Chilkoot Trail Bridge Out
A bridge, south of Canyon City (6 1/2 miles fromtrail head) has collapsed under heavy snow load and is out until further notice. Hikers should be prepared to wade through a boggy section, and water may be knee or waist deep during high water conditions. More »
Chilkoot Travel Advisory-Increased Avalanche Risk
Park Canada Travel Advisory: Due to a cold, late spring persistent winter conditions exist on the Chilkoot Trail. Visitors will encounter late-winter snowpack conditions with increased avalanche risk and more snow covered trail sections. More »
The White Pass
Rapuzzi Collection- NPS
The White Pass Trail is a unit of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, and with the Skagway Historic District makes up a National Historic Landmark. Parts of the the historic White Pass trail can be seen from the Klondike Highway or from the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. Much of the old trail has been dsiturbed by the creating of wagon roads, railroads and highways, however a portion of the original White Pass Route that stampeders traveled on in 1897-1899 are still in situ (left undisturbed) today. Most of the areas are difficult to reach spread throughout the wilderness of the Sakgway River valley and into the Yukon over White Pass. It is not reccomnded that visitors attempt to hike or gain access to the original route, as it is not marked, maintained or currently used.
The White Pass was the "new" route to the Klondike in comparison to the Chilkoot Trail. In 1887 Captain William Moore, with the guidance of Skookum Jim, carved a path out of the vast wilderness of what would later become known as White Pass. Moore had a vision that Skagway and the White Pass would one day become the gateway to the gold fields of the Yukon. He was right, however his original White Pass Trail proved to be a nightmare for some during that first winter of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897-1898. Although the pass did not climb as high as the Chilkoot and did not experience the severe steep slopes of the Chilkoot it had its own struggles. Mainly the pass seeped with mud during the wet fall months of 1897, and the mass of stampeders attempting to move through muck and bogs were stalled. The mud made the trail imapssible and caused a sort of traffic jam of stampeders. People and their pack animals were stuck along the trail and some ran out of supplies. The animals, particularly horses, suffered the most. It is estimeated that 3000 horses died along the trail, and this earned the trail the the nickname of "The Dead Horse Trail." This mess eventually closed the pass until the ground and river were frozen making the pass once again a viable option for travel. Later a wagon road was created, followed by a the construction of an engineering feat, the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad.
This publication available on-line at:http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/klgo/klondike.pdf
2003 A Wild Discouraging Mess: The History of the White Pass Unit of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Anchorage, AK: National Park Service. (In Print)
Did You Know?
Over 100,000 people started off for the Klondike gold fields, but less than 30,000 actually made it to the gold fields in Dawson City, Yukon Territory. The difficulties of the Chilkoot and White Pass trails forced many to turn back.