Yukon River

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Quick Facts

  • Location: 62 ° 35' 55" N, 164 ° 48' 0" W
  • Region: Wade Hampton (CA)
  • Uses:
  • Length: 1500 mi (2414.02 km)
  • Tributary to: Kwikluak Pass


One of the longest streams in North America, about 1,500 mi. long, and the principle river in Alaska; heads in Atlin Lake, British Columbia, then flows generally northwest through the Yukon Territory into Alaska, where it turns to the southwest and then to the north before entering the Bering Sea at Norton Sound. Incomplete record - should be at least 99 maps, LATLONGs truncated in PHASE I by GIPSY - 9512.

An Indian name first obtained by Hudson's Bay Company traders, led by Robert Campbell who explored the upper river in 1843 and established Fort Yukon in 1847. The Russians explored the lower river in the 1830's and 1840's establishing the post at Nulato in 1841. During the Klondike Gold Rush (1897-98), the stream was a major route to the gold fields. The Eskimo, who occupied the lower Yukon including its delta descriptively called it "Kuikpak" meaning "big river." The Indian name "Yukon" probably means the same thing. Lieutenant H. T. Allen recorded in 1885 another Indian name, "Nigato" ("Niga" is said to mean "river"), and Constatin Grewingk recorded the names "Juna" and "Jukchana." All of these names were variously spelled. The present form of the name was adopted by Canada and United States in the 1890's.


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