© Parks Canada / F. Mueller
Wilderness Nature of the Park
Kluane National Park and Reserve is a remote wilderness park. Travellers must be entirely self-sufficient and able to handle any emergency situations on their own. Plan ahead. Select a trip which suits your party and ensure that you are properly equipped for your trip.
In the event of an emergency you should be prepared for lengthy delays in search and rescue response times due to weather conditions and/or the availability of both aircraft and rescue personnel.
Parks Canada 24 Hour Emergency Dispatch
1-877-852-3100 (toll free)
1-780-852-3100 (Note: some satellite phones do not accept toll free numbers)
Note: While cell phones work in Haines Junction they are out of range in almost all areas of the park.
Between April 1st and November 15th registration for overnight trips into the park is mandatory and you must purchase a Backcountry Permit.
In addition, approved bear resistant food canisters are mandatory for all overnight backcountry trips in the park during this time. Canisters are provided on loan free of charge with registration and deposit. Approved bear-resistant food containers are those products listed as certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.
Upon completing a trip, you must check back in with the park. If you fail to deregister you may be financially responsible for the search for your group. Checking back in also allows park staff to gain current information on the area you were in.
During the summer operating season (Victoria Day long weekend in May through to the third weekend in September) visitors must register for overnight trips and obtain bear resistant food canisters at the Kluane National Park Visitor Centre at the Da Kų Cultural Centre in Haines Junction or at the Tachäl Dhäl Visitor Centre.
During the shoulder seasons (April 1 to Victoria Day long weekend in May AND after the third weekend in September to November 15) visitors must self-register at the Kluane National Park and Reserve Visitor Centre at the Da Kų Cultural Centre in Haines Junction. A self registration kiosk is located at the front door of the Visitor Centre. Backcountry permit fees apply. De-registration (either by phone or at the self-registration box) is also required upon completion of the trip.
Visitors must call (867) 634-7207 to arrange a time with Parks Canada staff to pick up the mandatory bear resistant food canisters. It is strongly recommended that this arrangement is made in advance of your arrival to Haines Junction.
Winter Backcountry Safety
Between November 16th and March 31st registration for overnight trips into the backcountry is not required. You are responsible for your own safety. You should file a travel plan with a friend or family member whether you are heading out for the day or on a multi-day trip.
Areas may be temporarily closed for safety or environmental reasons.
Unsettled skies © Parks Canada / F.Mueller
Mountain weather is highly unpredictable. It can change quickly and/or vary greatly from one location to another. At higher elevations the temperature is generally colder and the weather is more unpredictable. Rain or snow can fall at any time of the year and freezing temperatures are possible even during the summer. The best way to deal with the weather is to prepare for all conditions.
Check the weather forecast:
The risk of hypothermia is significant to outdoor recreationists. Hypothermia occurs when your core body temperature drops below a level that your vital organs can function at. It is caused by exposure to cold and is aggravated by wetness, wind and exhaustion. Most cases develop in fairly mild air temperatures between -1° C (30° F) and 10°C (50° F).
Prevention is the best cure:
- Wear appropriate clothing: layers that provide warmth even when wet, and warm hat and gloves
Eat! The body needs the energy from food to create warmth. Keep a supply of high-energy food accessible
Travel at the speed of the slowest member of your party. Don't let anyone become exhausted, their ability to stay alert and orientated will decrease
Take breaks, stay warm. Make camp before fatigue sets in
- Take the weather into consideration! Assess changing conditions and adjust your plans accordingly
Be alert to the first signs of hypothermia and act immediately if you start to shiver and feel numb, if you have difficulty speaking and if your muscle coordination becomes difficult.
Creek crossings occur on most trails and routes in the park. Water levels will change throughout the summer and even over the course of the day. If a stream crossing appears to be very difficult and risky, turn back. There are many techniques for crossing creeks in a group. You should ensure you are well versed in creek-crossing techniques before you leave. You can discuss these with the Visitor Centre staff. Some suggestions:
Crossing upper Victoria Creek © Parks Canada / S. Donker
- Try to cross streams early in the day when water levels are often lowest
- Always undo the waist strap of your pack for easy removal in case you fall
- Cross at a wide, shallow point that is not above rapids
- Don't cross barefoot; use boots or running shoes
Face upstream while crossing
- Use a sturdy stick or trekking poles for support and for testing water depth: position the stick upstream as it will provide more support
Cross in a group for greater stability by holding on to fellow hiker's hands or backpack straps
Water Quality Concerns
Unfortunately, cases of Giardia or Beaver Fever have been reported in Kluane National Park & Reserve. To avoid contracting biological and chemical diseases you are advised to either:
- Fine filter (<0.5 microns)
- Treat (UV, iodine or chlorine in warm water)
- Boil your drinking water.
To prevent the spread of Giardia and other diseases you should bury feces in the top 15 cm (6") of soil and at least 30 m (100') above the high water mark of any water body.
The chance to observe wild animals as they go about their natural lives is one of the most fascinating experiences that Canada's national parks have to offer.
Moose © Parks Canada
Along with this opportunity comes the responsibility to treat wild animals with the respect they deserve, and need. Wildlife generally prefer to avoid humans. However, some animals may charge and even attack people when surprised, or if they feel you are threatening their young or their food.
- Stay alert
Never approach or feed wildlife
- Keep pets on a leash at all times.
Familiarize yourself with the principles and practices of safe travel in bear country. The You are in Bear Country brochure provides important information about traveling and camping in bear country.
Parks Canada recommends carrying bear spray with you at all times on the trail.