Black bear (Ursus americanus) © Parks Canada / Rene Rivard
The Chilkoot Trail is located in an area home to both black and grizzly bears. Bears have an acute sense of smell and are attracted to human food, garbage, and other items with strong odours. Bears who obtain human food/garbage quickly develop a taste for it, and can become bothersome as they become increasingly persistent in their attempts to obtain more.
Food-storage caches. © National Park Service / Matt Hays
Do your Part
You can help promote the harmonious co-existence of bears and hikers on the Chilkoot by ensuring that you are not presenting bears with opportunities to get a hold of food and garbage.
- During the day when on the trail: always keep your backpacks within arms reach.
- Immediately upon arrival in camp: securely stow all food and other attractants (food leftovers/garbage; dishes/pots/utensils; stove/fuel; and toiletries/first aid kit/medications).
Cook and eat only at designated eating areas (shelters or picnic tables) not at tent sites.
Avoid smelly foods (use dried or prepackaged food instead). Plan meals carefully to reduce leftovers.
Report all bear sightings to Park staff.
Learn about Bear Safety
Familiarize yourself with the principles and practices of safe travel in bear country.
- Read the "You Are in Bear Country" brochure.
- Watch the “Staying Safe in Bear Country” video at the National Park Service Visitor Reception Centre (across the street from the Trail Centre) in Skagway before starting your hike.
Parks Canada recommends carrying bear spray with you at all times on the trail.
Any product intended for protection against people (mace, tear gas, etc.) is not legal in Canada. You may carry bear spray on the Chilkoot Trail as long as it is clearly labelled for use on animals and the package weight/volume does not exceed 500 gr/500 ml. Be advised that it is not permissible to carry bear spray on a commercial airline, even in your checked baggage.
Travel Restrictions and Area Closures
Bear activity can result in travel restrictions and /or area closures. Check IMPORTANT BULLETINS.