Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada

Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) Ridge

Trailhead:
2 kms north of Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) Visitor Centre
Distance:
11 km loop
Time:
6-10 hrs round trip
Elevation Gain:
1312 M (4300')
Maximum Elevation:
1922 M (6300')
1:50 000 Topo Map:
Congdon Creek 115 G/2

Overview

This is a long challenging day hike (6 - 10 hrs depending on hikers; 1312 m/4300 ft elevation gain over 2.5 km), which involves some steep off trail travel. It offers hikers spectacular panoramic vistas and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

The route connects the Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) Northeast Ridge Route and the Sheep Creek Trail. It is best done by climbing the steeper Northeast Ridge and descending via the more gradual Sheep Creek Trail. Leaving a vehicle at the Slims West/Sheep Creek trailhead parking area will eliminate the 4 km walk along the Slims West Access Road and Alaska Highway back to the starting point. An alternative is to start from the Slims West/Sheep Creek trailhead and return via the same route.

The chances of seeing Dall Sheep on the back of the mountain or on Mt. Wallace are very good during the summer. Please avoid approaching the sheep to the point of disturbing them, especially when lambs are present. The stress and movement disrupts the sheep's feeding behavior and may move them into dangerous situations (near predators).

Description

The Northeast Ridge Route starts on the Alaska Highway across from the boat launch about 2 km north of the Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) Visitor Centre. Parking is available at the boat launch pull off. A small footpath, marked by a cairn, heads up the ridge for about 460 M (1500') worth of elevation gain before it becomes scattered and no longer clear to follow. From this point continue up the ridge, and within a couple of hills the rest of the route to the top of the ridge becomes visible. This is the most difficult section of the route but spectacular views back over Kluane Lake make frequent rest stops rewarding. Some hikers may find the ridge satisfies their hiking interest and opt to return down the ridge.

The northernmost peak on the ridge is the summit of the mountain. From here you are rewarded with breathtaking views of Kluane Lake, the Ruby Range, the highway corridor, Mt. Wallace, Kluane Plateau, Outpost Mountain, the Sheep-Bullion Plateau and Red Castle Ridge. Continue south along the ridge by following sheep trails along the ridge top. Several satellite peaks along the ridge overlook the Slims River Valley, Mt. Vulcan and the toe of the Kaskawulsh Glacier.

From the last large satellite peak two ridges descend towards the valley floor. It is not recommended to follow the ridge, which descends south towards the Slims valley, as the descent is steep and difficult. The easiest route follows the ridge which heads almost straight west towards Forty-eight Pup Creek. This ridge slopes down to the end of Sheep Creek Trail with a short section of scattered willow to travel through at the bottom of the ridge before reaching the trail. From here it is 4.5 km to the start of the Sheep Creek trail. Where the trail meets an old road (the Slims West Trail), turn left; it is about 200 metres to the trailhead parking area.

Comments

An early start is recommended due to the length of the hike and to allow hikers to take advantage of cooler morning temperatures for the climb up the mountain. Good boots and weatherproof clothing are essential. Water is not available along the route so be sure to bring enough.

This hike usually provides excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. The southeast face of Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) above the Visitor Centre is a special preservation area, which provides important winter forage for the Dhal sheep. Please do not hike in this area.

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.

Please Note:
All overnight camping is prohibited within this area
due to bear activity. For more detailed information please contact park staff at the Haines Junction Visitor Centre or at the Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountainl) Visitor Centre.

This description outlines only one of many possibilities for hiking this route. Weather, animal sightings, etc. may require hikers to vary their route considerably. You will have to rely on your own skills and discretion when choosing your route.

Trails and Routes