• Stampeders Hiking the Golden Stair case with heavy packs

    Klondike Gold Rush

    National Historical Park Alaska

Chilkoot Trail Conditions Report

BEAR WARNING IN EFFECT
CHILKOOT TRAIL CONDITIONS
August 21, 2013

PDF Version of this Report

EMERGENCIES

U.S. Park Service Rangers and Parks Canada Wardens are on patrol until September 8, 2013. 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 1-907-683-6351 in US or Jasper Dispatch at 1-877-852-3100 in Canada. At Log Cabin your closest contact for help is Canadian Customs at Fraser (four miles south of Log cabin parking lot along the Klondike Highway). Bad weather conditions may delay medical or rescue assistance for several days. Helicopter medical evacuations from the trail will cost a minimum of $1600. Trail hikers are advised to consult their medical insurance policies before starting their hike.

TRAIL

The trail is snow free until the Pass. The Golden Stairs are snow free but slippery when wet. From the Pass to Happy Camp expect a few icy, snow patches with a 200 meter steep, slippery descent from the Pass to Crater Lake. The trail is snow free from Happy Camp to Lake Bennett There are numerous creek crossings, some above the boot. Shelters are available at most campgrounds for preparing meals and warming up. Increased travel times and delays can be expected under certain weather conditions and white-outs. With the shortened hours of daylight an early morning start (6am), from Sheep Camp is advised. The average hiking time from Sheep Camp to Happy Camp is 8-12 hour, and this past week we have had a couple groups that took 17 hour to complete this section. Trekking poles are recommended. The markers will be removed from the trail September 7, 2013

WEATHER

Weather conditions above tree line change quickly and can be more extreme as elevation is gained. Rain, fog, high winds, snow and sleet can be expected any time of year. Temperatures near freezing at night at higher elevations should be anticipated. Come dressed and prepared for hypothermic environmental conditions. Snow travel and sunny days warrant sunscreen, protective hat or visor and sunglasses.

REGISTRATION

A permit is required to overnight on the Chilkoot Trail. Hikers are required to register and pay fees with the International Trail Center on 2nd & Broadway in Skagway prior to hike. Hikers also need to show passport and fill out paperwork for Canadian Customs. Hours of operation are 8-5 daily. The last day of Trail Center operations will be September 4, 2013

BEARS

BEAR WARNING IN EFFECT FROM DEEP LAKE, INTO LINDEMAN AND ON TO BARE LOON. THESE BEARS COULD BE ENCOUNTERED ANYWHERE ALONG THE TRAIL HIKERS ARE ADVISED TO TRAVEL IN TIGHT GROUPS OF FOUR OR MORE.

Brown and black bears are encountered frequently on the trail. Stay on the trail, travel in groups if possible, make noise. Use food storage devices that are located at all of the designated campgrounds. For your safety cook and eat at shelters, so as to keep food smells away from your tent site. Do not leave pack unattended at any point on the trail. A quick visual sweep after you are ready to leave camp will help insure that no garbage, food or personal belongings are left behind. Contact U.S. Rangers or Parks Canada Wardens for current bear activity updates and report all bear sightings. Pack out all garbage! Do not place wrappers and trash in wood stoves!

For additional information stop by the NPS Visitor Center 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 Web information, visit http://www.nps.gov/klgo/chilkoot.htm

 
Rangers testing the snow on the Chilkoot Trail
Rangers at the Scales along the Chilkoot Trail

Did You Know?

historic photo of a steamship surrounded by a crowd at the docks in Seattle

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.