Klondike Highway Hiking Trails
If you’ve been to Skagway more than once, you may have already done all of the major hikes like AB Mountain and Upper Dewey Lake. Fortunately, there are a number of incredible mountain trails north of Skagway along the Klondike Highway. You could rent a jeep for the day, drive to the appropriate spot and spend your day exploring an ancient glacier, Gold Rush ruins, or the high alpine tundra. What could be better?
Make sure you’re prepared
Most of the Klondike Highway hiking trails are not maintained. Some of them require wayfinding skills and a knowledge of backcountry survival. Before starting your hike, consider the following:
- Cell phone service may be nonexistent.
- Weather can change instantaneously so make sure you have adequate clothing.
- Be prepared to encounter wild animals (carry bear spray).
- Bring plenty of food and water.
- Tell someone exactly where you intend to hike.
- Bring along a GPS (get a GPS hiking app for your smartphone).
- Know your physical limitations.
A few of the Klondike Highway hiking trails are maintained, so if you’re worried about getting into a bad situation stick to those and you will be okay. Maintained trails are more heavily trafficked so even if you do get into a situation, someone will likely be able to help out.
Klondike Highway hiking trails explained
I’m going to list the more popular Klondike Highway hiking trails from the nearest to Skagway to the farthest. Each will include a brief explanation and a few helpful tips because I am a nice guy. I’ve done all of these hikes so this is firsthand local experience you can bank on.
International Falls – Pitbull’s favorite Klondike Highway hiking trail.
International Falls – This trail begins at the top of the White Pass Summit just beyond the Welcome to Alaska sign. You can see International Falls from the parking area. This hike is relatively easy as it weaves along the US/Canadian border. This trail is not maintained but it is popular, well worn, and moderately difficult. I like this trail a lot and hike it every year.
Outhouse Hill – A great trail with a conveniently located toilet!
Outhouse Hill – A quarter-mile past International Falls, this trail starts by the outhouses on the right side of the road. The trail is not maintained but it is easy to follow and relatively easy. This is a great trail if you want a tiny taste of the subalpine without any of the work.
Fraser Mountain – This is a hard trail but not when you have four-wheel dog drive.
Fraser Mountain – Just before customs, this hike leads to Lake Bryant before turning up a steep ridge into the high alpine. This is a difficult and sometimes dangerous hike so you don’t want to do it alone like I did and almost die.
Mt. Halcyon – Breath deep! You’re in the alpine.
Mount Halcyon – This mountain doesn’t really have a name but people call it this or Log Cabin Mountain. You start near the Log Cabin parking lot before hiking up a straight path into the alpine. It’s very slippery in the alpine and you have to find your own way to the summit. I didn’t really like this trail but you might.
Paddy Peak – 7,411 feet high. I found this bone melting out of the glacier. Pretty cool stuff.
Paddy Peak – This is the tallest mountain between Skagway and Whitehorse. It’s a 15 mile hike with an elevation gain of more than 5,00o feet. You hike past two glaciers on your way to the summit. The first half follows an old mining road to the first glacier. The second half requires traversing a glacial morraine and pathfinding a route until the final push to the summit. It’s a great hike but you need to be well prepared for just about anything.
Dail Peak – Just look at the clouds reflecting in the lake. Amazing! And look at those goats!
Dail Peak – The trailhead for this hike is located on a dirt road turnout with a gate about a mile past the Yukon/BC border. This hike follows goat paths most of the way up the very steep mountain. The views at the top are spectacular and there are mountain goats and Dahl sheep all over the place but it’s a difficult hike. Bring bear spray and hiking poles.
The Sam McGee Trail – Historic ruins… Fall colors… What’s not to like?
Sam McGee Trail – This is a well maintained moderate hiking trail that anyone can do. It follows a path littered with mining ruins and ends in the high alpine with staggering views of Tagish Lake. This hike is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing.
Nares Mountain – I made it! I am so proud of myself.
Nares Mountain – While this trail is not maintained, it is very well-traveled and easy to follow. Moderately steep, you should be in good condition to do this hike but it’s easier than many other Klondike Highway hiking trails. The 360-degree views at the top are incredible. I’ve done this hike multiple times and it never disappoints.
Caribou Mountain – I don’t recommend this hike but I did it.
Caribou Mountain – There were some good views on this hike but I got surrounded by crazy dogs at the trailhead. They belong to some cranky guy that lives near the trail. He doesn’t like people enjoying nature near his home. There are better hikes anyway, so whatever.
There are some other Klondike Highway hiking trails
Indeed, there are, but I haven’t hiked those trails so I’m not going to include them in this blog. If you like hiking, you’re going to love the trails along the Klondike Highway. I hope you found this blog informative and educational. Until next time, good hiking!