It is not the prettiest water in the world. Sometimes I think it might be the ugliest. If you boat out into the current it has the look of mud because of all the sediment that it carries. The sediment is mostly silt and sand with only a small percentage of clay, so in still water it settles quickly enough that the water clears rapidly.
Sediment is not the only thing responsible for coloring the Yukon. Everywhere along its banks there are willows and spruce, many millions of trees all producing tannins that find their way into the water. Tannins are used to tan leather and to create dyes. They also stain the water the color of tea. When iron is present, the two react to produce organic iron compounds that impart a yellow brown tint. This may explain why the water in the photograph above is so oddly colored.