Distance: 10 km
Elevation Gain: 824 m (2703 ft)
Time: 3 hours
Date Added: April 8, 2017
Last Update: April 8, 2016
The views from Mount Hinton are some of the best in the Yukon, with rugged rocky mountains to the north and northeast and the rolling hills towards Mayo Lake to the south. The route is straightforward following along exploration roads nearly to the top of the mountain. Access to the hike is a long approach on the backroads from Keno City (10.7 km one way), requiring a 4x4 vehicle with decent clearance.
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From the Keno City Campground, along Lightning Creek Road, cross the bridge over Lightning Creek and continue on the main public road, ignoring the first and second gated mining haul roads. The public road continues up the mountain (Sourdhough Hill). There are some rutted and loose gravel sections but most 4x4 vehicles with a little clearance should be able to make it up Sourdough Hill. After about 5.6 km you reach the highest point of the road on Sourdough Hill for some great views in the alpine (at about 1,445 m elevation). From there the road continues southeast and you begin to lose some elevation.
You will cross a small drainage at the bottom of a small valley at km 7.7. The road continues uphill again slightly and contours along another hillside. Keep following the main road which heads mostly east now. There is a major fork in the road as you approach the base of Mount Hinton at km 10, stay right. This other road appears to go up towards the lower north summit of Mount Hinton. Eventually the road drops down to the valley along a creek lined with shrubs. There is a small creek crossing (km 10.7) and then the road begins to climb steeply. This is a good place to park and start the hike (on either side of the small creek). You can continue to drive farther if you are comfortable driving your vehicle up very steep roads (as you'll have to be committed, there are not many places to turn around).
From the suggested parking area at the creek, follow the road as it climbs up hill. After about 1.5 km of hiking the road, you will reach the alpine. Keep following the road, which continues up a ridge to Mount Hinton and cuts across its slopes to the southeast. The road is surprisingly well maintained and very easy walking, with a slight reprieve in the elevation gain for a short while. Continue along the road until you reach a rougher, narrower, ATV-size trail leading up Mount Hinton to the left (km 3.2 of the hike). You could potentially have driven up to this point, if your vehicle and nerves could make it (cutting out 3.2 km of hiking). This ATV trail switch backs more steeply up the mountain, with looser rocks and is slightly overgrown in places.
Follow this ATV trail for 1.6 km and over 300 m elevation up to a saddle between the main Mount Hinton summit and a smaller rocky sub-peak to the southeast. Note the ATV trail disappears near the top of the mountain at some mining exploration sites. From the saddle, the land gives way to a steep, rocky cliff face, with great views. You can also see Mayo Lake to the south. From the saddle you can take the option to check out the rocky sub-peak to the southeast, which is only an additional 0.25 km (one way).
The main summit lies to the northwest and is a short hike across talus and moss. There is a rock cairn at the summit at an elevation of about 2,056 m. The views are stunning across the north to northeast, with rugged, rocky mountains and deep u-shaped valleys. The views in the other directions give way to rolling hills and lush forested valleys.
You can return the way you came up using the ATV trail, or also follow the southwest ridge down to meet the ATV trail at a lower point, cutting off almost half a kilometer. Note, the footing is looser on the ridge as you're not following any kind of trail/road, but it can offer a different perspective. It is easy walking down to the trailhead once you are back on the ATV trail and main access road.
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