Kluane national park

Kluane National Park

After our stay in Banff National Park, we are looking for the next destination for the last three weeks of our trip in Canada. While in Canmore, we find the Yukon brochure once again and are still very fascinated by the pictures of Kluane National Park. The challenge: 2400 kilometers to cover from Canmore. We undertake the challenge: Yukon, here we come!

On the road to Yukon

Yukon has only a little more than 40’000 inhabitants on a surface as big as Spain. Three quarters of the inhabitants live in the capital Whitehorse. Fun fact: it also has an estimated population of 6’000-7’000 grizzly bears, which represent one grizzly bear for every three households.

The journey from Canmore to Kluane National Park is 2400 kilometers and about 26 hours long, which is about the same distance as Bern-Helsinki or Bern-Athens. We are looking forward to an exciting five-day road trip. Since we will drive for hours in completely uninhabited areas, accommodation, refreshment points and refueling stops must be well planned. In this mid-September, the further north we go, the more the landscape takes on beautiful fall colors. We could not have chosen a better time for this trip.  

We start off on the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper and pass the Chetamon wildfire, where the smoke continues to hang in the air. Shortly before Dawson Creek, we cross the Alberta-British Columbia border. Here we enter the famous Alaska Highway, which we will not leave until we reach Kluane National Park.

We stop regularly along the road to enjoy the beautiful landscapes, and also in the village of Watson Lake, where we visit the Sign Post Forest, a special forest made of old city signs and car plates from all over the world. A little later, we also pass by the Yukon River, to Marion’s great pleasure. After five days on the road, we finally reach our destination: the small village of Haines Junction, on the edge of Kluane National Park.

Our highlights

Road trip

Alaska Highway

Unspoiled landscapes

Fall colors

Yukon River

Sign Post Forest

Wildlife on the Alaska Highway

We regularly see animals on the edge or on the Alaska Highway.

A big herd of bisons make us stop briefly on the road.  To our delight, we are able to observe some coyotes and several black bears with their cubs a bit longer.

Our highlights


Black bears with cubs


Bison herd

Kluane National Park

Haines Junction is a good starting point for visits to Kluane National Park. This small village has a handful of hotels and restaurants, a café, a very informative information center, as well as a gas station and small village store run by a Swiss family. We really enjoy the peace and remoteness of this location, first in a nice motel, then in a beautiful duplex vacation apartment.

The surface area of the national park is about half the size of Switzerland. It is only accessible from the ground on the east side. More than 80% of the national park is covered by ice fields, and it is also the largest non-polar ice field in the world. 17 of Canada’s 20 highest mountains are located in this national park, including Mount Logan, which reaches 5959 meters. Along the Alaska Highway and Haines Road, we drive along the park boundary several times, whether it is to get to the trailhead or to one of the many lakes.

A trip to Haines, a small Alaskan fishing port town, is highly recommended by the visitor center. A three-hour drive through beautiful scenery to see the famous bald eagle, as well as grizzly bears currently avidly fishing for salmon in the Chilkoot River in preparation for winter. We don’t need to be told twice and we add a small detour to Haines in Alaska to our program.

Our highlights

Pristine landscapes

Unspoilt nature

Golden Automn


Visitor Center

Parkside Inn

Kluane Green Sprout

Kluane from the air

Only a fraction of the park is accessible from the ground. If you really want to discover the mountainous landscape of Kluane National Park, there is no other way than to fly over the icefield. So one morning, before sunrise, we sit in a Helio Courier H295, a small propeller plane whose year of construction we prefer not to know.

We take off and the panorama in the sunrise is breathtaking. We first fly over Kluane Lake, then over the impressive Kaskawulsh glacier and gradually discovered the large ice field surrounded by the St. Elias Mountains range, with only Mount Logan still hidden in the clouds. During the flight, the small plane experiences turbulence with each gust of wind and our state of mind oscillates between bliss and acute fear of death. We are both happy and sad at the same time when we get back on solid ground after a little more than an hour of flight.

Our highlights

Flight in Helio Courier

Flight over the ice field


Kaskawulsh Glacier

Having survived the flight

Kluane by foot

Far from the hustle and bustle of Alberta or British Columbia parks, Kluane National Park is very peaceful in mid-September. At the visitor’s center, the ranger first asked us how far we could go on multi-day hikes and hikes on unmarked routes. We quickly realize that hiking here can be more adventurous than elsewhere. We opt for marked half-day or full-day hikes, the park has a good dozen of them.

In the northern part of the park, we particularly enjoy the Sheep Creek hike, which offers magnificent views of the surrounding valleys and mountains as well as the foot of the Kaskawulsh Glacier. Those traveling with a tent and wishing to do a multi-day hike should consider the Observation Mountain route, which offers a perfect and wide view of the impressive Kaskawulsh Glacier, or also the Cottonwood-Trail.

On the south side, we also enjoy shorter hikes. The hike to St. Elias Lake allows us to enjoy the beautiful fall colors. Marion is delighted to see us strolling through a beautiful forest of golden aspen. For Philip, the photo of Lake St. Elias, in which the landscape is perfectly reflected, has become his favorite photo of the four months spent in North America. We also spend some time at the Rock-Glacier viewpoint, located on a glacial moraine and offering a beautiful view of Dezadeash Lake. Conditions are not optimal for the difficult hike to the top of King’s Throne, so we only do part of it.

Our highlights

Sheep Creek

St. Elias Lake

Reflection on St. Elias Lake


Automn colors

Rock Glacier Viewpoint

Our most beautiful hikes in detail