Sheep Creek Trail
Distance: 10 km (6 mi) return trip
Time: 3 - 6 hrs
Elevation gain: 430 m (1,400')
Maximum elevation: 1,281m (4,200')
Trailhead: Thechàl Dhâl (Sheep Mountain) trailhead parking lot, 2.6 km (1.6 mi) up the Ä’äy Chù (Slims River) Valley from the Thechàl Dhâl Visitor Centre
Topo map: Destruction Bay 115 G/2
This popular trail climbs alongside of Thechàl Dhâl and above Sheep Creek. It offers excellent views of the Slims River Valley as it opens up into the sub alpine. This is an excellent trail for viewing Dall sheep in the spring as the sheep are usually found at lower elevations.Download the Sheep Creek Trail description (PDF, 636 Kb)
After checking in at the Thechàl Dhâl Visitor Centre, you can drive or hike down the valley for 2.6 km. Here you will find a locked gate and a small parking area. The Sheep Creek Trail begins at the first right about 5 minutes from the gate. From this point on, it is a steady uphill climb. The first viewpoint is about 2 km up the trail. This is a good destination and turn-around point for hikers who do not wish to go further. At this point the trail branches in 2 directions. The trail to the right continues upward along this old mining road with several more good viewpoints. The trail branches at the 3.8 km point as well and this fork is marked with a post and two arrows. Following the right fork, the actual Sheep Creek Trail, it is possible to see the toe of the Kaskawulsh Glacier as you gain elevation. The trail ends on the edge of a gully overlooking Forty-eight Pup Creek.
Additional option: Thechàl Dhâl Ridge route
A route is not a trail
Routes are not marked with signs or maintained in any manner. The route described here is only a suggestion that may help guide you on your trip. Self-reliance and wilderness travel experience are essential, including excellent route finding skills, map and compass skills. It is the responsibility of individual hikers who choose to follow such routes to adequately prepare and be prepared to rely on themselves.
Distance: 6 km (3.8 mi) return trip
Time: 2 - 4 hrs
Elevation gain: 882 m (2,900')
Maximum elevation: 1,922 m (6,300')
Before you reach the post marking the end of Sheep Creek Trail, look right and you will notice a well-travelled footpath heading up towards the ridge. Follow this path. It becomes less prominent in places but essentially just follows the ridgeline that takes you to the top of Thechàl Dhâl.
The northernmost peak on the ridge is the summit of the mountain, but the views are stunning from anywhere on the ridge: Kluane Lake, the Ruby Range, the highway corridor, Mt. Wallace, Kluane Plateau, Outpost Mountain, the Sheep-Bullion Plateau and Red Castle Ridge.
To return, go back via the same route. Please DO NOT hike down the south face of the mountain as it is critical winter habitat for the Dall sheep of the area and the vegetation is easily disturbed. Also, descending down the front face is steep and hazardous (rock slides and rock fall).
What you need to know
The Dall sheep rely on the plants of south-facing, snow-free slopes for critical nutrition. Dall sheep are high strung and may abandon parts of their range if repeatedly disturbed. Hikers and photographers are asked to be respectful of the sheep and their fragile habitat.
- do not approach sheep closer than 50 metres (165 ft);
- hike in small, tight, slow-moving groups;
- never approach sheep from above, as it will confuse and stress them;
- put your dog on a leash, and stay far away from the sheep;
- stay on established trails or routes to prevent disturbance of the soil and fragile vegetation.
If you intend to hike on the ridge, 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 weather proof clothing are essential. Water is not available along the route so be sure to bring enough.
All overnight camping is prohibited within this area due to bear activity. For more detailed information please contact park staff at the Kluane National Park and Reserve Visitor Centre in Haines Junction or at the Thechàl Dhâl Visitor Centre.
Bear sightings are common in this area. Review recommendations for travel within the You Are In Bear Country brochure. All bear sightings should be reported to the staff at the Visitor Centre.
Cellular telephones do not work in most of the park. Satellite phones or satellite messaging devices are strongly recommended.