• historic photo of men with gear at the Alaska-British Columbia border in the snow

    Klondike Gold Rush

    National Historical Park Alaska

Chilkoot Trail Conditions Report

WINTER TRAIL CONDITIONS

PDF Version

EMERGENCIES


U.S. Park Service Rangers and Parks Canada Wardens will not be on patrol until June 1, 2015.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. Only those experienced in winter backcountry travel, prepared with essential avalanche safety and winter camping gear, and travelling with partners should attempt the Chilkoot in Winter.

TRAIL

The trail is unmarked and not readily identified during the winter/spring season. Route finding skills are essential. Carry a map and compass. Shelters are available at Finnegans, Canyon City, Sheep Camp, Lindeman, and Bennett for preparing meals and warming up. Shelters may be used for overnight accommodation during the winter months, but must be shared with other users. Some shelters may have to be dug free of snow to gain access. Hikers should come prepared with tent or bivy for emergency shelter. Allow sufficient time and energy to properly prepare camp upon arrival. There is a woodstove at each of these shelters, however wood may not be available. Carry extra clothing, food, fuel, matches, etc. Increased travel times and delays can be expected under certain weather conditions and white-outs.

WEATHER

Weather conditions can be severe and unpredictable. Conditions above tree line change quickly and can be especially severe. High winds, driving snow, and poor visibility may prevent travel through this alpine terrain. Whiteout conditions are common and can prevent detection of hazardous avalanche terrain, cliffs, open water and overflow. Temperatures vary from 30F/-1C to -50F/-46C. It snows up to 200inches/508cm. per year at the Pass. Be prepared for rain, sleet, snow, ice and winds in excess of 50mph/80kmph. Come dressed andprepared for cold weather environmental conditions.

REGISTRATION

Hikers are strongly encouraged to record planned hiking itineraries for the trail and for customs at the National Park Service Visitor Center at 2nd & Broadway. There is no permit fee at this time. U.S. Customs phone # is 907-983-3144. Canadian Customs at Fraser can be reached at 867-821-4111 for further questions in regards to crossing the border. The Trail Center will open June1, 2014 and registration fees will begin at that time.

AVALANCHE HAZARD

Avalanches are a natural phenomenon which may occur during any season on the trail. Extreme avalanche conditions often exist between Sheep Camp and Deep Lake, and in Moose Creek Canyon. Campgrounds may be unsafe. Extreme avalanche conditions can also develop elsewhere in the park given the right set of conditions ie. slope, terrain, weather, and snow pack composition. When travelling through avalanche terrain, you need to be capable of identifying and assessing avalanche hazards. You need to be knowledgeable about route finding, avalanche safety and rescue in mountainous terrain. You should be properly equipped with shovels, avalanche transceivers, and probes. Choose your route and campsite locations carefully to avoid unstable slopes and hazardous avalanche terrain areas.

BE PREPARED. NEVER TRAVEL ALONE. LEAVE ITINERARY WITH NPS STAFF AND FAMILY OR FRIENDS.

Before beginning your hike, read the CHILKOOT TRAIL HIKER'S GUIDE. 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

 
Two rangers carry trail markers up a steep, snowy mountain
Rangers begin marking the snowy route up the Golden Stairs on the Chilkoot Trail at the end of May
NPS photo
 

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