International Falls


Distance: 8 km
Elevation Gain: 292 m (958 ft)
Time: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Region: White Pass
Date Added: March 15, 2017
Last Update: March 15, 2017
Winter: alpine skiing ski touring snowshoeing 



This hike is a real alpine treat, with easy walking along a beautiful fast-flowing creek with waterfalls, surrounded by mountains. As long as you can survive the very steep but short descent from the highway and the initial creek crossing to reach the main trail, then the rest of the hike is a walk in the park. The 'international' aspect of the hike is because the route starts on the Canadian side of the border and then crosses into the United States. Since the views don't change too much along the route you can easily make this a shorter or longer hike. If you add another 1 km (one way) you can look over into the next valley towards the Chilkoot Trail.


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Scroll below photos for Driving Directions and Trail Description.



Photos


View of the route from the parking area. The trail follows the right side of the creek the entire way.



The creek crossing at the start of the trail (this is the only creek crossing along the way).



Admiring one of the many waterfalls along the trail.



Cooling off in the mist of one of the falls.



There are several small, beautiful lakes along the creek as well.



The terrain gets more rocky and undulating towards the end of the route.



The view of Feather Peak and Mount Cleveland.



Following the trail back towards the highway, with views to the east.


Winter


In the winter, the creek is covered in ice and snow and there is no need to stay on one side of the creek or other. Follow your own route (the path of least resistance).



Towards the end of the trail you get views of the back of Feather Peak and Mount Cleveland.



As you reach the saddle, the views across into the Chilkoot Trail and surrounding mountains open up.



Admiring the view from the saddle, looking across to the Chilkoot Trail valley and it's towering peaks and glaciers.




Driving Directions

From Whitehorse, drive south to the Carcross Cutoff and turn right onto the South Klondike Highway. After 71 km you will reach Canada Customs. Another 12 km past customs there is a pull-out on the right-hand side of the road. The pull-out has a lake below it with a waterfall entering from the other side. This is the same parking lot as for the Feather Peak hike. There is an avalanche information sign in the parking lot.




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Trail Description

Follow a rough trail from the pull-out down from the highway. It is very steep so take extra caution. At the bottom (40 m descent), there will be a wide creek to cross at the outlet of a small lake. Depending on the time of year the water could be quite high. Later in the summer after much or all of the snow has melted in the alpine, it can easily be crossed over some rocks. If earlier in the season, the water may be a lot deeper (thigh high). Once on the other side, a trail can be found leading to the right side of the first waterfall. Note you may need to cross another small branch of the creek coming off the waterfall.

The trail climbs gradually through the subalpine, with a few trail branches that eventually join to one trail so don't worry about getting lost. The trail continues along the right (north) side of the creek with nice lookouts and resting/picnic spots beside the falls along the way. Once out of the subalpine trees, the trail continues for several kilometers into the alpine, remaining on the right side of the creek. Again the elevation gain is very gradual and the walking easy.

If you continue far enough you can get views of the back of Feather Peak with its little glacier as well as the impressive peaks of Mount Cleveland. The terrain does become a little rockier and undulating towards the end, but still makes for easy walking. If you continue even farther to the saddle, you can start to see into the next valley towards the Chilkoot Trail with some very impressive glaciers in the distance.


Winter

In the winter this is a really nice snowshoe and Nordic ski tour, suitable for even cross country skiing depending on the snow. The area is heavily used by snowmobiles, so there may often be a hard packed trail.

It is also not necessary to stay on the right side of the creek (like in the summer), as you can take the most direct route and likely shave off some time and distance.