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

May 2019

Note: permits are not required during the fall and winter, but through and overnight hikers must still register at the National Park Service administrative offices in Skagway or with Parks Canada in Whitehorse.

 
EMERGENCIES
U.S. Park Service Rangers and Parks Canada Wardens will not be on patrol until June 6, 2019. 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. 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 or early spring.
 

TRAIL
The trail above treeline is unmarked and not readily identified during the off season.
Carry a map and compass. Tent pads on the U.S. Side are snow free. Shelters are available at Finnegan’s, Canyon City, Pleasant Camp, Sheep Camp, and Lindeman for preparing meals and warming up. Shelters may be used for overnight accommodation during the winter/spring 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. There is snow from Long Hill, just north of Sheep Camp to Lindeman City. Snow is reported to be fairly soft.

 

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 and prepared for cold weather environmental conditions.

 

Explore the weather conditions for the last 24 hours at

 
 
 
REGISTRATION
Hikers are strongly encouraged to record planned hiking itineraries for the trail at the National Park Service Visitor Center at the Trail Center. There is no permit fee at this time. Hikers are required to report to US or Canadian customs prior to hike. U.S. Customs phone number 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 International Chilkoot Trail Center is currently open. Registration fees will begin June 1.
 

AVALANCHE HAZARD

Avalanche conditions currently exist between Sheep Camp and Deep Lake, and in Moose Creek Canyon. Happy Camp campground may be unsafe. Avalanches can also develop elsewhere in the park given the right set of conditions e.g., 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, and 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 ensure that no garbage, food or personal belongings are left behind. Pack out all garbage! Do not place wrappers and trash in wood stoves!
 
For additional information stop by the National Park Service administrative office (2nd floor) 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 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: May 22, 2019

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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