• Nine men pose with gear at the Alaska-British Columbia border in the snow

    Klondike Gold Rush

    National Historical Park Alaska

Chilkoot Trail Conditions Report


PDF Version

August 29, 2014


U.S. Park Service Rangers and Parks Canada Wardens are on patrol until September 7th. 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.


The Chilkoot Trail is snow free to the false summit. Due to recent rain hikers can expect up to calf high water on lower sections of the trail. There are numerous creek crossings on Long Hill.The Golden Stairs are snow free. While the avalanche warning for the trail has been lifted, an early morning start from Sheep Camp is still advised. The average hiking time from Sheep Camp to Happy Camp is 8-12 hours. From the Pass to Happy Camp expect patches of snow and lots of creek crossings. 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. Trekking poles, gaiters, camp shoes are highly recommended. Visibility wands and markers will be removed from the upper elevations of the trail by September 7th.


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 even when the forecast calls for sunny conditions.


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 the Trail Center will be open is September 4th. After the 4th hikers should visit the NPS Visitor Center at 2nd and Broadway to record itineraries and get updated trail conditions.


Brown and black bears are encountered frequently on the trail. Currently there are both black and brown females with cubs on the Chilkoot. Stay on the trail, travel in groups if possible. Use food storage devices that are located at all of the designated campgrounds. If staying at Pleasant Camp bring 30ft of rope for bear pole. 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. Pack out all garbage! Do not place wrappers and trash in wood stoves! A quick visual sweep after you are ready to leave camp will help to insure that no garbage, food or personal belongings are left behind.

For additional information stop by the NPS Visitor Center in Skagway or call(907) 983-2921. 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 begin marking the snowy route up the Golden Stairs on the Chilkoot Trail at the end of May

Did You Know?

Stampeders watch a man carry a piano on his back through the snow

Many stampeders brought musical instruments with them in addition to the required “ton of goods.” This included at least one piano which was carried up to the summit of the Chilkoot Pass. More...