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Incredible hike up to Laughton Glacier.


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Map Key

5.1

Miles

8.2

KM

Out and Back

3,002' 915 m

High

1,868' 569 m

Low

1,228' 374 m

Up

1,228' 374 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

30%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Geological Significance · River/Creek · Views

Trailhead is only accessible by train via White Pass & Yukon Railroad hiker train (only 2 trains per day) or with guided helicopter tour company.

Overview

This unique and well maintained trail is in Tongass National Forest and takes you through a lush forest with thousands of wild mushrooms and takes you up to Laughton Glacier.

Need to Know

No bathrooms along the trail. Use the bathroom on the train prior to arriving at the trailhead if needed. No facilities exist on the trail either so you have to be self-sufficient.

Description

Once you get off the train (rail mile marker 14), you exit onto two helicopter landing pads and wait for the train to pass. The trailhead is clearly marked to the left before the rail bridge. The trail is well maintained and the first 1.5 miles are through the forest with many tree roots.

At about 1.5 miles, the trail splits with a sign for Laughton Glacier Trail (right turn) and Laughton Glacier Cabin (straight ahead). The cabin can be reserved for backpackers. Continue right towards the glacier.

The final mile is steep and follows a rock moraine and flowing river from the melting glacier. The last 1/4 mile has open 360 views of the glacier and surrounding terrain. As you approach, it looks like there is an island with water flowing around it, however, it is an optical illusion and it's actually the end of the glacier with rock and debris on it.

Be careful around the glacier as there are deep crevasses forming. It is not recommended that you climb on the glacier. Take in the views and then head back the way you came to get the afternoon train.

If you day hike, take the morning train up so that you can take the afternoon train back. There are only two "hiker" trains per day so make sure you're not late arriving back to the trailhead or you'll miss the train. If you arrive via cruise ship, you'll have to go to the train depot by 0800 to get tickets and you'll get back to Skagway by 1540 (3:40pm), which should let you get back to the ship before departure.

You can book trains and get info about the location of the depot from the White Pass & Yukon website wpyr.com/. Trains run 1 May to 30 September.

Flora & Fauna

Lots of various mushrooms - many are poisonous. Various berry plants - some are edible. It is bear country, so there could be bears in the area.

Contacts

Shared By:

Justin S

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2153

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  5.0 from 1 vote
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in Alaska

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Photos

Headed back down the trail.
Sep 5, 2022 near Skagway, AK
Laughton Glacier.
Sep 5, 2022 near Skagway, AK
Rock moraine along Laughton Glacier trail.
Sep 5, 2022 near Skagway, AK
Along the Laughton Glacier trail.
Sep 5, 2022 near Skagway, AK
Trailhead sign and train times on the reverse side of the sign.
Sep 5, 2022 near Skagway, AK
Getting off the train at the trailhead.
Sep 5, 2022 near Skagway, AK

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