Samuel Glacier

Distance: 21 km
Elevation Gain: 167 m (548 ft)
Time: 8 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Region: Haines Pass
Date Added: August 20, 2008
Last Update: August 23, 2008
Winter: ski touring snowshoeing 

This hike is in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park in B.C. 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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Driving Directions

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. The pull-out has an outhouse at the far end and ample parking room.

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Trail Description

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 very small. The only creek that may make you take your boots off is after 6 kms.

After 7 kms the road will end and you will have to pick your own route to the end of the trail. 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 seperating 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 wouldn't be safe to walk on or near it.


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Comments / Trip Reports

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October 11, 2016

Hiked to Samuel Glacier on Sun Oct. 9th. We stayed on the left side (South) of the meadows after the trail becomes indistinct to avoid the wetter sections but decided to cross to the other side and make it to a further viewpoint closer to Samuel glacier at GR012174. We then continued in a E direction to intersect with the ridge of the mountain right across Samuel Glacier. We worked the easiest line of ascent on the E side of the ridge up scree slopes and made it to the summit at GR021194. This is an incredible viewpoint and a worthy objective in the area. We came down the way we went up and followed different ribs back down the valley, this time staying on the left side (North) to meet up with the old road.
August 28, 2016

We day hiked the trail on August 27th. The trail was in good shape, a little wet in some places but not bad. Kept our eyes open but luckily no bears for us. Saw some prints around kilometre 3 but they were days old. After the trail peters out, stick to the right and try to find the old vehicle tracks. Stay up higher and then come down onto the rock river bed. There are some rock markers but they are few and far between. Dry weather and a beautiful hike!
August 14, 2016

Hiked to the glacier over Discovery Days. Encountered three separate bears and set off bear bangers at one point when they got too close to camp. Make sure you eat away from campsite and take a bear keg. Be extra bear aware since a lot of activity in this area.
July 31, 2016

Terrific weekend hike with gaiters and boots...water shoes to cross creeks not required. Fine dry weather and photo is view we woke up to this morning from our base camp
July 11, 2016

We did an overnight camping trip at Samuel Glacier this weekend and had a blast! The trail was easy to follow and the creeks were not too bad to cross. The bigger creek at 6 km was pretty shallow, but definitely required to take our boots off (would recommend a good old pair of crocs for that matter so you can stay dry and still have some kind of firm footing). The trail was muddy in some parts so a pair of waterproof boots is a must.
We set camp around 8-9 km in the meadows on the right side of the creek. On Saturday night right after our meal, we saw two Grizzli bears approaching in our direction on the left side of the creek (about 200 meters from us). They stopped and watched us for a while but then walked away and did not look interested in us. We definitely recommend to follow good bear safety practice such as cooking and storing your food far from your cam, and using bear canisters. No other bear sight to report that weekend.
July 4, 2016

We hiked Samuel Glacier last weekend for the first time.
We didn't see any bear but it was pretty crowded because of the long weekend.

The trail was pretty muddy at some points and very wet, specially after the Km 7, where you have to start picking your own route.
We highly recommend a good pair of waterproof boots.

We tried to get down to the snouts of the glacier but we couldn't find a safe way to do it. Does anybody know the best way to get there?
June 29, 2016

Does anyone have an update on trail conditions? Bear sightings?

Many thanks!
June 8, 2016

Has anyone hiked into Samuel glacier yet this season?
Just wondering whether it's still snowy/wet or whether it's nicely dried out with the warm spring we've had.
March 23, 2016

Hey folks,

Has anyone tried to hike it in the winter/spring?
September 11, 2015

Hey folks, beautiful hike & amazing views of the glacier. It is by far one of my favs this summer.

I am writing this comment just to give caution to a bear sighting on the trail: The bear was approximately 100ft from the pull out and on the trail at 7.00pm. I detoured along the ridge of the creek and highway to get to my car.
July 20, 2015

Great hike, but quite wet and lots of mud/bog. Spent two nights camped just above the valley on the left side, and a full day wandering the valley and surrounding peaks for some exceptional views.

Highly recommend heading up the peaks on the left side of the valley for some spectacular views.

Trail is largely bikeable, but with the mud and overgrown willows, not likely to be a real enjoyable ride, and you'd have to ditch your bike at the end of the trail and continue by foot, or maybe fat bike to the end of the valley.
July 7, 2015

Just did an overnight here this weekend. No bear sightings, but did see some prints in the mud. The trail is rideable for most of the first 7km, but don't think it would save much more than 30ish minutes to the end of the trail. After 7km it's a choose your own adventure whether you decide to go left or right. We went left, cut through the boggy meadow for a bit then went higher. Hiked in until we found a spot we liked, overlooking the glacier and the mountains that run perpendicular to the valley you hiked through.

In short, gorgeous hike, and a high return on your hiking investment.
adam h
July 7, 2015

has anyone here tried biking in? If the answer is yes, how far were you able to bike in? Followup question: did using a bike make a day trip totally doable, or still a big push?

August 11, 2014

Any bear sightings?
June 18, 2014

The hike was absolutely lovely and dry. Make sure you leave early so the creeks aren't too high.If you stay on the left hand side after it is marked road end, you wont have to cross the creek again. Make sure you have some skills in route finding since you might lose the road a few times, but other than that it is absolutely amazing.
July 23, 2013

At the end of the road, where it is marked "Road End" in the map, if instead of staying on the left side of the creek you cross over to the right side, about a hundred meters or so after where the road ends, you'll see a much nicer trail (the road continues) on the right side of the creek.