Hiking Project Logo

The Chilkoot Trail

 4.8 (6)
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Length


33.0 Miles 53.1 Kilometers


5,805' 1,769 m

Ascent

-3,711' -1,131 m

Descent

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

65%

Max Grade (33°)

3,562' 1,086 m

High

87' 26 m

Low

Shared By Nessa Goldman

Conditions


Unknown

Getting forecast...

The historic Chilkoot Trail travels along coastal rainforest through rocky alpine to boreal forest.

Nessa Goldman

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Permits are required to hike the Chilkoot Trail from June to September. To learn more about the permitting process and fees, click here.

Overview

The trail is well marked and maintained following the Taiya River up until you begin the climb over the pass beyond Sheep Camp. Up the rocky alpine talus, the trail can be more difficult to follow. There is always a ranger stationed at Sheep Camp who will give you helpful tips for your day across the pass.

All along the Chilkoot Trail, the conditions are known to change quickly, and anytime of year you should be prepared for numerous stream crossings; your feet will get wet. Beyond the rocky alpine the terrain turns to boreal forest. There are amazing views on the way up and over the pass, and in the fall the colors are phenomenal. The whole route is extraordinary, traversing such unique terrain, the trail's diversity is unparalleled.

Need to Know

Be prepared for any kind of weather, any time of year. There is often snow at the summit.

Shuttle Information (as of 9/15)
Skagway:
- Anne Moore (907) 617-7551
Bennett:
- Train or Bus: White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad (1-800-343-7373)
- Plane: Alpine Aviation Yukon (1-867-336-3996)

Description

The Chilkoot Pass route was the most famous and heavily used route during the Klondike gold rush. It begins in the ghost town of Dyea, crossing the U.S./Canada border at the summit of Chilkoot Pass, and finishes in Bennet. The trail wanders through a diverse landscape - from wet coastal rain forest, up to rocky alpine and then to dry, lichen covered forest. There are campsites along the trail and facilities are provided at every site.

The trail climbs slowly to Canyon City, which is a popular first night stop for those spending 2 nights on the U.S. side of the trail. The last camp before the pass is Sheep Camp. Here, the ranger will give you valuable information and trail conditions before making the trek across the pass.

The journey often takes 12 hours for the 7.9 mile passage from Sheep Camp to Happy Camp, the first site after you cross the border at the pass summit. There is a ranger station and an emergency shelter at the top of the pass. You can use this to pause and warm up in times of inclement weather.

After the pass, the trail descends through rocky alpine, crossing numerous streams along the way. The trail slowly descends after Happy Camp and you could finish off the final 13 miles in one day. However, for those with time, there are several campsites on the way out and it's well worth spending the extra few days in the Canadian wilderness.

The trail ends at the old settlement of Bennett, where there are many of treasures left behind from the gold rush days. From there, you'll need to take a train to get off the trail and back into civilization. You can either return to Skagway or head out to Whitehorse.

Flora & Fauna

In late summer you are likely to find huckleberries, currants and high bush cranberries.

History & Background

Follow the stampeders' trail on the infamous Chilkoot Trail, a national historic site. In the winter of 1897-1898 thousands of gold seekers came to the northwestern part of the North American continent to attempt the perilous trail Up The Golden Stairs, the most heavily used Klondike route.

Contacts

You & This Featured Hike


Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Jun 29, 2017
Joe Chifos
Jun 9, 2017
Mallory Neumann
Aug 14, 2016
Rikki Spelman
Hiked the first section of the trail. 30 mins of steep uphill then 30 mins of downhill and 60 mins of flat trails. With mixed group so lots of res... 3mi — 2h 00m
Aug 9, 2016
Amanda Eldridge
Jul 22, 2016
Derek Fisher
Rocked the rainy hike with Pops
Aug 30, 2015
Pavel Kral

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 6 votes

#772

Overall
  4.8 from 6 votes
5 Star
83%
4 Star
17%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#5

in Alaska

#772

Overall
63 Views Last Month
1,503 Since Jan 9, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
33%
33%
33%
0%
Your initial graphic for the Chilkoot Trail states "Haines, AK". Chilkoot Trail starts near Skagway, AK NOT Haines. The two communities are separated by mountains. Primary access from US side is via Alaska Ferry vessels or air. You can also drive to Skagway from Haines, but it requires a day trip through Yukon Territory and British Columbia (Canada) to do so. Aug 23, 2017

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking