- This article is an itinerary.
A 33 mile-54 kilometer hike from the coast of Dyea, Alaska to Lake Bennett in British Columbia. The Alaska portion is part of the National Park Service, while the Canadian section is managed by Parks Canada. A permit is required and can be reserved in advance, or possibly at the Trail Center in Skagway, Alaska if the daily number of permitted hikers is not full. In Whitehorse, Yukon there is also a Parks Canada office- about 110 miles north from Skagway along the magnificent Klondike highway. Skagway is 9 miles away from the trail head via a road. There are shuttle vans to help you get there. A long term hikers parking lot is in Dyea located at a campground near the trail's start. The town of Skagway has small markets for food, but not in Dyea. The Mountain Shop on 4th street rents and sells camping gear as well as hiker's food. The Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park visitor's center is downtown on 2nd and Broadway and it is just across from the Trail Center where you can obtain trail info and permits. The Trail Center has both Parks Canada and NPS staff to help hikers prepare for the challenge. They will help you with permits and the border crossing logistics, transport, safety in bear country, minimum impact and leave no trace principles.
The Chilkoot Trail is unique in many ways and very challenging due to conditions and weather. In only 33 miles the hiker can go from the deep water tidal ports of the Skagway area to the headwaters of navigation for the Yukon river. The hike starts in the coastal temperate rainforest and ends in the interior sub boreal forest. After crossing up and over the famed Chilkoot Pass (the border between USA and Canada), the hiker travels through the sub alpine and alpine zones. There are backcountry rangers and wardens patrolling the trail in the summers months from mid May to mid September. Trail crews also help maintain the route. In the spring time there can be considerable portions deep in snow. Avalanche conditions exist.
Designated backcountry campsites are found along the trail.
The Chilkoot trail is famous as one of the main routes for gold hungry stampeders during the Klondike Goldrush of 1898. People would travel up the Inside Passage to Skagway and Dyea, and then carry a required year's supply of food and gear, or "ton of goods", over the Chilkoot Pass and then finally arrive at Lake Bennett to build boats and float down the Yukon River over 500 miles to the Klondike goldfields in Dawson city. The trail's history goes back further in time as a trading route for Tlingit first nation peoples. Tlingit peoples still inhabit SE Alaska area and have a rich and proud cultural heritage and history.
The Chilkoot trail is not only historical, it is also full of great and diverse scenery. Although only 33 miles in length it is important to be fit and prepared for challenge. Yukon Ho!