Mount Decoli Route
19 km north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway
9 km one way
7 - 11 hours
1340 M (4400')
2330 M (7650')
1:50 000 Topographic Map:
Kloo Lake 115A/13
This route is a long day hike that ascends Mt. Decoli. The climb is not technical but there is a section near the summit which is quite steep with some loose rock (the last 240 M or 800'). The route begins at the top of Bear Creek Summit, about 19 km north-west of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway. There is ample opportunity to see wildlife along the route, including hoary marmots, Dall sheep, golden eagles, and the occasional wolverine and grizzly bear. The most rewarding part of the route are the spectacular views. Mt. Decoli is situated so that it almost extends out into the Shakwak valley. The vantage point at the summit provides views half way to Whitehorse, south to Dezadeash Lake, and northwest as far as the branching arms on Kluane Lake. On a clear day, Mt. Decoli also affords breathtaking views of Mt. Logan, Mt. Vancouver, Mt. Kennedy, Mt. Hubbard, Mt. Alverstone, the Weisshorn, and countless other peaks in the icefields.
The route begins from a parking area on the left side of the highway just 700 meters north of Bear Creek Summit. Follow the new trail cut from the parking lot to Summit Creek (about 1 km). Watch where the trail comes out to the creek so you can find it on your way back (it is possible to follow the creek to the highway but the few people who have done this compared it to 1.5 km of tropical jungle with dense willow and alder). The route then follows the creek staying on the left hand side on the lower section with occasional shortcuts along old, dried up stream channels. At a point a few kilometres up you may choose to cross the creek, which may be fairly high in the spring or hot days, or stay to the left until reaching the base of the rock glacier and crossing there. The route branches off the creek to the right along the north side of the rock glacier. To the right there is an alpine meadow with numerous scattered boulders. These boulders are home to a colony of hoary marmots. Continue along the rock glacier past a temporary creek that comes off the south side of Decoli and past a small ridge. Here the route climbs northward to a pass between Mt. Decoli and an unnamed peak to the southwest. From this pass follow the ridge up to the summit of the mountain. As mentioned earlier, there is some loose rock on the final slope below the summit.
Good boots are a must for hiking on the loose rock sections and the boulders along the creek. You may want to take 1-2 litres of water with you, especially on a hot day. Binoculars or a spotting scope are very useful for wildlife viewing and for observing distant mountains.
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