Chilkoot Trail: Your Ultimate Guide To The CT

The correct English pronunciation of “Chilkoot Trail” is: CHIL-koot Trail.

The Chilkoot Trail is located in Alaska and British Columbia, stretching from Dyea, Alaska to Bennett, British Columbia.

Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site:
– Phone: 1-800-661-0486 (toll-free within Canada and the United States)
– Email:

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  • Trail System: National Historic Trails
  • Length: 16.5 miles.
  • Abbreviation: CT
  • Pet Friendly?: No.
  • Start Point: The main starting point of the Chilkoot Trail is located at Dyea Trailhead, Dyea Road, Skagway, Alaska, 99840.
  • End Point: The main ending point on the Chilkoot Trail is Bennett, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Halfway Point: Info not available.
  • Bike?: No.
  • Average Miles Per Day: 15
  • Popular Trail Names: Wildflower, Mountain Goat, Trailblazer
  • Hunting Allowed? No.
  • Dams On Trail: None
  • Wifi?: No.

  • Created / Founded By: William Ogilvie
  • States It Runs Through: Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon
  • Highest Peak: The highest peak on the Chilkoot Trail is called “Chilkoot Pass.”
  • Markings: Historical route markers.
  • Trail Conditions: Rugged, challenging, and scenic.
  • Estimated Completion Time: The estimated completion time of the Chilkoot Trail is typically 3 to 5 days.
  • Fastest Known Time (FKT): Info not available.
  • How Many Completed: Unknown.
  • Oldest Person To Thru Hike It: Info not available.
  • Deaths Per Year: No official record

Essential Info On The Chilkoot Trail

Difficulty Level

The Chilkoot Trail is considered to be a moderately difficult hiking trail. It involves steep ascents and descents, uneven terrain, and potentially challenging weather conditions. Hikers should be prepared for a physically demanding journey and have appropriate gear and experience for backcountry hiking.

Elevation Gain

The Chilkoot Trail has an elevation gain of approximately 1,100 meters (3,600 feet).

Weather Conditions

The weather conditions on the Chilkoot Trail can vary greatly depending on the season and time of year. In general, the trail experiences a temperate coastal climate with cool summers and mild winters. Summers are typically characterized by mild temperatures ranging from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C) with occasional rain showers. However, it is important to note that weather conditions can change rapidly and hikers should be prepared for sudden shifts in temperature, strong winds, and heavy rainfall. Winters on the Chilkoot Trail are colder, with temperatures often dropping below freezing and significant snowfall. It is advisable to check the weather forecast and be well-equipped with appropriate clothing and gear when planning a hike on the Chilkoot Trail.

Safety Tips & Potential Dangers

When hiking the Chilkoot Trail, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Firstly, ensure you are well-prepared with proper gear, including sturdy footwear, layers of clothing, and a reliable map or GPS device. Stay hydrated and bring enough food for the duration of your hike. Additionally, be aware of wildlife in the area and maintain a safe distance. Lastly, inform someone about your hiking plans and expected return time.

Can You Hike It Alone?

Hiking alone on the Chilkoot Trail is not recommended due to its challenging terrain, unpredictable weather conditions, and potential hazards. It is safer and more enjoyable to hike with a partner or in a group, as they can provide assistance in case of emergencies and enhance the overall experience.

Crime Info

The Chilkoot Trail, located in Alaska and British Columbia, has a relatively low crime rate. However, occasional incidents of theft and wildlife encounters have been reported.

Permits and Fees

Permits and fees are required for hiking the Chilkoot Trail. A permit is necessary for all hikers and can be obtained through the Parks Canada website. The fee for the permit varies depending on the type of hike and the duration. Additionally, there may be additional fees for camping and transportation services along the trail. It is important to check the official Parks Canada website for the most up-to-date information on permits and fees.

Directions to Trailhead

There are multiple trailheads for the Chilkoot Trail. Here are the directions to each of them:

1. Dyea Trailhead:
– From Skagway, Alaska, head south on the Klondike Highway.
– After approximately 8 miles, you will reach the town of Dyea.
– Continue through Dyea until you reach the trailhead parking area, which is well-marked.

2. Chilkoot Pass Trailhead:
– From Whitehorse, Yukon, head south on the South Klondike Highway.
– After approximately 100 miles, you will reach the Canadian border.
– Continue on the highway for another 10 miles until you reach the Chilkoot Pass Trailhead, which is located near the Canadian Customs office.

Please note that these directions are general and it is always recommended to have a detailed map or guidebook for the Chilkoot Trail to ensure a safe and successful hike.

Conservation and Etiquette Guidelines

Conservation efforts are crucial on the Chilkoot Trail to preserve its natural beauty and ecosystem. Visitors are required to follow Leave No Trace principles, including packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impact, and respecting wildlife and vegetation. It is essential to stay on designated trails, avoid disturbing archaeological sites, and refrain from littering or polluting water sources.

Etiquette is important on the Chilkoot Trail to ensure a positive experience for all hikers. It is recommended to yield to uphill hikers, maintain a reasonable distance from other groups, and keep noise levels to a minimum. Respecting the solitude and serenity of the trail is essential, as well as being considerate towards fellow hikers and following any specific guidelines provided by park authorities.

Cell Phone Coverage

Cellphone coverage on the Chilkoot Trail is generally poor, with limited to no signal in most areas. The best cellphone provider for that area is AT&T.

Photos And Images From Along The Chilkoot Trail

*add photos here

Hiking The Chilkoot Trail

Section Hikes

1. Dyea to Sheep Camp
2. Sheep Camp to Happy Camp
3. Happy Camp to Lindeman City
4. Lindeman City to Bennett Lake

Day Hikes

The Chilkoot Trail is a historic and scenic hiking route that stretches for 33 miles (53 kilometers) through the rugged wilderness of Alaska and British Columbia. While it is primarily known as a multi-day backpacking trail, there are also several well-known day hiking routes that allow visitors to experience the beauty and history of the area without committing to the full journey.

One popular day hike on the Chilkoot Trail is the hike to the Chilkoot Pass. This section of the trail takes hikers to the highest point of the route, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The hike to the pass is challenging but rewarding, with steep ascents and descents, and it provides a glimpse into the historic gold rush era as hikers pass by remnants of old mining camps and artifacts.

Another notable day hike is the hike to the Chilkoot Lake. This trail takes hikers through lush forests and along the shores of the picturesque Chilkoot Lake. The trail offers opportunities for wildlife sightings, including bears, eagles, and salmon. Hikers can enjoy the tranquility of the lake and its stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains before retracing their steps back to the trailhead.

For those seeking a shorter and easier day hike, the hike to the Chilkoot Trailhead is a great option. This trail starts at the trailhead near the town of Skagway and follows a gentle path through the forest, offering glimpses of the historic White Pass & Yukon Route railway. Hikers can enjoy the peacefulness of the forest and learn about the history of the area through interpretive signs along the trail.

It is important to note that while these day hikes on the Chilkoot Trail offer incredible experiences, they still require proper preparation and caution. Hikers should be equipped with appropriate gear, including sturdy footwear, water, food, and bear spray. Additionally, it is advisable to check weather conditions and trail updates before embarking on any hike to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the Chilkoot Trail.

Points Of Interest

1. Dyea Townsite: The starting point of the Chilkoot Trail, Dyea was once a bustling gold rush town and now serves as a historical site.

2. Chilkoot Pass: The highest point along the trail, Chilkoot Pass offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

3. Sheep Camp: A popular camping spot along the trail, Sheep Camp provides a resting place for hikers before tackling the challenging ascent to the pass.

4. Happy Camp: Located in a picturesque valley, Happy Camp offers a serene setting for hikers to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

5. Deep Lake: A pristine alpine lake nestled in the mountains, Deep Lake is a refreshing spot for hikers to take a dip or simply admire the tranquil surroundings.

6. Lindeman City: Once a bustling tent city during the gold rush, Lindeman City now serves as a historical site with remnants of the past.

7. Bare Loon Lake: A scenic lake surrounded by mountains, Bare Loon Lake is a popular spot for fishing and camping.

8. Canyon City: Another historical site along the trail, Canyon City showcases the remnants of old buildings and artifacts from the gold rush era.

9. Pleasant Camp: As the name suggests, Pleasant Camp offers a pleasant resting place for hikers with beautiful views and a peaceful atmosphere.

10. Bennett Lake: The final destination of the Chilkoot Trail, Bennett Lake is a picturesque lake where hikers can relax, enjoy the scenery, and catch a train back to civilization.

Stopping Points

1. Dyea: Located at the southern end of the Chilkoot Trail, Dyea was once a bustling gold rush town. Today, it serves as the starting point for hikers and offers a glimpse into the area’s rich history.

2. Finnegan’s Point: This campsite is situated around 7 miles into the trail and provides a beautiful view of the Taiya River. It is a popular spot for hikers to rest and enjoy the scenery.

3. Sheep Camp: Located around 13 miles into the trail, Sheep Camp is a significant stopping point for hikers. It offers basic amenities such as shelters, toilets, and bear-proof food storage. Many hikers spend a night here before continuing their journey.

4. Happy Camp: Situated around 19 miles into the trail, Happy Camp is a popular resting spot for hikers. It offers similar amenities to Sheep Camp and provides a picturesque setting surrounded by mountains and forests.

5. Lindeman City: Around 33 miles into the trail, Lindeman City was once a bustling gold rush town. Today, it serves as a campground and offers a chance for hikers to explore the remnants of the historic site. It is often the final stopping point for those completing the entire Chilkoot Trail.

Scariest Part Of The Trail

The scariest part of the Chilkoot Trail is the treacherous and unpredictable weather conditions that can quickly turn deadly. The trail is notorious for its extreme cold temperatures, heavy snowfall, and fierce winds, which can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and avalanches. The combination of steep terrain and harsh weather makes it a challenging and potentially life-threatening experience for hikers.

Hardest Part Of The Trail

The most challenging section of the Chilkoot Trail is often considered to be the Golden Stairs, a steep and grueling ascent that spans approximately 1.5 miles and gains over 1,000 feet in elevation. This section requires hikers to navigate a series of switchbacks and climb up a rocky terrain, testing their endurance and strength.

Water Sources

1. Glacier-fed streams and rivers: The Chilkoot Trail is known for its pristine glacier-fed water sources. These streams and rivers offer some of the purest and most refreshing drinking water along the trail.

2. Lakes and ponds: There are several lakes and ponds along the Chilkoot Trail that provide excellent drinking water. These bodies of water are often crystal clear and offer a serene setting to replenish your water supply.

3. Natural springs: The trail is dotted with natural springs that provide a continuous flow of fresh drinking water. These springs are highly reliable and are often marked on trail maps or indicated by signs.

4. Snowmelt: In the early summer months, snowmelt can be a popular drinking water source along the Chilkoot Trail. As the snow melts, it forms small streams and rivulets that offer cold and refreshing water.

5. Waterfalls: There are several waterfalls along the Chilkoot Trail, and they can serve as a great source of drinking water. The cascading water is usually clean and can be collected from pools or directly from the falls themselves.

It’s important to note that while these sources are generally safe to drink from, it’s always a good idea to treat or filter the water to ensure its purity.

Places To Eat

1. Klondike Kate’s Restaurant & Cabins: A historic restaurant offering hearty meals and cozy cabins, located in Skagway, Alaska.
2. The Sourdough Bakery: A charming bakery known for its freshly baked bread and pastries, situated in Carcross, Yukon.
3. The Mountain Shop: A popular stop for hikers, offering a variety of snacks, sandwiches, and beverages, located in Bennett, British Columbia.
4. The Log Cabin Restaurant: A rustic eatery serving delicious comfort food and offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains, situated in Whitehorse, Yukon.
5. The Skagway Brewing Company: A lively brewpub offering a range of craft beers and tasty pub fare, located in Skagway, Alaska.

Guided Tours?

Yes, guided tours are available on the Chilkoot Trail. These tours are typically offered by various tour operators and companies in the region. Some popular starting points for guided tours on the Chilkoot Trail include Skagway, Alaska, and Whitehorse, Yukon. It is recommended to research and contact specific tour operators for more information on availability and booking.

Gear Packing List

1. Backpack
2. Tent
3. Sleeping bag
4. Sleeping pad
5. Stove and fuel
6. Cookware and utensils
7. Water filter or purification tablets
8. Food and snacks
9. Water bottles or hydration bladder
10. Clothing layers (including rain gear)
11. Hiking boots
12. Trekking poles
13. Headlamp or flashlight
14. Map and compass
15. First aid kit
16. Insect repellent
17. Sunscreen
18. Bear-resistant food container or bear bag
19. Bear spray
20. Personal toiletries
21. Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
22. Cash and identification
23. Trail permit or pass
24. Emergency whistle
25. Multi-tool or knife

Camping Things To Know

1. Wildlife encounters: While camping on the Chilkoot Trail, it’s important to be aware of potential wildlife encounters. While bears are often the primary concern, it’s worth noting that the trail is also home to other wildlife such as moose and wolves. It’s crucial to store food properly in bear-resistant containers and follow all recommended safety precautions to minimize the risk of attracting wildlife to your campsite. Additionally, it’s advisable to make noise while hiking to alert animals of your presence and avoid surprising them.

2. Weather conditions: The Chilkoot Trail is known for its unpredictable and rapidly changing weather conditions. It’s not uncommon to experience rain, fog, or even snow, even during the summer months. Therefore, it’s essential to pack appropriate clothing and gear to stay warm and dry. Layering your clothing is key to adapting to the changing temperatures, and having a good quality rain jacket and waterproof footwear is highly recommended. Additionally, it’s crucial to check weather forecasts before embarking on the trail and be prepared for sudden weather changes during your camping trip.

Advice For Beginners

When hiking the Chilkoot Trail, it’s important to be well-prepared and informed. Firstly, make sure you have the necessary permits and reservations in advance, as the trail is regulated and limited to a certain number of hikers per day. Research the trail thoroughly, familiarize yourself with the route, and understand the potential hazards and challenges you may encounter.

Pack wisely and efficiently. Keep your backpack as light as possible by only bringing essential items such as proper clothing, food, water, and camping gear. Be sure to include a good pair of hiking boots, rain gear, and layers to accommodate changing weather conditions. Additionally, bring a map, compass, and a first aid kit.

Stay hydrated and nourished throughout the hike. Carry enough water and snacks to keep your energy levels up, as there are limited water sources along the trail. Be mindful of wildlife and follow proper food storage practices to avoid attracting animals.

Take your time and pace yourself. The Chilkoot Trail is a challenging hike, so listen to your body and rest when needed. Start early in the day to allow ample time for breaks and to reach your campsite before dark. Be aware of your surroundings, follow trail markers, and stay on designated paths to avoid getting lost.

Lastly, respect the environment and leave no trace. Pack out all your trash and dispose of it properly. Be mindful of the fragile ecosystem and wildlife habitats, and avoid disturbing or feeding any animals you encounter. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience hiking the Chilkoot Trail.

What If Lost?

If lost on the Chilkoot Trail, stay calm and try to retrace your steps to the last known location. If unable to find your way back, stay put and wait for help. Use any available resources, such as a map or compass, to orient yourself and signal for assistance if possible.

Places To Stay

Types Of Shelters

There are three types of shelters available on the Chilkoot Trail: public use cabins, campgrounds, and designated tent sites.

Popular Hostels

1. Klondike Hostel
2. Chilkoot Trail Outpost
3. Sheep Camp Wilderness Hostel
4. Bennett Lake Cabin
5. Lindeman City Campground

Other Amenities

The Chilkoot Trail, located in Alaska and British Columbia, offers a range of amenities to enhance the hiking experience. Some of the top amenities include well-maintained campsites with tent platforms, pit toilets, and food storage lockers to ensure a comfortable and safe stay. Additionally, there are trail shelters along the route, providing shelter from inclement weather. The trail is also equipped with informative signage, indicating historical points of interest and providing hikers with valuable information about the area. These amenities contribute to a more enjoyable and convenient hiking experience along the Chilkoot Trail.

Hot Springs Locations

There are several hot springs located near or along the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska and British Columbia. Here is a list of some of them:

1. Bennett Hot Springs: Located near Bennett Lake in British Columbia, Canada. It is accessible from the Chilkoot Trailhead at Dyea, Alaska.

2. Lindeman Hot Springs: Situated near Lindeman Lake in British Columbia, Canada. It is approximately 30 miles from the Chilkoot Trailhead at Dyea, Alaska.

3. Bare Loon Lake Hot Springs: Found near Bare Loon Lake, close to the Canadian border. It is about 40 miles from the Chilkoot Trailhead at Dyea, Alaska.

4. Big Rock Hot Springs: Located near Big Rock Lake, close to the Canadian border. It is approximately 45 miles from the Chilkoot Trailhead at Dyea, Alaska.

5. Canyon City Hot Springs: Situated near Canyon City, Alaska. It is about 50 miles from the Chilkoot Trailhead at Dyea, Alaska.

Please note that the availability and conditions of these hot springs may vary, and it is always recommended to check with local authorities or trail guides for the most up-to-date information before planning a visit.

Trail Magic

Trail magic on the Chilkoot Trail is a delightful surprise for hikers, offering unexpected acts of kindness and support along the way. While not as common as on other long-distance trails, the Chilkoot Trail still has its fair share of trail magic moments. Hikers may encounter trail angels who leave small caches of snacks, drinks, or other treats at strategic points along the trail. These caches can be a welcome sight, providing a boost of energy and morale during the challenging hike.

Additionally, hikers may come across fellow hikers or locals who offer assistance, encouragement, or even a hot meal. Some trail angels may set up impromptu campsites with food and beverages, creating a communal atmosphere where hikers can rest, socialize, and share stories. These acts of trail magic can be particularly uplifting, as they provide a sense of camaraderie and support in the midst of a demanding trek.

However, it’s important to note that trail magic on the Chilkoot Trail is not as prevalent as on other popular long-distance trails like the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail. The remote and rugged nature of the Chilkoot Trail, combined with its lower hiker traffic, means that trail magic encounters may be less frequent. Nonetheless, when trail magic does occur, it adds an extra touch of wonder and appreciation to the already awe-inspiring journey along the historic Chilkoot Trail.

Best Lookouts, Viewpoints, And Scenic Views

The Chilkoot Trail, located in Alaska and British Columbia, offers breathtaking scenery throughout its length. While the entire trail is known for its natural beauty, there are a few standout spots that are considered the most scenic views along the way.

One of the most iconic viewpoints on the Chilkoot Trail is the Golden Stairs. This section of the trail is a steep climb that takes hikers up to the summit of the Chilkoot Pass. As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers, and alpine meadows. The rugged beauty of this area is truly awe-inspiring and makes for a memorable experience.

Another notable scenic spot is the Happy Camp. Situated along the banks of the Taiya River, this camp offers a picturesque setting surrounded by lush forests and towering mountains. The tranquil atmosphere and serene beauty of this location make it a favorite among hikers. It’s a perfect place to rest, take in the scenery, and appreciate the natural wonders of the Chilkoot Trail.

The Deep Lake area is also renowned for its scenic beauty. Nestled amidst the mountains, this pristine alpine lake offers crystal-clear waters reflecting the surrounding peaks. The peacefulness and tranquility of Deep Lake make it a popular spot for hikers to take a break and soak in the stunning views.

Lastly, the Bennett Lake area marks the end of the Chilkoot Trail. This picturesque lake, surrounded by mountains and forests, provides a serene and serene setting to conclude your journey. The calm waters and scenic vistas make it a perfect place to reflect on the adventure and appreciate the beauty of the Chilkoot Trail.

Overall, the Chilkoot Trail is filled with numerous scenic views that showcase the grandeur of the Alaskan wilderness. From the Golden Stairs to Happy Camp, Deep Lake, and Bennett Lake, each of these locations offers its own unique beauty and contributes to the unforgettable experience of hiking the Chilkoot Trail.

Resupply Points

The Chilkoot Trail is a historic trail that spans approximately 33 miles (53 kilometers) from Dyea, Alaska, to Bennett, British Columbia. Along this challenging route, there are three main resupply points that hikers can utilize to restock their provisions and refuel for the journey ahead.

1. Sheep Camp: Located around 7 miles (11 kilometers) into the trail, Sheep Camp is the first designated resupply point. It serves as a base camp for many hikers, offering tent platforms, cooking shelters, and outhouses. Here, hikers can find potable water, but they must treat it before consumption. Sheep Camp is a popular spot for resting and preparing for the more demanding sections of the trail.

2. Lindeman City: Situated approximately 13 miles (21 kilometers) from the trailhead, Lindeman City is the second resupply point. It was once a bustling tent city during the Klondike Gold Rush. Today, it provides hikers with a campground, picnic tables, and outhouses. There is a nearby lake where water can be filtered or treated. Lindeman City offers a scenic spot to take a break and replenish supplies.

3. Bennett: The final resupply point on the Chilkoot Trail is Bennett, located at the end of the trail in British Columbia. This historic town was once a significant transportation hub during the gold rush era. Today, it serves as a campground and offers basic amenities such as picnic tables, outhouses, and potable water. Bennett is a popular spot for hikers to rest, celebrate completing the trail, and catch the train back to Skagway, Alaska.

These resupply points provide hikers with essential facilities and resources to support their journey along the Chilkoot Trail. While they offer some comfort and convenience, it’s important for hikers to plan and pack accordingly, as these points are relatively basic and remote.

Bathroom Facilities

The bathroom facilities on the Chilkoot Trail are basic and limited. There are pit toilets available at designated campsites along the trail, but they are often shared among a large number of hikers. These toilets are simple structures with no running water or flushing systems. It is important to bring your own toilet paper and practice Leave No Trace principles by properly disposing of waste. Overall, the bathroom facilities on the Chilkoot Trail are rustic and require hikers to be prepared and respectful of the environment.

Historical and Cultural Information

The Chilkoot Trail holds significant historical and cultural importance. It was a vital trade route used by Indigenous peoples, particularly the Tlingit and Tagish, for centuries before the arrival of European settlers. In the late 19th century, it gained prominence during the Klondike Gold Rush, as thousands of prospectors traversed the trail in search of fortune. The trail witnessed immense human suffering and loss, as many struggled to overcome treacherous conditions and steep terrain. The Chilkoot Trail is a testament to the resilience and determination of those who braved its challenges, leaving behind a rich cultural legacy and a reminder of the transformative impact of historical events.

Training Required For Before You Hike

Thru-hiking the Chilkoot Trail requires adequate physical fitness, endurance, and preparation. Hikers should engage in regular cardiovascular and strength training exercises to build stamina and muscle strength. Additionally, practicing long-distance hikes with a fully loaded backpack is crucial to simulate the trail’s challenging terrain and weather conditions. Familiarity with navigation skills, wilderness first aid, and bear safety protocols is also essential. Proper gear, including sturdy hiking boots, waterproof clothing, and a reliable backpack, should be obtained and tested prior to embarking on the trail.

Careers / Employment On The Trail

The Chilkoot Trail offers a range of potential career opportunities for individuals interested in outdoor recreation and tourism. One potential career path is becoming a trail guide or ranger. These professionals lead groups of hikers along the trail, providing information about the area’s history, geology, and wildlife. They ensure the safety of hikers and offer guidance on navigating the challenging terrain. Another potential career opportunity is in the hospitality industry. As the Chilkoot Trail attracts a significant number of visitors each year, there is a demand for accommodation providers, restaurant staff, and other hospitality professionals who can cater to the needs of hikers and tourists. These roles offer the chance to work in a stunning natural environment while providing essential services to visitors.

Flora and Fauna

The Chilkoot Trail is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.


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