and tries to keep the trail marked for everyone. In the event of snow/wind, it is best to try to stay close enough to other teams to benefit from their broken trail.
- You can set up a run/rest schedule of about six hours on/six hours off if that works with your training routine. Error on the side of additional rest. Snack every one to three hours depending on weather and trail conditions. Six hour runs on the Yukon Quest Trail at approximately 8mph will generally get you to some type of shelter - be it a checkpoint, open cabin or a good camp location. It is okay to stop a little early on a run so as not to bypass a sheltered location. Rarely is it advantageous to run longer unless you know you are near a checkpoint where you can rest on straw. Never run more than three hours without a snack stop.
- Treat each run between rests as a long one-day training routine at home: same feed schedules, same care. Remember; as go the feet, so goes the dog. The Yukon Quest Trail is not necessarily a tough trail; but it is a long one. Don't look ahead 1,000 miles, just look at the run immediately ahead of you and your team. Take care of yourself so you can take the best possible care of your animals; they are your responsibility. Be prepared to camp at -50° F or -46° C without a fire or shelter! Do not rely on artificial heat sources; they can and do fail. Have good gear that you have personally tested for yourself and your dogs. Have the expertise and means to start a quick wood fire should it be necessary. When possible, camp in the trees.
Information for First Time Mushers
Yukon Quest International would like to welcome all rookies taking up the challenge of running our race in 2023!
Tips from the Veterans
- The best way to get dogs to eat and drink well is by putting lots of miles on them in training and keeping the speed slow and comfortable and the run lengths well within the dog's comfort zone the first few days of the race.
- Don't draw too many conclusions on your team and individual dogs by their performance in mid-distance races. The Quest is a whole different ball of wax. Adjusting the speed one mile per hour slower will turn a lot of your slower mid-distance dogs into superstars in the Quest; especially after 300 miles on the Quest trail.
- If you feel yourself hitting a wall with your own physical limits most likely your competitors are going through the exact same thing. Muscle through it, be patient, and keep focused and on task.
- The moment you step on the runners you've thrust yourself (whether you're feeling up to it or not) into a leadership role. The dogs are far better masters of reading body language than we are and can read you like a book even though we don't share the same language. Be someone they admire and respect. Once the race starts the dog is never wrong. Looking on the bright side and giving the dog the benefit of the doubt is always the best way to err when faced with discipline issues during the race. Ultimately, you can't "will" your dogs across the finish line; the motivation has to come from them.
- Test all the plastic on your runners before wrapping it up and sending it out in your drop bags.
- Program an iPod and use it. I have a hat with built in speakers.
- Do NOT sit around in checkpoints gabbing with friends, handlers, family or media. Go to sleep, take care of your dogs. There is a temptation to say, 'Oh, it's only a couple of hours it won't make any difference if I sleep or not." It will make a difference.
- Do not party in Dawson. There is time for that when the race is done. Your dogs are not partying; they are resting up for the second half. They are still in the race. This is a layover, not the finish line. You owe your dogs more respect than to hit the bars in the middle of a race while they are sleeping on straw, trusting you. Respect yourself, and your team. Get some sleep, wash your clothes, and take care of your dogs in your spare time.
- Have your own race plan, understand it completely, know it by heart, and be able to adjust it as necessary. This is not a couple of training runs where you can just 'wing it'. You will get tired; you better have something laminated in your pocket.”
- Keep feeding your dogs according to the hours or the miles, whichever is less. I.e. if you rest an extra 4 hours in a checkpoint, you have an extra feeding - DO NOT FORGET THIS. If your dogs get skinny, you cannot make that up in a race, and you are in trouble. Keep feeding. Too many times the teams at the back of the pack are the skinniest. I suspect this is a result of a feeding schedule that gets out of whack with too many hours in checkpoints for the number of feedings. You stay longer, you feed more. Their metabolisms are still running full bore almost as much as if they are running on the trail.
- Bring healthy food for yourself. You feed your dogs well, and you are the most important dog on the team. Do not fry yourself on crap food. Likewise, stay away from stimulants - bad news in my opinion.
Trail Maps & Distances
Topographical Maps of the Yukon Quest Trail
Canadian Maps (Department of Energy, Mines & Resources Canada)
|Lake Laberge||105 E|
|Glenlyon||105 L||(N.B. only 6 miles/ 10 kms of Trail are on this map)|
|McQuesten||115 P||(N.B. only 9 miles/ 15 kms of Trail are on this map)|
|Stewart River||115 O & 115 N||(this is a single map)|
|Dawson||116 B & 116 C||(this is a single map)|
Where to get the Maps
In the Yukon
Maps are available at Mac’s Fireweed Books – downstairs in Map Sales, 203 Main Street Whitehorse YT Y1A 2B2. Telephone 867-668-2434.
Yukon Mapping Online
The Yukon Government’s Energy, Mines and Resources Department has an excellent online mapping tool available for free to the general public, here. It includes a number of tools, data layers, and map views. Feel free to navigate through the interface and if you have any questions contact the Whitehorse Office.