Auriol Trail


Distance: 15 km
Elevation Gain: 367 m (1204 ft)
Time: 4.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Region: Kluane
Date Added: July 9, 2009
Last Update: January 8, 2011
Winter: ski touring snowshoeing 



The Auriol Trail is close to Haines Junction and is a popular day and overnight hike. The actual trail itself does not go above tree level, but an extended hike from the trail into the alpine is highly recommended.


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Winter



Driving Directions

From Haines Junction, drive towards Haines, Alaska for about 5 km. There will be a sign indicating the Auriol Trail turnoff is 2 km away. Park in the pull-out. There is a sign at the pull-out with a map of the trail.




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Trail Description

The trail starts by crossing a small clearing and then stays in the trees for the most part. It is well-used and hard to miss.

The trail climbs gently through a mix of poplar, spruce, and pine forest. You will reach a junction in the trail after 2 km. Both trails lead to the campground, with the left fork taking a more gradual route, while the right fork is 500 m shorter but with more ups and downs. We typically suggest taking the left fork and then making a loop and returning via the other fork. If you take the left fork, after a while the trail will pass by a small lake and meet up with Auriol Creek.

After about 7.5 km, or halfway, there is a small campsite with 3 tent pads, a fire pit, an outhouse, and a place to hang your food (out of the reach of bears). Auriol Creek runs right by the campground, so there is plenty of water.

About 500 m from the campground you will come to a bridge. This is the best point to head towards the mountains and the alpine. Follow the creek, crossing it ever so often in order to pick your way up towards the Auriol bowl. You will have to climb one of the steep morraines that run by the creek. Pick the one with the least amount of brush on its top.

From the top of the morraines, you can easily hike towards the bowl. There is a beautiful apline lake at the base of the bowl. Be careful not to get too close to the lake, as the rock covered ice around it is highly volatile and ever-crumbling into the lake.

After you've explored the alpine, make your way back to the bridge and continue to follow the trail as it makes a loop. Once again you will pass through a nice mix of forests on the way back to the trailhead.


Winter

Auriol Trail is a four season trail and you can ski, walk, or snowshoe up it. The trail is often groomed for skiing on the clockwise (left) section of the loop up to about 4.5 km (9 km round trip).


Note: Overnight trips in Kluane National Park and Reserve require registration and approved bear resistant food canisters. Please visit the Park's website for details.

Elevations

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Comments / Trip Reports

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Renee
April 6, 2016

Are permits required to hike and camp here through the summer?
Natasha D
January 31, 2016

Snowstorm snowshoe. We did this trail on Jan 30, 2016 midway through a snowstormy day. Active snowfall with limited visibility. New to the area so we luckily had some ski trails to follow. No issues with trail following aside from the area near the campsite after 7.1km and until approx 9km. followed the pink flags and found my way down the ravine. After that the point the trail narrows and has significantly less trail markings though we stayed on easily. With the heavy snowfall there was limited mountain views though still enjoyable. Did not do the little offshoot as the recent weather made it a high avalanche risk. MUST do trail from left to right. It felt like no elevation going up the Left but coming down the right was a relentless gradual downhill (excellent for going down, but not up!) Would recommend for a great snowshoe! Took us 5 hrs total.
H.
August 16, 2015

Pleasant hike in the woods in Kluane. Went in late June. Some bear scat on the trail, but no bears sighted. Took the left for the loop which made for a fairly easy hike. Good views of Paint Mountain and Haines Junction on the way back down. Took a few minutes to find the connecting trail at the campsite - had to follow the creek and retrace our steps a few times to find it.
Jan Triska
July 27, 2015

Hiked this trail on a recent Yukon trip, the second time I have been on it (first time was in 2012, while attempting Quill Peak). A very enjoyable hike, with many species of flowering alpine plants and with some decent views of the Auriol Range, in the upper part that gets out of the treeline for a bit. It was a good warm up for my more strenuous, summit-focused hikes on Sheep Mtn and Mt. Decoeli over the next few days. I also really like the views towards Haines Junction and Paint Mountain that open up on the descent (if you descend via the northern fork). A likeable classic. 3hrs 20 minutes for the full loop.
Leah, Curt, Rian, Mike
April 17, 2015

We attempted to hike this trail yesterday (April 16). We made it in about 4.5km but the snow was still deep and we didn't have snow shoes. The first 2km of the trail are easy to walk on, although snow covered, however after the fork the trail snow becomes deeper and the hard packed snow to walk on was aonly about 1ft wide so we endless kept sliding off and going up to our knees in snow. We came across 2 foot bridges on the way. It gets very windy when you start to get to about km 3 and the bowl starts to come into view. On the way back in the warm sunshine the snow became mushy and slippery so we had many funny mishaps but the snow became a lot of work to walk on and it felt as though we were getting no where fast.

We are eager to go back when the snow melts because the views we saw were just awesome!
Bob
July 2, 2014

July 1, 2014. Three of us hiked the trail for Canada Day. The mosquitos were terrible along the forested portion and we had to don headnets. We took the left fork at the trail junction. The trail past the campground to the bridge is hard to find and marked with some flagging tape in places. The Auriol trail loop continues on the other side of the bridge. One bridge abutment is falling into the creek but ok to cross. We branched off at the bridge to head to the moraine. There are a few creek crossings and then a climb up onto the moraine, which is very extensive and hilly, with lots of tippy rocks and shale. It requires carefully picking your way to the bowl. Good boots are helpful. We climbed a ridge past the lake to around 1450 meters, involving some snow crossing and step kicking, had lunch, and then circled back around the lake. It's slow going but worth it. Total time from the parking lot was about 8 hours, distance 22 km and elevation gain 970 meters.
Marko Marjanovic
December 16, 2013

A group of us skied up to the bridge this weekend and setup camp (along the north section of the loop). There was about 40cm of fresh powder a few days prior, so it took us 5.5 hours to get to the bridge.

During the night, an extreme windstorm blew away most of the snow, leaving dirt and grass.

There is a trip report here:
http://www.accyukon.ca/2013/12/auriol-trail-base-camp-trip.html
Alastair Cook
August 19, 2012

A group of us did the full trail yesterday, August 18th. There were six of us, mostly in our fifties, and we had great weather. We took eight hours in total, because we stopped quite a bit to admire the amazing views, especially when higher up, and out of the trees more. We were surprised by a full sized creek coming down the trail at one point towards the top, but it was passable enough. The trail was easily distinguishable throughout, except at the top end, where the camp sites were located. At this point it was confused due to water coursing through it. Amazingly a couple of hikers came to our aid at that point, one of whom had lived in Haines Junction all this life, and who had helped build the trail when he was much younger. Once we'd passed this short, but rather confusing area, the trail was very obvious again.
I would like to say this was one excellent day out. I have realized now that the time allocations for hikes on this website are arbitrary, and that I take 50% longer in general, because I prefer a leisurely hike to a more strenuous one. Highly recommended.