Williscroft Canyon Route
Distance: 5 km (3 mi) return trip
Time: 1.5-3 hours
Elevation gain: 245 m (800’)
Maximum elevation: 1,035 m (3,400’)
Trailhead: 9.4 km (5.8 mi) north of the Thachäl Dhäl Visitor Centre on the Alaska Highway.
Topo map: Destruction Bay 115 G/2.
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.
This route is a short half-day walk that starts from the Alaska Highway crossing of Williscroft Creek 9.4 km north of the Thachäl Dhäl Visitor Centre. The route follows the creek up through a long canyon until the canyon becomes too narrow and steep to follow any longer. The 1 km long canyon has some rock and geological formations that would be very interesting for sightseers and scientists alike. There is the possibility of spotting golden eagles and many other varieties of birds on or around the canyon walls. Also, keep an eye out for sheep, bear, and other interesting animal tracks in the sand.
North of the creek and (west of the highway) is a short stretch of road that was built during the upgrading of the Alaska Highway. You can park there off to the side. Hike along the right hand side of the creek on a short gravel trail that was used by equipment to build up a wall to contain the frequently flooding creek. The trail ends around the first corner. The rest of the route involves crossing back and forth over the creek to find the easiest side of the creek bed to follow. Walking along the left side of the creek on an elevated bank seems to be the preferred way. In early spring, near the end of the canyon, the creek may be deep and wide enough to actually stop people from continuing any further. The walls of the canyon are made up of very loose rock so it isn't recommended to attempt climbing out of the canyon. If someone is determined, a feasible route up is found halfway up the canyon on the right hand side where a vegetated ridge is visible. There has been a recent slide right before the waterfall. It will be necessary to crossover tree trunks to get to the end. In recent years a large “interesting looking” boulder has dislodged from above and has wedged itself in front of a 6-meter waterfall at the end of the canyon. Photo opportunities are possible at the waterfall but you will need to bring creek-crossing footwear if you want to get close enough to it.
What you need to know
The creek bed is not terribly difficult to follow but is filled with some large boulders making sturdy boots or shoes useful. Watch out for wet, slippery rocks.
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.
Parks Canada 24 hour emergency dispatch
Cellular telephones do not work in most of the park. Satellite phones or satellite messaging devices are strongly recommended.