Each summer, the 53-kilometre Chilkoot Trail attracts bucket list hikers from around the globe, drawn to spectacular scenery, a rugged challenge, and the enduring draw of history. Constituting the largest National Historic Site in Canada, the snow-covered rocky terrain follows in the ghostly wake of 19th-century speculators, swept up in a gold rush frenzy. Today’s hikers chase a different type of gold, one I’d argue is no less precious. Maintained by Parks Canada and the US National Parks Service, just fifty hikers are allowed to enter the trail each day, and due to high demand, reservations are essential.
Length of Trip : 3 - 5 days for the hike. Great Canadian Trails offer a 7-day guided package.
Cost : For the Trail Permit and Day-Use fees, click here. Great Canadian Trails offer a guided package which includes two nights accommodation in Whitehorse, all camping equipment, transfers to and from the trailhead, a flightseeing tour and one porter per two hikers. Click here for more information.
Best time to go : The Trail is open early June to early September. Peak season is mid-July to mid-August.
Wheelchair friendly : No
Family friendly : Not recommended for young kids, but if you happen to be the parents of mountain goats...
Where to eat : You'll be camping for the duration of the trip, packing in and out your campfire meals. Once you return to Whitehorse, celebrate your hike with a great meal at Burnt Toast or the Klondike Rib and Salmon BBQ.
Where to Stay : You'll be camping in well-maintained, but basic campgrounds along the way. Camping is only permitted in the designated campgrounds. Hikers often choose to spend more time in some of the more scenic campgrounds like Deep Lake and Lindemann City. For accommodation in Whitehorse, I recommend Best Western's Gold Rush Inn.
Getting There : The Chilkoot Trail is accessed from Skagway, Alaska, a three-hour drive from Whitehorse. There is a parking lot or shuttle service available to the Dyea Trailhead, located 16km from town. From the Bennett Trailhead, return to Skagway with White Pass and Yukon Route Train, which offers a special hiker return service.
Note from Robin : The Golden Stairs were fifteen hundred steps cut into the ice and snow leading up Chilkoot Pass. It could lead prospectors to riches, misery, and in some unfortunate cases, an early demise. The mere sight of the pass was enough to send many a defeated stampeder retreating in the opposite direction. Today, conquering the pass from Sheep Camp to Happy Camp takes place in one push, typically a 12-hour hike.
Want to take on one of the world's great Bucket List hikes, but don't know where to start? Intimidated by the logistics of a week of rugged trekking? Great Canadian Trails offers a guided Chilkoot Trail itinerary that allows you to focus on the task at hand - completing the hike, and immersing yourself in the majestic coastal rainforest.The Great Canadian Trails' Chilkoot Trail package includes:
- 4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
- 2 nights twin share accommodation in Whitehorse
- 4 nights wilderness camping
- Licensed wilderness guide and assistant(s) to help reduce pack weight
- All camping and kitchen equipment except for sleeping bag and mat
- Emergency equipment (first aid kit, bear spray, satellite phone)
- Airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 7
- Private transportation during the trip
- Park fees and permits
FOR THIS EXPERIENCE, WE RECOMMEND
|Durand Mid WP (Available for Men and Women)
Amazing comfort and unsurpassed durability from the first step to the millionth! The KEEN Durand Mid WP hiking boots for men are crafted of KEEN PU and dual compound rubber outsole. They deliver durable, dependable longevity for the long haul. PU resists breakdown and compression, while preserving its shock-absorbing qualities no matter how many miles you put on them, keeping you comfortable while hiking. Feet stay dry and comfortable thanks to the KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane. This men's waterproof hiker is American Built in KEEN's Portland, Oregon, factory.
Liberty Ridge (Available for Men and Women)
The Liberty Ridge hiking boot is KEEN’s tough, supportive high-performance leather boot for long trips on gnarly trails. The shock absorbing direct-attach PU midsole delivers lasting comfort, and a full-length shank adds stability. The waterproof upper and KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane combine to keep your feet dry. Designed to handle any trail surface, if you rack up serious backcountry mileage with a full pack, this is your boot. American Built with materials from around the world.
Gypsum (Available for Men and Women)
Lace up the Gypsum and rack up the trail miles. For stability, comfort and moisture management, this lightweight hiker delivers with built-in technology including a specially designed 4mm lugged outsole, KEEN.Zorb strobel and KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane.
Saltzman WP (Available for Men and Women)
The Saltzman Waterproof hiking shoe is perfect for long day hikes and rugged global adventure. The closed mesh upper is light, flexible and tough. The waterproof, breathable KEEN.DRY membrane protects from rain and mud. High-traction outsole and springy midsole combine with a metatomical dual density footbed add long lasting cushioning.
Targhee II Mid: (Available for Men and Women)
Here's a hiking boot that offers four-wheel-drive performance for your feet. It's designed to be both waterproof and breathable, and the aggressive outsole bites into the terrain. The mid-cut height adds ankle support.