Elevation gain: 3600ft (1100m) to max elevation of 6000ft(1800m); topo map - Mush Lake 115 A/6
Excerpt from the the Kluane Park Hiking Guide, by Vivien Lougheed is re-printed with the kind permission of the author and publisher.
This interesting trip passes mining artifacts and perilous canyons, before reaching alpine lakes tucked under craggy peaks. The route finally circles to a moonscape plateau under Mt Barker and overlooks the icefields across the way.
Take the suspension bridge that crosses Alder ck. Fill water bottles here, no more water for a few hrs. The trail is a wide mining road, steeply ascends over the hill and then returns to the creek. The mountain reveals good views of the valley in both directions. At the summit, there is a viewpoint (UTM 97-80) with a narrow trail to the next gully. This is not maintained, so stay on the main road.
About 2 hrs from the parking is a creek with a log bridge. The trail starts to descend. The next creek has 2 bridges. This is the exit point if doing a loop. Continue down the rd to Alder ck, camping anywhere along there, or uphill a few 100 ft. Walk from Alder to Shorty ck is easy. There is a wooden sign at the confluence.
During low water, you may continue past here and up Alder ck for another 6km to a long pass with 2 lakes. The canyons are too steep to climb during high water. Instead, follow Shorty ck up the valley, staying on the left side.
There are many signs of mining activity. Continue up the valley to UTM 99-78 passing a tributary on the south (left) side. Stay on the south side of Shorty ck the rest of the way. There is some easy bush-whacking here, in the canyon, and there is good camping. You will see the remains of a mining camp with stoves, beds, furniture.
If water levels allow, then walk along Shorty ck all the way to the lakes. The walk is a bit longer but not as steep as going over the hills. Otherwise continue to an alluvial fan, then ascend while veering left. Continue in a SW direction heading between 2 bald peaks.
Once on the pass between the 2 peaks the lakes can be sen below (UTM 97-74). No wood at the lakes but flat spots can be found for tents. The pass below Mt Barker (UTM 96-77) leads to the moonscape. There is a 60m incline to the top of the pass. From here a lake (UTM 95-78) comes into view 60m down a gentle slope. Skirt this lake and continue left until a 2nd higher lake. This is one of the most spectacular sights in the park. Climb Mt Barker to get a better view of the icefields.
To leave the moonscape, walk beside Mt Barker & head to the arm on your left. Once at the creek continue down the draw for 1km before crossing over & bushwhacking down the hill. Along the creek there are camp spots beside the rock face. It takes 2 hrs to arrive at Alder ck road from the lakes.
Drive south from Haines Junction along the Haines rd for 54.4 km (33.8 miles). Turn right at the old lodge and follow the Mush lake road. Drive 1km past the gate. Cars park here, but high clearance vehicle can make it further, there is a big dip at the creek here. Continue to the forks at 2.8km, take either one as they rejoin. The junction at 5.5 km has a sign for Shorty ck. Go right another km and park.
There is a great Yukon govt campground on Dezadeash Lake near the turnoff to this trailhead for an overnight stay before or after doing this trip. Also there are nice cabins for rent a few km away on the other side of the lake, with great views over Kluane Park - contact Merle at firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings.
Topo map above is courtesy of http://www.gotrekkers.com , extracted from TopoTracker DVD for Canada's Northern National Parks (Item #GT1012), an excellent resource to use along with Memory-Map software to explore all the northern National Parks.
Trail guide is excerpt from Vivien's book, used with permission. Photos courtesy of Vivien Lougheed, copyright by the photographer. Also read her advice about camping in bear country, see Sex in the Tent.
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