Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada

Alsek Valley Trail

Trailhead:
10 km north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway
Distance:
29 km one way
Time:
1-3 days return trip
Elevation Gain:
92 M (300')
Maximum Elevation:
610 M (2000')
1:50 000 Topographic Map:
Kloo Lake A/13

Overview

This trail follows an old mining road into Sugden (Ferguson) Creek. The first 15 km are open to 4-wheel drive access. This is a good bad weather trail due to the rocky surface of the trail and its low position in the valley, however, narrow streams sometime prevent even high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles from proceeding. This trail makes an excellent biking trail. The openness of the Alsek valley may provide opportunities to view wildlife from a distance.

Description

The trail begins on the west side of the highway just across the road from Bear Creek Lodge (previously MacIntosh Lodge). It is relatively flat and easy to follow. It passes through open grassland, across several alluvial fans, gravel washes, and through stands of spruce and poplar. There are a few creek crossings, which can be high during spring run-off, heavy rainfall, or hot weather.

The park boundary is located 6.2 km down the road. The rock outcrop to the left makes for a good rest stop and wildlife viewing area. High beach ridges left behind by a succession of glacial lakes are also apparent from here. Further down the Alsek valley, the Lowell glacier has surged across the valley four different times during the past 12,000 years, damming the Alsek River and creating glacial lakes, the last one having drained only just over a century ago.

Continuing along the road past the rock outcrop, you will eventually come to the large washout area of Serpentine Creek. Here, a creek crossing will be necessary to go along further.

Approximately an hour past Serpentine Creek is a wooded area where you will find a park gate at kilometer 15.4. Vehicles are not permitted beyond this point. Further along the road, just after the 20.9 km sign, are old boards strewn about which are the remnants of a corral built for an old horse camp. The next kilometer posting marks the junction of the Alsek, Dezadeash and Kaskawulsh Rivers. It will take about 2 hours from here to reach Sugden Creek (this creek may be called Ferguson on older maps). This is the end of the trail and is marked by the 25.9 km post. Sugden may be difficult to cross even when the water is low. There are some old mining cabins on the other side.

Comments

This trail is also open to mountain biking. Both hikers and mountain bikers should be alert for bears and use caution when travelling up wind. Please leave artifacts undisturbed.

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.

Trails and Routes