Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada

Quill Creek Route

Trailhead:
13 kms south of Haines Junction on the Haines Road
Distance:
18 kms one way
Time:
2-4 days
Elevation Gain:
730 M (2400')
Maximum Elevation:
1980 M (6500')
1:50 000 Topo Maps:
Kathleen Lakes 115 A/11
Auriol 115 A/12

Overview

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.

Description

The first section of this route begins from the highway, travelling about 7 km west along Quill creek to a 60 m (200') deep canyon. There are two options for hiking this section. The first is to climb onto a high ridge on the north side of the creek and follow a game trail to where the creek flows out of the canyon. The views of the creek and valley from this ridge are excellent. This route requires crossing the creek if you wish to continue further. The second option is to hike up the south side of the creek. This route involves more bushwhacking and is usually taken to avoid crossing the creek. The views aren't as good from this 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.

Comments

This description outlines only one of many possibilities for hiking this route. Changes in creek levels, weather, bear sightings, mining activity, etc. may require hikers to vary their route considerably. You will have to rely on your owns skills and discretion when choosing your route.

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