Chilkoot Trail
Chilkoot Trail

Chilkoot Trail

Free admission

Retrace the rugged and scenic 33-mile (53-kilometer route that led prospectors from the coast to the Yukon goldfields during the Klondike gold rush in the 1890s. Following old trails used by the Tlingit people for centuries, the prospectors found a path from Dyea to Bennet through the arduous Coastal Mountains. Today, the Chilkoot Trail is a popular backpacking destination.

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The basics

Permits are required to backpack along the Chilkoot Trail and for day hiking or running on the Canadian portion of the trail. Day hikers do not need a permit on the United States portion of the trail from Dyea to Chilkoot Pass. If you only have one day, combine a short hike on the Chilkoot Trail with a rafting trip on the Taiya River. Alternatively, take a scenic ride on the White Pass Railroad to the Chilkoot Trail’s terminus at Bennett Lake.

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Things to know before you go

  • A permit is required to hike the entire Chilkoot Trail during the summer months.
  • Most backpackers take 3–5 days to hike the trail.
  • From the trail’s terminus in Bennett, you can take the White Pass Railroad back to Skagway.
  • Don’t forget your passport since the trail travels into Canada from the United States.
  • Before hiking the trail, learn about bear safety and how to properly store food.
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How to get there

The Dyea trailhead is located 10 miles (15 kilometers) from Skagway, Alaska. Skagway is accessible via road from Whitehorse, in Canada’s Yukon Territory. The nearest international airport is located in Whitehorse and commuter air and ferry service is available from Juneau. The Bennett trailhead is only accessible by train from Skagway or Carcross, Yukon, and via floatplane from Whitehorse.

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When to get there

Official hiking season on the Chilkoot Trail varies based on snowpack and weather conditions, but typically runs from the beginning of June through early September. At this time, the trail is marked and staffed by rangers. Permits are required to hike the trail during the busy summer season, but not during the spring and fall. Permits must be obtained in November prior to the summer you’d like to hike, although a few permits are available first-come, first-served in summer.

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The Chilkoot Trail Route

The Chilkoot Trail hike begins in the ghost town of Dyea near Skagway. The route begins at sea level and winds its way along the Taiya River before slowly ascending to Sheep Camp. The climb to Chilkoot Pass at 3,525 feet (1,067 meters) is the most demanding portion of the trail and requires scrambling on slick boulders and often traversing snowfields. The final stretch of the trail passes by several alpine lakes before ending at Bennett Lake.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Chilkoot Trail?
Attractions near Chilkoot Trail: