Nestled in the northwest of Canada, the Yukon Territory boasts being part of Alaska and the Arctic Circle. A popular destination for the backpacking enthusiast, Yukon’s landscape features rugged mountainous terrain, valleys, white rivers, glaciers, and lakes. However, this region has earned popularity for its unlimited hiking options.
Whether you are the occasional rambler or a deep-rooted trekker, you’ll have an easy time finding a trail that fits your ability. The region has thousands of miles of trails that take you to different features, including the magnificent Lake Kathleen. Furthermore, a hiking vacation to Yukon brings you to the longest coastal mountain ranges, The Elias Mountains.
Come face-to-face the Grizzlies
When you head to Kluane National Park, hikers can come face to face a grizzly bear. These are dreaded creatures and perhaps the reason why this part of Yukon is called “bear-a-phobia.” But contrary to what most people think, bears are shy animals. They have a sensitive sense of smell but poor eyesight.
Even so, you need to understand their behavior and how to respond appropriately when confronted by one. You need to look out for bear marks on tree barks, sap from a tree where a bear has rubbed itself, and large claw marks on tree barks.
Now that you’ve known how to stay away from the grizzlies, it’s time to hit the trails. Here are five (5) top trails in Yukon, ranging from one-, three-, and five-day hikes.
1 The Grizzly Lake Trail
Covering 15 miles and an elevation of up to 2,600 ft., the Grizzly Lake Trail is a manageable hike for both beginners and moderate hikers. Besides its off-the-beaten-path character, this path takes travelers to Grizzly Lake. As its name suggests, there are high chances of stumbling into a grizzly. As you tread the tracks, you’ll love the awe-inspiring views of the Tombstone Mountains. These peaks feature rugged black-granite rocks, earning them the nickname, “Patagonia of the North.” Proceeding further also reveals some picturesque lands with stormy meadows and colorful trees. Depending on your pace, hikers take between 11 – 12 hours.
2 The Mush Lake Trail
The Mush Lake Trail is a 32-mile uneven path that begins 33.5 miles south of Haines Junction. While it’s a hikers’ favorite, this trail also allows mountain bikers to take on the challenge. The first three miles of the trail features a single lane with no significant places to pass. Beyond five miles, you’ll cross Alder Creek, but remember to check the depth. If possible, step on boulders for easy crossing. The remaining part of the trail comprises mainly wetlands and forests, before reaching the beautiful Mush Lake. It’s best to plan your hike on beautiful weather as rains may cause flooding on the lowlands. That may be a problem. Car owners take about four hours to complete the trail. Bikers and hikers spend about one and three days respectively.
3 Angelcomb Peak Trail
A walk along the Angelcomb Peak Trail reveals some untouched areas within the rugged Tombstone Mountains. This fun ridge walks covers a distance of 3.8 miles and ends at Angelcomb peak. Once you reach the summit, guests relish the panoramic views of the towering peaks on the eastside of Dempster Highway, as well as the East Blackstone River.
During the early stages of the trail, you’ll walk near bushes and grass, and shortly afterward, you’ll enter the ridge. Here, the elevation gets steeper until you reach the ridge. Once you arrive at the base of the peak, it steepens further. This is the closest you can get to the peak; if you lose the trail, head straight to the summit.
4 Chilkoot Trail
Regarded as Canada’s longest living museum, Chilkoot Trail is a path that vaunts a plethora of historic sites and antiques. The track dates back to the 1890s when the Yukon Gold Rush was taking place. Local villagers cut steps on the ice and snow to reach the mines after a treacherous 600-mile walk. The trail stretches from the coastal region of Dyea, Alaska, and passes through British Columbia before reaching Yukon River. This five-day hike also offers a historical journey where hikers can see boat skeletons and tram wheels used in the past. It covers 33 miles and ends at an elevation of 3,500 ft.
5 Cottonwood Trail
The Cottonwood Trail stretches 46 miles and takes averagely 3-4 days to complete. The track runs through the Dalton range wilderness in Kluane National Park. You can either begin from the Kathleen Lake Trailhead or the other end at Mush Lake. From the Mush Lake Trail Head, hikers enjoy stunning views of poplar and spruce trees. Further, travelers pass different features, including the Dalton Creek valley, Sockeye Lake, and Auriol Ranges before reaching Kathleen Lake.