Bock's Lake is tucked in amongst mountains and moraines. Hiking up Bock's Creek isn't difficult but it is long as a day trip. Camping at the lake is recommended as a nice multi-day trip. There are many side trips from the lake with incredible views worth exploring.
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 a 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.
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.
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.
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, ignore the pass and continue hiking up the creek bed.
After roughly 10 km, the creek 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 2,348 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 mountain on your left. You can hike this ridge to the top of the saddle. There is a small snowfield on the other side of the ridge.