Quill Creek Route
© Parks Canada / Emma Hansen
Distance: 36 km (22mi) return
Time: 2-4 days
Elevation Gain: 730 m (2,400')
Maximum Elevation: 1,980 m (6,500')
Trailhead: 13 km (8 mi) south of Haines Junction on the Haines Highway, at the Quill Creek bridge
Topo Maps: Kathleen Lakes 115 A/11, Auriol 115 A/12
A route is not a trail. Routes are not marked with signs or maintained in any manner. The route described here is only a suggestion that may help guide you on your trip. Self-reliance and wilderness travel experience are essential, including excellent route finding skills, map and compass skills. It is the responsibility of individual hikers who choose to follow such routes to adequately prepare and be prepared to rely on themselves.
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 Dhal 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.
The first section of this route begins from the highway, traveling about 7 km westwards along Quill Creek to a 60 m (200') deep canyon. Hike up the south side of the creek.
Once the canyon is reached, it can be bypassed by ascending a steep slope, through the sub alpine, to the south (or left) of the creek. The valley ahead will gradually widen allowing you to descend to Quill Creek. A short distance ahead you will encounter another small canyon that can be by passed on the left. Continue until the creek forks. There is a good campsite between the forks with room for several tents. From here you can establish a base camp to explore the higher meadows and valleys of Quill Creek Pass.
Ascend a small ridge that leads to a willow-infested plateau above your campsite. To avoid the majority of the willows keep to your extreme right as you follow the embankment of the right hand fork (looking upstream). Eventually you will reach an intermittent stream entering from a valley on your left. Descend to the streambed of Quill Creek taking the right hand fork. Continue in a westerly direction until you reach a moraine with a large depression a short distance ahead. The depression marks the summit of Quill Creek Pass. From the toe of the moraine ascend the steep alpine slope to the west until you reach a plateau for a view of the distant peaks of the St. Elias Mountains. Several side valleys located on the south side of Quill Creek, which are excellent for day hikes. Glaciers, jagged peaks and alpine meadows await the hiker who wishes to do some exploring.
What You Need to Know
For all overnight trips in the park Approved Bear Resistant Food Canisters are mandatory and a Wilderness Permit is required, both can be obtained from the Kluane National Park and Reserve Visitor Centre in Haines Junction. For more information: Overnight Registration.
Bear sightings are common in this area. Review recommendations for travel in the You Are In Bear Country brochure. All bear sightings should be reported to the staff at one of the Visitor Centres.
Parks Canada 24 Hour Emergency Dispatch
Cellular telephones do not work in most of the park. Satellite phones or satellite messaging devices are strongly recommended.