Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada

Ä’äy Chù (Slim’s River) East Route

Trailhead:
3 km south of Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) Visitor Centre
Distance:
23 km one way
Time:
2 - 4 days return trip
Elevation Gain:
1340 M (4400')
Maximum Elevation:
1680 M (5500')
1:50,000 Topographic Map:
Slims River 115 B/15

Overview

The Ä’äy Chù (Slim's River) East route follows the East shore of the Ä’äy Chù (Slim's River) to the toe of the Kaskawulsh glacier. The elevation gain occurs mainly at the end of the route, for the climb up the ridge for a view of the glacier. This hike and its destination are similar to the Slims West route but is a bit easier and takes less time to complete. For your safety you must register for all overnight trips in the valley.

Description

After registering at the Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) Visitor Centre, drive or hike south on the Alaska highway to a small pull-off on the south side of the road about 3 km south of the Visitor Centre. From here, if the gate is open, you can drive another 3 km further on a narrow dirt road. Watch for a trail marker on the left that marks the beginning of the route. If you reach the creek, you have gone too far.

About 1.5 km along the route you will reach Vulcan Creek. It has changed course several times over the years and washed out sections of the route. Watch for rock cairns guiding the way through this area. Use caution when crossing the creek, as there will be varying amounts of water flowing depending on the weather and season.

Once across the creek watch for the last post as this directs you to an old clear-cut trail. Follow this trail to an alluvial fan. It can be difficult to find the route after traversing alluvial fans, so be sure to note where you exit the trees onto the fan to help you find the trail on the way back. Once you have found the trail on the other side of the Vulcan creek fan, the trail crosses the end of a rock glacier. The rock glacier is forested, but can be recognised by the way it is breaking off into the valley, causing cracks in the ground, and splitting trees in half from the bottom.

When the water level is lower, people have been known to hike along the riverbed. Remember that Slim’s River is named after a horse that sank and was killed in the dangerous ‘quick mud’, so it’s best to watch where you step!

A good camping spot is about 15 km up the valley, near a small pond. There are other camping spots over the next 6 km. The last two km before the toe of the Kaskawulsh glacier are not recommended for camping, due to high winds and blowing silt. There is a nice vantage point from the hill at the foot of the glacier. You can see the south arm converging with the main glacier by climbing up the mountain facing the glacier. An extra day should be planned to accommodate this climb.

Comments

This description outlines only one of many possibilities for hiking this route. Changes in creek levels, the course of the Ä’äy Chù (Slim's River), bear sightings, etc., may require hikers to vary their route considerably. You will have to rely on your owns skills and discretion when choosing your route.

Unfortunately, cases of giardia have been reported in the Ä’äy Chù (Slims River) Valley. Water should be boiled, treated with tablets, or filtered.

Bear sightings are common in this area. The use of bear resistant food canisters is mandatroy. 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