Bock's Lake

Distance: 24 km
Elevation Gain: 1017 m (3337 ft)
Time: 2-3 days
Difficulty: Moderate
Region: Kluane
Date Added: July 3, 2014
Last Update: July 3, 2014

Bock's Lake is tucked in amongst mountains and moraines. Hiking up Bock's Creek isn't difficult and camping at the lake is a great multi-day trip. The views from the side trips above Bock's Lake are incredible.

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Driving Directions

Drive 100 km north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway. About 14 km north of the Congdon Creek Campground you will see a highway sign for Bock's Creek, as well as the wide creek bed. You can pull off the highway onto a road, just after the creek on the north side. This is an active mining road, so leave room for vehicles to get past.

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Trail Description

It is a 12 km hike (one way) up to Bock's Lake and it takes about 6 hours. It is recommended that you camp at the lake and perhaps even spend one extra day in the area for a day hike. If you only have 1 night, you could hike one of the side trips the evening you arrive at camp, or in the morning before hiking back out. Regardless, make sure you take one of the side trips above Bock's Lake. It's definitely worth it.

Start by following the mining road along the north side of Bock's Creek. The road may disappear shortly up the creek, as it frequently gets washed out from year to year and is only sometimes rebuilt.

If water levels in the creek are low, you can just pick your way up the creek bed. You may or may not have to take off your hiking boots to cross the creek when necessary. If water levels are higher, you may have to cross the creek a few times, so creek crossing shoes are recommended.

The route is straight forward in the beginning - just hike up the creek bed. On your left at roughly 6.5 km is a pass that leads to Nines Creek. If you are hiking to Bock's Lake, forget the pass and continue hiking up the creek bed.

After roughly 10 km, the route looks like it starts to split. You want to follow the creek to your right. The route starts to climb and gets narrow at this point. You will eventually reach some islands of vegetation - welcome relief after having to walk on rocks for the past few hours. Keep following the creek bed until you reach a vegetated hillside on your left. On the other side of the hill is Bock's Lake, so you can climb over it at any point now, although it is best to wait until it is a bit more gentle sloping. From the top of the hill, or just a little further, you should see Bock's Lake below you, tucked up against the mountainside.

If water levels are low (or the lake is partially frozen, which it can be, even in July), you might be able to find a flat spot to camp down by the lake. If not, find a suitable spot on the hill next to the lake.

There are two recommended side trips that you can hike from Bock's Lake. The first one is the mountain pass between Bock's Lake and the Duke River. It is about a 5 km return trip from Bock's Lake and gets to an elevation of 2170 m. You can see the pass when looking south across Bock's Lake. Start by getting around the lake (left side if water levels are low, right side if they are high). Hike along the bottom of the moraine until you are forced to start climbing upwards. Once you are up on the moraine top, stay high on the moraine that leads towards the pass. At the end of the moraine, you will have one last steeper section to go up to reach the pass. The view from the pass is spectacular, and you can see the route down to the Duke River. The creek flowing down and the alpine meadows below look primeval.

The other recommended side trip is to the west of Bock's Lake, up to a saddle that has a sweeping view of the Duke River and deep into the Kluane icefields. It is about a 6 km return trip from Bock's Lake and gets to an elevation of 2348 m. Hike west from the lake, and try to get up on the vegetated areas as they are easier to walk on than the rocky moraines. Climb up the hills and then aim for the base of the ridge in front of you that angles up towards the mountains on your left. You can hike this ridge to the top of the saddle. There is a small icefield on the other side of the ridge.

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.


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Comments / Trip Reports

Have you been to Bock's Lake lately?

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Josee Leclerc
September 9, 2017

We hiked this trail over 3 days. The south and west trail from the lake is definitely the highlight. Beautiful at the end of August.
July 28, 2017

The lake is lovely with many adorable pikas and marmots. The alpine hiking beyond the lake is not to be missed. Here are our notes:
1. Drive as far as you can up the road. It will save you 1.8 kms of fairly boring walking.
2. Stay to the right hand side of the creek when ascending. Detour up into the bushes where the creek seems impassable, but don't be tempted to cross over to the left side because you'll just have to cross back due to rock faces.
3. Although the lake is lovely, I don't recommend this for a day hike because it's 10 kms of uneven footing with not much scenery just to get up to the lake. Once you get to the lake, it's worth doing at least one side trip to see the big mountains. You'll have time to do this on a two-day trip.
4. The immediate area around the lake is starting to show slight signs of wear, so try to spread out around the lake when camping. There are some bold ground squirrels that have clearly been fed, so keep your food secure and don't reward them. The area is clearly popular--there were 5 groups of campers on one of our nights--so be sure to leave no trace.
July 18, 2017

Such an awesome spot! We did this hike during the first week of July and we had the most beautiful weather, there were no bugs and we didn't see any bears. It was great. It took us 5.5 hours up with gear for 2 nights, and about 3.5 hours out. The last 2 k of the hike up gets pretty tough.
May 22, 2017

Trail is mostly snow free all the way to the lake. Around the lake itself there is a lot of snow so we camped before the lake to the west where it was snow free and we had a beautiful view of kluane lake.

The day hike to the west is clear of snow. The one to the south is still completely snow covered.

Saw bear tracks at the beginning of the trail but no signs of bears near the lake.

Parked about 500m up the mining road to the left. A very curious bear paid a visit to our car while we were up the mountain, leaving its prints all over the hood and windshield. So park at your own risk.
August 15, 2016

We did the hike August 5-7 -- amazing weather, gorgeous hike. The way in was rocky, but fairly straightforward. Well worth spending two nights on the lake. We did the saddle day trip and saw lots of sheep.
It took us 6.5 hours in and about 4.5 out. Bear traces on the way in, but didn't notice anything up by the lake.
We had a GPS with us and found it useful -- I could see how it might be difficult to find the lake.
Highly recommended!
Pippa & Lawrence
July 26, 2016

meant to add:

It took us 6 hours up and 4.5 down.
Pippa & Lawrence
July 26, 2016

Nice hike! We backpacked in July 22nd and came out next day as it was socked in and raining. Saw grizzly bear and flock of sheep up top. Took GPS and topo map which helped us find the route in the upper section. Rather than "islands of vegetation", I would say that as you climb higher you increasingly have a choice between the rocky valley bottom and vegetated side-hills. Each has its pros and cons. We were able to keep our feet dry by sticking to the right side of the valley (heading up) and side-hilling/bushwhacking where necessary when the main creek flowed up against that side of the valley (following routes that others had obviously taken). Side-creeks were easy to step across. Maybe low water? This hike could be called "Bock's Rocks" - it's tough on canine paws and a challenge for those who prefer solid, even footing.
September 18, 2015

This is one of my favorite hikes. Really enjoyed it. It's not easy, but great views. Highly recommend it. Also was super quiet.
August 3, 2015

Just did the hike and didn't find the lake:( it was beautiful none the less! Smart to bring a gps or a topo map. Talked to the people at the visitors center and there have been those who had a hard time finding it in the past. The description on this site is vague. There is "green vegetation" the whole time. The "creek" crossings are also unpredictable and change quickly. We had a true adventure and loved the country regardless. Not sure who writes these descriptions but not the first time a hike has been hard to find according to this site.
August 1, 2015

Had a wet, rainy hike up for a night this week. Prepare for mountain weather up there, we woke up to snow in the peaks.

Prepare for a long day up! Took our energetic group 7 hrs up, felt longer than 12 km. Only 4.5 hrs down. Doubled our # of creek crossings on the way down with all the run-off (rain).

Options to camp before reaching the lake. At ~11 km?, right after you the narrowest ascent of hike there is a green vegetated plateau, access to creek).

Gorgeous country.
Terry Joss
August 26, 2014

My new favorite hike. Took about 7.5 hours to go to the lake and back, wish I was able to stay the night and explore. Definitely can get some good mtn weather up there and fast so be aware of that. Easy hike, long hike though and on uneven ground. Highly recommend this hike to everyone.
Karl McEwan
August 16, 2014

Decided to try it as a day hike and had a great time. 6 and a half hours to the saddle west of the lake, a beautiful view into Kluane and a few sheep in the rocks below us. Then 5 hours back to the car parked at the Highway. The creek was relatively low so we managed to pick our way across without taking our boots off and the light packs made the ~30km day do able.