Hike in the Footsteps of Tlingit Traders and Klondike Goldseekers
Steeped in Klondike Gold Rush history and scattered with relics from the past, the famous Chilkoot Trail is a living museum and should be on the "must-do" list for many Yukon visitors. This rugged 55-kilometre wilderness route is a world-renowned hiking trail and the Chilkoot Trail is Canada’s largest National Historic Site.
More than a hundred years ago, the Chilkoot Trail was the main route to the Klondike, and thousands of Yukon pioneers, settlers and prospecters in search of gold travelled this hilly route, rode the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, rafted across nearby lakes and floated the Yukon River to Dawson City. Southern Tutchone and Tagish people of the interior traditionally traded with coastal Tlingit people on the Chilkoot Trail and other mountain passes and used their valuable knowledge of these local areas as guides and packers for those traveling via the Chilkoot. In 1897, during the height of the Klondike's Gold Rush, goldpanners prospecting in the Yukon were forced to haul their supplies across this high coastal pass, the only route to rich goldfields to the north and a challenging feat requiring weeks of effort.
Experience the Chilkoot
Today hikers can complete this cross-border hiking trip in just a few days.This popular multi-day hike is a moderate to hard wilderness trek, but the trail is well-maintained. For those with limited time or a preference for a softer Chilkoot experience, walk a portion of the trail or enjoy a ride to Bennett on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad. All along the Chilkoot Trail, hikers can still spy the remains of the boats and wagons, rusting stoves and tin cans, and log cabin ruins of Chilkoot pioneers.
If the Chilkoot Trail is on your Yukon vacation list, be sure to contact Parks Canada (toll free for North America only 1-800-661-0486; local or overseas 867-667-3910). This should be done well in advance as reservations are required.