Looking from the Scales toward Chilkoot Pass on August 21st. NPS photo/A. Brady
The same view two days later, August 23rd. NPS photo/A. Brady
CHILKOOT TRAIL REPORT
In the fall and winter, U.S. Park Service Rangers and Parks Canada Wardens infrequently patrol the Chilkoot Trail.
The trail above tree line is unmarked and not readily identifiable outside of the summer months. Route finding skills are essential. Carry a map and compass. Average hiking time from Sheep Camp to Happy Camp is 8-12 hours in the summer months. Flooding of the first six miles of the Chilkoot Trail is possible any time of year. Creek crossings may be dangerous. Some areas of the trail pass along or through high risk areas such as near fast moving rivers, boulder fields, and steep drops. Snow and ice along the trail may make these areas more hazardous. Warming shelters may also be used for preparing meals and are available at all campgrounds except Deep Lake. Overnight use of these shelters is prohibited.
Weather conditions change quickly and can be more extreme at higher elevations. Long stretches of the trail are above tree line where you will be exposed to the elements with little to no shelter available. Rain, fog, high winds, snow and sleet can be expected at any time of year. Whiteout conditions are common and can prevent detection of hazardous avalanche terrain, cliffs, open water and overflow. Be prepared for cold weather and extreme environmental conditions.
Avalanches are a natural phenomenon which may occur during any season on the trail. Extreme avalanche conditions often exist between Sheep Camp and Deep Lake, and in Moose Creek Canyon. Campgrounds may be unsafe. Extreme avalanche conditions can also develop elsewhere in the park given the right set of conditions ie. slope, terrain, weather, and snow pack composition. When travelling through avalanche terrain, you need to be capable of identifying and assessing avalanche hazards. You need to be knowledgeable about route finding, avalanche safety and rescue in mountainous terrain. You should be properly equipped with shovels, avalanche transceivers, and probes. Choose your route and campsite locations carefully to avoid unstable slopes and hazardous avalanche terrain areas.
There is no permit fee this time of year. If you are crossing the international border, you must notify the country you will be entering. Hikers must phone Canadian Customs at Fraser, BC and let them know they will be on the trail and then check in with Fraser Customs when done with the hike. Check in in person. Canadian Customs at Fraser can be reached at 867-821-4111. U.S. Customs can be reached at 907-983-3144.
BE PREPARED. NEVER TRAVEL ALONE.
Last updated: December 9, 2019