Distance: 21 km
Elevation Gain: 167 m (548 ft)
Time: 8 hours
Region: Haines Pass
Date Added: August 20, 2008
Last Update: August 23, 2008
This hike is in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park in BC. The trailhead starts in the subalpine, so the trail is completely unobstructed by trees. The trail can be done as a day-hike, but is also a popular overnight hike. The view of Samuel Glacier is amazing, and its many snouts can be seen from the end of the trail.
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From Haines Junction, turn south onto the Haines Road (Highway 3). Drive for about 140 km to a large pullout on the right (west) side of the road. This pullout is in the subalpine just before the main Haines Pass summit. The pullout has an outhouse at the far end and ample parking room.
The trailhead follows an obvious old mining road from the parking lot. The elevation gain is relatively small, making for an easier hike. Follow the road through the sub-alpine as it winds its way alongside Nadahini Mountain. Keep your eyes out for grizzlies and make frequent noise, as it wouldn't be a surprise to see one in the valley or on the mountainsides.
There are numerous creek-crossings which are small. The only creek that may make you take your boots off is after 6 kms.
After 7 kms on the road, it will end and you will have to pick your own route to see the glaciers at the end. The valley bottom ahead is a bog, so it is advised to gain higher ground on either the left of right side. Going left offers a good view of one of the snouts of Samuel Glacier and a small peak to climb up to. Going right offers a good view of the larger snout of Samuel Glacier.
From the end of the trail you can camp, turn around, or explore further enjoying the glacier view. There is a valley separating the viewpoints from the glacier. To reach the glacier, you would have to continue hiking to the right (north-west) for some kilometers. Although Samuel Glacier isn't overly crevassed, it would not be safe to walk on or get too close, unless you have the proper gear and glacier travel experience.
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