Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada

Alsek River Designated Campsites


© Parks Canada / L. Gorecki

Designated Campsite Locations

Campsite NumberGeneral Description / LocationUTM
(Zone 8) Easting / Northing
(NAD 27)
Side of RiverPotential
for Bear
/ Human Encounter
Potential for
Displacement of Bears
1 Serpentine Creek 350275 / 6733675 River
Right
Low Low
2 Point of peninsula 348750 / 6730000 River
Left
Low Low
3 Small point in bay before Beachview 347925 / 6727900 River
Left
Low-Mod Low-Mod
4 North side of Beachview Fan 347275 / 6726950 River
Left
Mod Mod
5 Above Lava Creek 345025 / 6717550 River
Right
Low Low
6 Lava Rocks 345175 / 6716975 River
Left
Low-Mod Low-Mod
7 Lava Creek 344975 / 6716025 River
Right
Low-Mod Low-Mod
8 Marble Creek 344850 / 6702575 River
Right
Low-Mod Low-Mod
9 Above Lowell Lake 336100 / 6690050 River
Right
Low-Mod Mod
10 Lowell Lake 335825 / 6686950 River
Left
Low Low-Mod
11 Lowell Lake 335900 / 6686600 River
Left
Low Low-Mod

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Campsite Risk Assessments

Designated campsites have been assessed as having low, low to moderate or moderate potential for bear-human encounters and possible displacement of bears from their habitat.

The location of designated campsites were chosen and assessed by considering several factors including:

  • evidence of previous use by river travellers
  • the abundance of bear food plants available
  • the amount of bear sign such as scats, mark trees, trails and beds
  • features that reduce the ability of bears and people to detect each other such as thick vegetation, prevailing winds, and noise from creeks
  • geographic features that influence the likelihood of a bear travelling in an area, such as constrictions in terrain.

Serpentine Creek to the Dezadeash/Kaskawulsh Confluence

From Serpentine Creek to Beachview Creek, camping is restricted to four designated campsites. Campsites 1 and 2 are recommended because they have the lowest potential for bear-human encounters and displacement of bears.

Campsite 1 (River Right) - Serpentine Creek

UTM 8V 50275/6733675 (NAD 27)

This campsite is downstream of Serpentine Creek on the Northeast edge of a large patch of alders. A primitive road leads to this popular campsite and boat launch. There is a low abundance of bear foods at and immediately adjacent to this campsite. There has been no evidence that bears travel through this campsite regularly. The terrain at and adjacent to the campsite is flat and travel is unrestricted. Bears are not funnelled through this campsite.

Potential for Encounters Rated: Low

  • visibility is good in areas surrounding the campsite, however a stand of alders at the campsite makes visibility poor
  • this campsite is frequently used by day visitors, backpackers and river travellers so there may be higher potential for bears to obtain food or garbage at this site

Potential for Displacement Rated: Low

  • this campsite has lower quality feeding habitat
  • bears travelling along the river have alternate routes to avoid this campsite
Campsite 2 (River Left) - Point of Peninsula

UTM 8V 348750/6730000 (NAD 27)

This campsite is on river left at the southern tip of the large peninsula between Serpentine Creek and Beachview Creek. Relative to other areas, food abundance is relatively low. Bearroot and horsetail are sparse. Soapberry and locoweed are scattered along the edge and within the poplar/willow strip. The campsite is open and visibility is good towards the head of the peninsula. Visibility is obstructed along the outer edges of the peninsula, which is surrounded by water. Note: when water levels are low this campsite may be difficult to access.

Potential for Encounters Rated: Low

  • high quality bear habitat and a network of well used game trails are located at the north end of the peninsula and on the mainland river edge

Potential for Displacement Rated: Low

  • bears are likely to choose the higher quality habitats at the head of the lagoon and on the mainland edge of the river for feeding and travel
 
Campsite 3 (River Left) - Small point in bay before Beachview

UTM 8V 347925/6727900 (NAD 27)

This campsite is approximately 100 - 150 m upstream from the southern tip of a small peninsula. Visibility is relatively good. The main camping area is open and the terrain is flat. Bearroot and locoweed are sparse. Soapberry is common in and along the edges of the open spruce and mixed spruce/poplar forests to the south and southeast. Kinnikinnick and red bearberry are common with patchy distribution in the same habitats as soapberry. While bears are likely to use this campsite occasionally, they can easily avoid it.

Potential for Encounters Rated: Low - Moderate

  • abundance of bear sign and high quality of habitat increases as you move away from the campsite, thus, the potential for encounters also increases.
  • camp in the open and as close to the river as possible. Hiking away from this campsite will greatly increase the potential for encounters and is not recommended.

Potential for Displacement Rated: Low to Moderate

  • bears have alternatives to avoid the campsite if they detect people
Campsite 4 (River Left) - Beachview (north side of fan)

UTM 8V 347275/6726950 (NAD 27)

This campsite is located on the upstream edge of the large alluvial fan located upstream of Beachview Creek. There is good visibility in all directions except a thick poplar/willow patch to the southeast. There is a low abundance of bear foods. Soapberry is abundant and kinnikinnick is common along the edge and behind the poplar/willow patch. A prominent and well-used game trail, with abundant bear sign, parallels the edge of the poplar/willow patch directly behind the campsite.

Potential for Encounters Rated: Moderate

  • bears have frequently been observed near this campsite
  • abundance of bear sign and high quality of habitat increases as you move away from the campsite, thus, the potential for interactions also increases
  • hiking away from this campsite is not recommended
  • camp in the open and as close to the river as possible
  • do not camp near the game trail

Potential for Displacement Rated: Moderate

  • the edges of this fan and the confluence is a productive well-used feeding area with locoweed and soapberry
  • bears have alternative travel routes around this campsite but may be displaced from what appears to be a major travel route along the river.

Kaskawulsh / Dezadeash Confluence to Campsite 9

Camping within this zone is restricted to one night. Two camping areas have been established on the river. The first area is at Lava Creek, which offers a choice of three assessed campsites, and the second area is at Marble Creek with one assessed campsite. Camping at designated campsites within camping zones is recommended.

Campsite 5 (River Right) - Above Lava Creek

UTM 8V 345025/6717550 (NAD 27)

Bear food and sign observed at this campsite were low. There was little evidence that bears use this area on more than an occasional basis. It is likely that most bears chose to travel on the other side of the river or possibly inland above the rock face. There are higher quality habitats for bears immediately upstream of this campsite.

Potential for Encounters Rated: Low

  • rocky knolls restrict visibility
  • stay alert for bears and make noise when walking around the lava rocks, particularly when walking to and from the lava pool to the west
  • hiking away from this campsite is not recommended

Potential for Displacement Rated: Low

  • there are better food sources upstream of the campsite
  • bears likely chose alternative routes for travel around this campsite
Campsite 6 (River Left) - Lava Rocks

UTM 8V 345175/6716975 (NAD 27)

There is a low to moderate abundance of bear foods at this campsite. There are patches of bearroot, kinnikinnick and horsetail. Locoweed is scattered in the openings. Soapberry is sparse in the open flats around the campsite but more abundant along the edges of the trees. There was relatively little bear sign observed at this campsite. Visibility is poor at the base of the large rock outcrop in the small bay to the north. Visibility is good at the campsite downstream of the large rock outcrop. If bears detect people they have alternatives to avoid the campsite. Note: that when water levels are low this campsite may be difficult to access.

Potential for Encounters Rated: Low - Moderate

  • camp in the large open area downstream of the large rock outcrop
  • poor visibility at the upstream campsite in the small bay will make it more difficult to detect bears
  • the potential for surprise encounters increases with distance from the campsite because vegetation and rock reduce visibility
  • the safest route to the lava pools is to hike in the open where visibility is the best, downstream from the campsite and into the open flats before cutting upstream over to the rocks

Potential for Displacement Rated: Low - Moderate

  • the surrounding area is open rock that offers alternative travel routes up slope
Campsite 7 (River Right) - Lava Creek

UTM 8V 344975/6716025 (NAD 27)

This campsite is beside the small creek just downstream of Lava Creek. Bearroot, kinnikinnick, horsetail and soapberry are less abundant at this campsite. Locoweed is common on the flats at the campsite. All major bear foods are abundant up slope and downstream of the campsite. Bear sign was low to moderate at the campsite but bears may use the trail that leads up slope from the campsite. Visibility is relatively good at the campsite but decreases in all directions with distance from the campsite. It is unlikely that many bears travel along the river upstream of Lava Creek because of impassable cliffs. Bears are most likely to travel on the East Side of the river or further inland. Because travel along the river to the north appears to be restricted, areas near this campsite may be used by bears for crossing the river. Bears may chose to travel down the trail from higher quality habitats to the west into the campsite. However, the campsite is in the open and bears are likely to detect people before they get into the campsite.

Potential for Encounters Rated: Low - Moderate

  • camp below the rock bluffs on either side of the smaller creek downstream of Lava Creek rather than beside Lava Creek so bears can avoid the camp
  • hiking from this campsite is not recommended

Potential for Displacement Rated: Low - Moderate

  • this campsite may be located near a favoured river crossing area for bears. Therefore, movement patterns may be disrupted. However, with regular human use of this campsite bears will learn to expect people and cross the river further downstream 
Campsite 8 (River Right) - Marble Creek

UTM 8V 344850/6702575 (NAD 27)

Campsite 8 is located on the downstream edge of Marble Creek. Soapberry is common and abundant in patches in and on the edges of the willow/poplar habitats around the campsite and the long poplar / willow / spruce / alder strips that parallel the river. Kinnikinnick was abundant in patches. All other bear food plants around this campsite are in relatively low abundance. There was a moderate amount of bear sign at this campsite. Visibility is relatively good at this campsite because it is relatively open on three sides. Visibility is poorest to the south because of willows. Bears are not funnelled through this campsite and have alternatives to avoid the campsite if they detect it.

Potential for Encounters Rated: Low - Moderate

  • camp in the open flats away from the shrub edges to give bears the greatest opportunity to detect and avoid people
  • hiking away from this campsite is not recommended because visibility is poor and the chances of surprising a feeding or travelling bear is high

Potential for Displacement Rated: Low - Moderate

  • alternatives for bears to bypass this campsite are present
  • there are areas with abundant bear foods upstream of Marble Creek and on the opposite side of the river 
Campsite 9 (River Right) - Above Lowell Lake

UTM 8V 336100/6690050 (NAD 27)

This campsite is located on river right approximately 2.5 km above Lowell Lake. People camping at the site will likely hike to the moraine (>20 minutes) for a view of the glacier. There is a good place to pull boats in. The campsite is in open Willow-Dryas shrub habitat. There is a small patch of alder in the middle of the campsite that could be used as a windbreak for a kitchen. Upstream there is balsam poplar with scattered spruce and thick shrubs including soapberry ( Shepherdia canadensis ) and willow ( Salix spp.). Downstream there is a thick alder ( Alnus crispa ) and willow strip along the river. Inland there is a patch of less dense spruce ( Picea glauca ) with balsam poplar ( Populus balsamifera ) and soapberry. Behind this patch is Dryas spp. habitat.

Potential for Encounters Rated: Low - Moderate

Encounter Concern:
Spring: L-M Summer: L-M Late Summer: L-M

  • Visibility is restricted by vegetation the farther one moves form the site. Visibility concerns are high in some places but moderate overall.
  • Trails are broken. Terrain and vegetation do not funnel travel. However, travel concerns increase upstream of the campsite because the moraine is closer to the river edge.

Potential for Displacement Rated: Moderate

Displacement Concern:
Spring: M Summer: M Late Summer: M

  • Alternatives for bears to bypass this camp exist

Recommendation

Generally a lower risk campsite but risk increases upstream and downstream of the campsite. Hiking in this area will increase the risk for surprise encounters because there are areas with low visibility and habitat potential increases with distance from the campsite. People walking downstream will be walking into prevailing winds. This site should be considered as a temporary site when weather conditions prevent a safe advancement to the Lowell lake sites.

Lowell Lake

Camping at the base of Goatherd Mountain is prohibited. Camping is permitted on the western outer edges of glacial till along the eastern shore of Lowell Lake. Camp as far away from the base of the mountain as possible, minimize the length of your stay and keep your activities at the base of the mountain to a minimum.