Chilkoot Trail Conditions Report

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Looking across a rocky area a mountain pass with clear blue skies Cloudy view of a rocky area with a stream in the middle and almost no vertical visibility
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

Fall/Winter

 

Emergencies

In the fall and winter, U.S. Park Service Rangers and Parks Canada Wardens infrequently patrol the Chilkoot Trail.
There is no cell phone coverage along the trail. Iridium Satellite phones may work in some areas. Satellite phone users may seek 24 hour emergency assistance through Denali Dispatch at 1-907-683-2276 in the USA or Jasper Dispatch at 1-877-852-3100 when in Canada. At Log Cabin your closest contact for help is Canadian Customs at Fraser (four miles south of Log Cabin parking along the Klondike Highway). Poor weather conditions may delay medical or rescue assistance for several days. Helicopter medical evacuations from the trail can be costly. Trail hikers may want to consult their medical insurance policies before starting their hike.

 

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

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.

 

Explore the weather conditions for the last 24 hours at

 
 
 

Avalanche Hazard

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.

 

Registration

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.
LEAVE A DETAILED ITINERARY WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS


For additional information stop by the NPS Administrative Offices (2nd floor) in Skagway or call (907) 983-9200. This report is intended to stress the changing trail conditions only and will not substitute for the essential information found in other brochures and your own common sense. For online information, visit our Chilkoot Trail hiking page.

 
Two rangers carry trail markers up a steep, snowy mountain
At the end of May park rangers begin marking the snowy route up Long Hill and the Golden Stairs.

NPS photo

Last updated: December 9, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
P.O. Box 517

Skagway, AK 99840

Phone:

(907) 983-9200

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