Cross country skiing | Snowshoeing | Winter trails | Dog sledding | Backcountry skiing and snowboarding | Backcountry camping | Kathleen Lake | Snowmobiling | Ice fishing


Cross country skiing

Cross country skiers

Whether you are a novice or a veteran - whether you want to ski for an hour, a day or a week - Kluane National Park & Reserve (KNP&R) offers something for everyone.

Skiing may mean following a skier set trail, or breaking your own trail across Kluane's vast wilderness. Ski trails in Kluane are not packed or track set, and may have an occasional tree fallen across them, but this just adds to the adventure of the experience.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is also a popular pastime in Kluane National Park and Reserve. If you are following the ski trails, please avoid skiers' tracks, by walking to the side.


Winter Trails

Skill level

Novice: Few hills. Limited ski experience required.
Intermediate: Need to be comfortable with hills and negotiating corners. Ski experience required.
Advanced: Need to have strong skiing skills.


The following trails are used for a variety of activities such as skiing, snowshoeing and walking. Trail distances are one way, unless otherwise stated.

Dezadeash River | Auriol | Kathleen Lake | Cottonwood | Mush Lake | St. Elias Lake | Foresty Trails

Dezadeash River

Starting point: Dezadeash River Day Use Area (near the Haines Junction weigh scales)
Distance: 5 km (loop trail)
Skill level: Novice
Avalanche terrain: None
Note: A winding trail through stands of poplar and spruce.

Auriol Trail

Starting point: 7 km south of Haines Junction on the Haines Road
Distance: 15 km (loop trail)
Skill level: Intermediate/Advanced
Avalanche terrain: ATES Class 2 – Challenging: Exposure to terrain traps along some parts of the trail.
Note: loop trail leading through open meadows and mixed forest, sub-alpine and alpine zones provide excellent views of the Shakwak and Dezadeash River valleys. There are some steep sections.

Kathleen Lake

Starting Point: 27 km south of Haines Junction on the Haines Road
Distance: varied
Skill level: Novice to Intermediate
Avalanche terrain: None
Note: unmarked skiing opportunities include the campground loop, trail to day use area and on the lake surface.

Cottonwood Trail

Start / end points: 27 km and 55 km south of Haines Junction on the Haines Road
Distance: 85 km one way
Skill level: Advanced
Avalanche terrain: ATES Class 3 – Complex: Exposure to multiple overlapping avalanche paths or large expanses of steep open terrain; multiple avalanche starting zones and terrain traps below.
Note: a 4 to 5 day trip across lakes, through mixed forest to high alpine country returning to the Haines Highway.

Mush Lake Road

Starting point: 55 km south of Haines Junction on the Haines Road
Distance: 21.6 km one way
Skill level: Intermediate
Avalanche terrain: None
Note: an abandoned mining road from the Haines Road to Mush Lake.

St. Elias Lake

Starting point: 60 km south of Haines Junction on the Haines Road
Distance: 4 km one way
Skill level: Intermediate
Avalanche terrain: ATES Class 2 – Challenging: Exposure to avalanche paths and terrain traps along some parts of this trail.
Note: An old recreational road to an alpine lake. Some steep sections with some areas prone to avalanche.

Forestry Trails

These trails are outside Kluane National Park and Reserve and may be maintained by volunteers.
Starting Point: 5 km north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway
Distance: 3.5 km loop and 5 km loop
Skill level: Novice
Avalanche terrain: None.
Note: a network of short loop trails winding through a spruce forest.

Dog sledding

Dog sleds may be used for day trips or overnight stays in Kluane National Park and Reserve. Contact us for information and guidelines.

Backcountry skiing and snowboarding

Mount Decoeli (25 km N of Haines Junction) and the Chilkat Pass (144 km S on Haines Highway) are popular areas adjacent to Kluane National Park and Reserve for backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Avalanche conditions are prevalent in these areas. Please use caution.

Backcountry camping

Winter camping

Overnight camping is allowed without a permit from November 16 to March 31 except for the Kluane Icefields area. The use of bear resistant food canisters is not required between November 16 and March 31.

During this time period you are responsible for your own safety. You should file a travel plan with a friend or family member. You are also encouraged to carry a satellite phone or other satellite GPS messenger device, such as a SPOT® or inReach® as cell phones are out of range in most areas of the park.

Kathleen Lake

Kathleen Lake provides access to a beautiful winter wonderland with plenty of recreational opportunities. You can ski, snowshoe, dog sled, ice fish, snowmobile or enjoy the view from inside the day use shelter.

Overnight use of the Kathleen Lake Shelter is prohibited.

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling on Kathleen Lake

In Kluane National Park and Reserve, snowmobiling is only permitted in the following locations:

  • The pipeline right-of-way, adjacent to the Haines Highway (Dezadeash River Bridge to old Dezadeash Lake Lodge)
  • The access road between the Haines Highway and the Kathleen Lake Day Use Area
  • The ice surface of Kathleen Lake

Snowmobiles must be registered and properly equipped when operated on roads and parking lots, operators must be licensed, and both operators and passengers are required to wear helmets.

Ice fishing

Ice fishing at Kathleen Lake
Ice fishing at Kathleen Lake

A valid Kluane National Park and Reserve fishing license is required for all angling in the park.

Fishing licenses may be purchased at Hougen's Sportlodge or the Parks Canada office (Room 205 - 300 Main Street) in Whitehorse or at some of the businesses in the Kluane National Park & Reserve region.

Ice fishing huts and tents may be used on the surface of Kathleen Lake, but must be removed when leaving the area.