Chilkoot Trail Conditions Report

Looking across a rocky area a mountain pass with clear blue skies Cloudy view of a rocky area with a stream in the middle and almost no vertical visibility
Looking from the Scales toward Chilkoot Pass on August 21st. NPS photo/A. Brady
The same view two days later, August 23rd. NPS photo/A. Brady



 

CHILKOOT TRAIL CONDITIONS

June 12, 2018

 
EMERGENCIES
U.S. Park Service Rangers and Parks Canada Wardens are on patrol. 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 $1800. Trail hikers are advised to consult their medical insurance policies before starting their hike.
 

TRAIL
The Chilkoot Trail is snow free to the Scales area. The Golden Stairs are 30% snow covered. From the false summit to Happy Camp expect snow. Snow is soft in places and icy in others, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND SNOWSHOES. Due to avalanche concerns and snow conditions leave Sheep Camp no later than 5am. Use caution in transition zones. Follow markers to avoid snowbridges. Between Happy Camp and Deep Lake the snow is quickly melting and leaving some water on the trail. (Bring extra socks!!) Shelters are available at all campgrounds (except Deep Lake) for preparing meals and warming up. Increased travel times and delays can be expected under certain weather conditions and white-outs.

 

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 sunny days warrant sunscreen, protective hat or visor and sunglasses. Average hiking time over the Pass is 8-12 hours and most of the time you are above tree line and fully exposed to the elements so be prepared! Wear synthetic layers, bring extra socks, extra layers, raingear, hat, and a good attitude!

 

Explore the weather conditions for the last 24 hours at

 
 
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 5th & 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.
 
AVALANCHE HAZARD
Avalanche conditions currently exist between Chilkoot Pass and Happy Camp. Avalanche conditions can also develop elsewhere in the park given the right set of conditions i.e., 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. Travel early, at first light, to avoid afternoon postholing and increased hazard for avalanche due to solar heating of the snow pack. Choose your route and campsite locations carefully to avoid unstable slopes and hazardous avalanche terrain areas.
 
BEARS
Brown and black bears are encountered frequently on the trail. Stay on the trail, travel in groups if possible. 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. Pack out all garbage! Do not place wrappers and trash in wood stoves! Watch the 13 minute video “Staying Safe In Bear Country” at the Trail Center.
 
For additional information stop by the Trail Center in Skagway or call (907) 983-9234. 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 online information, visit our Chilkoot Trail hiking page.
 
Two rangers carry trail markers up a steep, snowy mountain
At the end of May park rangers begin marking the snowy route up Long Hill and the Golden Stairs.

NPS photo

Last updated: June 12, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
P.O. Box 517

Skagway, AK 99840

Phone:

(907) 983-9200

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