Distance: 15 km
Elevation Gain: 1063 m (3488 ft)
Time: 5.5 hours
Region: Annie Lake
Date Added: January 2, 2011
Last Update: September 20, 2018
The Mount Skukum area is a Yukon hiker's playground! There are endless opportunities for exploring, everything is easily accessible via old exploration mining roads, and the views are rewarding from every angle. Mount Skukum (2,377 m) itself is an impressive volcanic rock complex, and the peak would require rock climbing gear. The hike described here is to a lower peak.
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Note: The last bridge at KM 43 has now been removed (Summer 2019). Access to the hike now requires safely crossing the creek during low water.
Drive south from Whitehorse on the Alaska Highway and turn right at the Carcross Cutoff onto the South Klondike Highway. After about 17 km turn right onto the Annie Lake Road. Follow the Annie Lake Road for a total of about 54 km (it is a dirt road). You will cross the Watson River Bridge, drive alongside Annie Lake, and cross the Wheaton River Bridge at KM 26. The road is unmaintained past this point and a bit more rough with a lot of potholes. At KM 43 you will cross the Wheaton River for the second time (note the bridge has been removed). After crossing the creek, take the next left onto an old mining road.
After a short while, pass through the mine site gate and continue on the main road until there is an obvious fork. Note if the mine gate is closed (you can drive around it). Follow the road to the right, which switchbacks up the mountainside. The road is a little rougher in places and it is nice to have a vehicle with some clearance. There is a suitable parking spot near the top where the road crosses Skukum Creek. The old mining 'explosives' trailer is a good landmark, and this is where the trail begins.
Note: The Mount Skukum area used to have an active gold/silver mine from 1986-1988, and mineral exploration continues to this day. There is an abandoned adit past the parking area and the old mill and office remain at the end of the Annie Lake Road (behind a locked gate). Hikers should be cautious around the abandoned adits as these structures are unmaintained and their stability is questionable.
From the parking area follow the rougher exploration road which leads steeply up the valley along the right side of Skukum Creek. You will follow this road for approximately 3.6 km, as it gradually climbs up the valley into the alpine. There is an exploration road spurring off to the right, but continue straight up the main valley.
After 3.6 km of hiking on the road, there will be another intersection, with a rocky track leading up the mountain to the right. The track is a lot steeper in places and is on scree for the most part. The track leads up into a bowl and then over a saddle where you get your first look at the granite spire of Mount Skukum as well as a view into the adjacent valley below (where there are numerous other exploration roads and mining remnants).
The route then leaves the exploration road and traverses along the north side of the hill to the left aiming towards the east ridge of Mount Skukum. From this vantage you can see back into the Skukum Creek valley with views of the snowy coast mountains to the south. Follow the narrow ridge up as you begin the final ascent to the top of one of Mount Skukum's lower peaks.
From this peak soak in the views of the area, and admire the volcanic landscape. Be careful around the sheer cliffs surrounding the peak. Depending on your scrambling abilities and head for heights, you can scramble down and up to another sub peak or ridge closer to the true peak. The actual peak of Mount Skukum requires more down climbing and scrambling from the lower peaks and ridges, and then a very steep scramble and rock climb to the top.
Return the way you came.
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