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Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada

Trails and Routes

King's Throne Trail
©Parks Canada / F. Mueller

Trails are marked and maintained by the park.
Routes follow no formal trail and are not maintained. Visitors will need strong hiking and navigational skills to travel on any routes.

Trailheads can be difficult to get to without a vehicle since there is no public transportation



Map of Trails and Routes

Map of Trails and Routes
©Parks Canada

Printable Version (PDF, 4.01MB)

Trail Descriptions

Easy

Soldiers Summit

Distance: 1 km (0.6 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 20 - 90 min / Easy
Elevation Gain: 90 m (300')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: 1 km (0.6 mi) north of the Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) Visitor Centre

Self-guiding interpretive trail which leads to the site of the official opening of the Alaska Highway in 1942.

Spruce Beetle

Distance: 2 km (1.2 mi) loop
Time/Difficulty: 0.5 – 1 hour / Easy
Elevation Gain: 15 m (50')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: 17 km (10.5 mi) north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway

A well maintained self-guiding interpretive trail. Some sections are boardwalk.

Alsek Valley

Distance: 58 km (36 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 1 - 3 days / Easy
Elevation Gain: 92 m (300')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: 10 km (6 mi) north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway

Use of bear resistant food canisters is mandatory for all overnight trips. Follows old mining road into Sugden Creek, first 15 km are open to 4-wheel drive access. Trail has a mainly rocky surface and is positioned low in the valley. Some variable creeks to cross (no bridges).

Detailed Alsek Valley Trail description 

Dezadeash River

Distance: 3.5km (2.2 mi) loop, or 5.5 km (3 mi) loop
Time/Difficulty: 1 - 2 hours / Easy
Elevation Gain: 15 m (50')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: North end of Haines Junction near the RV campground, or south end of Haines Jct. near bridge over Dezadeash River

First 1 km is boardwalk or wood chip surface which joins old trail from R.V. park. Bird and wildlife observation platform and benches are situated along trail. 2 km loop splits the trail at the 1.4 km point.

Detailed Dezadeash River Trail description 

Kokanee

Distance: 1 km (0.6 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 10 - 30 min / Easy
Elevation Gain: 3 m (10')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: Kathleen Lake Day-Use Area

Wheel chair accessible boardwalk trail along the shores of Kathleen Lake.

Rock Glacier

Distance: 1.6 km (1 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 0.5 - 2 hours / Easy
Elevation Gain: 90 m (300')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: 50 km (31 mi) south of Haines Junction on the Haines Road

The Rock Glacier Trail is a self-guiding trail with interpretive panels providing interesting information on the rock glacier. This is an easy walk and an excellent way to see and learn about rock glaciers.

Detailed Rock Glacier Trail description 

Moderate

Sheep Creek

Distance: 10 km (6 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 3 - 6 hours / Moderate
Elevation Gain: 430 m (1400')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: Ä’äy Chù West trailhead

Camping not permitted. This popular trail climbs along side of Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) and above Sheep Creek. It offers excellent views of the Ä’äy Chù (Slims River) Valley as it opens up into the sub alpine.

Detailed Sheep Creek Trail description 

Bullion Plateau

Distance: 24 km (15 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 6.5 - 9 hours / Moderate
Elevation Gain: 885 m (2900')
Trail or Route: Trail to 9.3 km post, route from 9.3 km to 12.0 km post

Trailhead: Ä’äy Chù West trailhead

Camping not permitted. The Bullion Plateau is a great but strenuous day hike for those wanting to experience the sub alpine and alpine areas in the north end of the park. Abundant wildflowers and excellent views of the Ä’äy Chù (Slims River) and Sheep Creek valleys are some of the highlights of this hike. Great views of Red Castle Ridge, as well as a glimpse of the toe of the Kaskawulsh glacier can be seen.

Detailed Bullion Plateau Trail description 

Auriol

Distance: 15 km (9 mi) loop
Time/Difficulty: 4-6 hours or overnight / Moderate
Elevation Gain: 400 m (1300')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: 7 km (4.5 mi) south of Haines Junction on the Haines Highway

One of Kluane's cut trails. Starts in spruce and aspen forest, branches into a loop after 2 km, and climbs up to the sub-alpine above Haines Junction. Some bridges over creeks. Access route to alpine and peaks of the Auriol Range. Primitive campground at top. Popular ski trail.

Detailed Auriol Trail description  

Shorty Creek

Distance: 22 km (14 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 6 - 9 hours / Moderate
Elevation Gain: 275 m (900')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: 55 km (34 mi) south of Haines Junction on the Haines Highway

The hike is fairly steep but quite easy as it follows an old mining road for most of the distance. There are good opportunities to see wildlife and examples of the mining equipment that was used to extract the gold from the creek that 'Long Shorty' Bigelow first mined in 1896.

Detailed Shorty Creek Trail description 

Mush Lake Road

Distance: 52 km (32 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 1-2 days / Easy
Elevation Gain: 30 m (100')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: 55 km (34 mi) south of Haines Junction on the Haines Highway

Four wheel drive access road to Mush Lake. One large creek (Alder) to cross with no bridge. Two-wheel drive vehicles with good clearance can drive in the first 5 km to Alder Creek when conditions are good. Good mountain biking trail. Shorty Creek Trail and the Cottonwood Trail branch off this road.

Detailed Mush Lake Road Trail description 

St. Elias Lake

Distance: 7.6 km (4.8 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 2-4 hours / Easy
Elevation Gain: 120 m (400')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: 60 km (37.5 mi) south of Haines Junction on the Haines Highway

Old recreation road that leads up to a small lake. This trail provides for a short day hike on easy terrain through a variety of habitats. It is enjoyable for the whole family and is a popular overnight trip. 

Detailed St. Elias Lake Trail description 

Difficult

Ä’äy Chù (Slim’s) West

Distance: 45 km (27.4 mi) return from trailhead to Canada Creek
Time/Difficulty: 3-6 days / Difficult
Elevation Gain: 97 m (318')
Trail or Route: Trail to Canada Creek, route from Canada Creek to Observation Mountain summit

Trailhead: Ä’äy Chù West trailhead

Use of bear resistant food canisters is mandatory for all overnight trips on this trail. Follows old mining road 6 km to Bullion Creek (mountain bikes allowed far as Bullion Creek). Follows Ä’äy Chù (Slims River) west bank for 22.3 km to Canada Creek and primitive campground, the end of the maintained trail. A route (i.e. there is no trail) heads up Canada and Columbia Creek to slopes that can be climbed to access the alpine plateau west of Observation Mountain and then to the summit of Observation Mountain which overlooks Kaskawulsh Glacier.

Detailed Ä’äy Chù (Slims River) West Trail and Route description 

King’s Throne

Distance: 10 km (6 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 4 - 6 hours / Very Difficult
Elevation Gain: 400 m (1300')
Trail or Route: Trail to cirque (first 5 km), route to summit (last 3 km)

Trailhead: Kathleen Lake day-use area, 27 km (17 mi) south of Haines Junction on the Haines Highway

This is a steep trail up to a spectacular cirque - the "seat" of the King’s Throne. Alpine flowers and great views are some of the highlights of this route.

Detailed King’s Throne Trail and Route description 

Cottonwood

Distance: 85 km (53 mi) loop
Time/Difficulty: 4 - 6 days / Difficult
Elevation Gain: 520 m (1700')
Trail or Route: Trail

Trailhead: Kathleen Lake Day-Use Area, or 55 km (34 mi) south of Haines Junction on the Haines Highway

Use of bear resistant food canisters is mandatory for all overnight trips. Can start at either Kathleen Lake or the south end of Dezadeash Lake. The longest true trail in Kluane, which travels old mining roads through two alpine passes. 17 km of the trail follows the Mush Lake road which is open to 4-wheel drive access and mountain bikes. 25 km of the trail is above tree-line. The start of the trail is 30 km away from the end of the trail on the Haines Highway.

Detailed Cottonwood Trail description 

Route Descriptions

Difficult

Ä’äy Chù (Slim’s) East

Distance: 46 km (28 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 2 - 4 days / Difficult
Elevation Gain: 910 m (3000')
Trail or Route: Route

Trailhead: 3 km (1.9 mi) south of Tachäl Dhäl Visitor Centre

Use of bear resistant food canisters is mandatory for all overnight trips. Follow old road for first 6 km, then cross several rocky creek beds while skirting the edge of the Ä’äy Chù (Slims River). Intermittent footpaths marked with cairns or log posts sometimes assist hikers through difficult sections. Route provides access to mountain slope across from the toe of the Kaskawulsh Glacier for good views.

Detailed Ä’äy Chù (Slims River) East Route description 

Very Difficult

Dän Zhùr (Donjek)

Distance: 96 km (60 mi) loop
Time/Difficulty: 8 - 10 days / Very Difficult
Elevation Gain: 2770 m (9100')
Trail or Route: Route

Trailhead: Shär Ndü Chù (Duke River) 9 km (5.6 mi) north of Burwash Landing

One of the most popular hikes for wilderness enthusiasts is the Donjek Route. Rising over the vast alpine of the Burwash Uplands and then descending to the toe of the Donjek Glacier, this hike typifies "pristine mountain wilderness.” 

Detailed Dän Zhùr (Donjek) Route description

Tachäl Dhäl Ridge

Distance: 11 km (7 mi) loop
Time/Difficulty: 6 - 10 hours / Very Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1310 m (4300')
Trail or Route: Route

Trailhead: 2 km north of Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) Visitor Centre

This is a long challenging day hike, which involves some steep off- trail travel. It offers hikers spectacular panoramic vistas and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Detailed Tachäl Dhäl Ridge Walk Route description 

Observation Mountain Plateau/Summit

Distance: 19 km (12 mi) return from Canada Creek Campsite (end of Ä’äy Chù (Slim’s) West trail)
Time/Difficulty: 1- 2 days / Very Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1920 m (6299')
Trail or Route: Route

Trailhead: Ä’äy Chù West trailhead

Use of bear resistant food canisters is mandatory. Follows old mining road 6 km to Bullion Creek (mountain bikes allowed far as Bullion Creek). Follows Ä’äy Chù (Slims River) west bank for 22.3 km to Canada Creek and primitive campground, the end of the maintained trail. A route (i.e. there is no trail) heads up Canada and Columbia Creek to slopes that can be climbed to access the alpine plateau west of Observation Mountain and then to the summit of Observation Mountain which overlooks Kaskawulsh Glacier.

Detailed Ä’äy Chù (Slims River) West Trail and Route description 

Mt. Decoeli Summit

Distance: 18 km (11 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 7 - 11 hours / Very Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1340 m (4400')
Trail or Route: Route

Trailhead: 19 km (11 mi) north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway.

Follows rocky streambed 4 km to rock glacier. Climbs to a pass west of the summit and then follows a steep ridge to top. Good views of the Icefield Ranges on a clear day, including Mt. Logan.

Detailed Mt. Decoeli Route description 

Kimberley Meadows

Distance: 62 km (37 mi) loop
Time/Difficulty: 4 - 5 days / Very Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1219 m (4000')
Trail or Route: Route

Trailhead: 19 km (11 mi) north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway

This is a challenging route that requires good route finding skills. Steep side hilling, creek crossing and bushwhacking skills are also needed. There is ample opportunity to see wildlife along the route, including hoary marmots, Dall sheep, golden eagles, moose, coyote, and grizzly bear. There are spectacular wildflowers and rewarding views. 

Detailed Kimberley Meadows Route description

Quill Creek

Distance: 36 km (22 mi) return
Time/Difficulty: 2 - 4 days / Very Difficult
Elevation Gain: 730 m (2400')
Trail or Route: Route

Trailhead: 13 km (8 mi) south of Haines Junction on the Haines Highway

Quill Creek takes you into the heart of the Auriol Range. So named for its abundance of porcupines, Quill Creek offers excellent opportunities to view wildlife including Dall sheep, golden eagles, pikas and grizzlies if you are fortunate enough to observe one from a safe distance. The walking is rugged with creek crossings, side hilling and some bushwhacking. Don't be faint of heart! The alpine meadows and spectacular scenery are well worth the effort.

Detailed Quill Creek Route description 

King’s Throne Summit

Distance: 6 km (3.8 mi) return from cirque to summit (16 km (10 mi) return from trailhead to summit)
Time/Difficulty: 2 - 4 hours / Very Difficult
Elevation Gain: 710 m (2329')
Trail or Route: Trail to cirque (first 5 km), route to summit (last 3 km)

Trailhead: End of King’s Throne Trail at cirque

This is a steep trail up to a spectacular cirque - the "seat" of the King’s Throne. Alpine flowers and great views are some of the highlights of this route.

Detailed King’s Throne Trail and Route description 


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