The Yukon's Kluane park

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 28-March 6, 1996
Diving in Fiji
Sailing in the Seychelles
Backpacking choices in Wyoming
The Yukon's Kluane park
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Outdoor spiritual education

The Yukon's Kluane park
Q: I would like to get suggestions/advice for any Yukon trips that would be appropriate for myself (age 43) and my son (age 15), as we are planning an extended trip there.
Thomas Murphy
Londonderry, NH
[email protected]
The wild Yukon awaits you at Kluane National Park
A: While the 1,511-mile, mostly paved Alaska Highway is the main drag through the Yukon, the best way to see the immense territory is to take to the backcountry. That said, we recommend spending some time in Kluane National Park in the remote, glacier-filled southwest corner of the Yukon. Home to the snowcapped St. Elias Range and 19,636-foot Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak, Kluane is a rugged landscape--with high open hillsides, plenty of moose and caribou, and more than its fair share of rock, ice, and--of course--snow. Make your first stop the Visitor Center at Haines Junction for trail maps, hiking books, and the required free backcountry camping permits.

For a great introduction to the region's mining history, resident wildlife, and the awe-inspiring Kaskawulsh Glacier, stretch your legs on a 14-mile hike along the Slims River Trail. Pick up the trailhead near the Sheep Mountain information center. The first five miles are an easy walk along an old mining road along the west side of the Slims River. From there, the road ends and you'll have three creeks to cross before summiting Observation Mountain for spectacular views of the surrounding ice fields. For a good day hike, pick up the 11.4-mile Auriol loop from the trailhead three miles south of Haines Junction. The route climbs steeply at first to the tree line, where you'll be rewarded with panoramic views. To make this an overnight, pitch your tent at the primitive campground near the top. For more information, call the park visitor center at 403-634-2251, send away for Tourism Yukon's free traveler's booklet (PO Box 2703, Whitehorse, Canada, Y1A 2C6; 403-667-5340), or pick up a copy of the Alaska-Yukon Handbook ($14.95, Moon Publications).

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