St. Elias Lake

Distance: 8 km
Elevation Gain: 120 m (394 ft)
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Region: Kluane
Date Added: January 24, 2010
Last Update: January 24, 2010
Winter: ski touring snowshoeing 

St. Elias Lake is a short hike with great rewards. There is a campground at the lake, which is nestled between tall mountains. This trail is great for beginner backcountry camping because it is a short trail to a campground with amenities. It is also great to do with kids.

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Scroll below photos for Driving Directions and Trail Description.



Snowshoeing near the beginning of the trail through the trees.

The flat section near the lake where the view opens up.

Looking down St. Elias Lake from the campground.

Snowshoeing along the lake with towering mountains overhead.

Driving Directions

From Haines Junction, drive towards Haines, Alaska on the Haines Highway for about 60 km. There is a pullout on the right-hand side of the road and a sign will indicate the St. Elias Trail.

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Trail Description

The trailhead is right off from the highway pullout. The trail has a few ups and downs, but becomes relatively flat near the lake. All in all, it's an easy trail, and easy to follow.

The trail meanders through the trees for a couple of kilometers and then opens up with views of two surrounding peaks. The trail remains out of the trees for the rest of the way to the lake.

The lake has designed tent sites, a food cache, a fire-pit, and an outhouse. There is a great view of the surrounding peaks from the lake.


The trail is often tracked for x-country skiing in the winter. Snowshoeing is also a great option. Once you get to the lake, if it is frozen you can continue right to the opposite end of the lake.

Note: Overnight trips in Kluane National Park and Reserve require registration and approved bear resistant food canisters. Please visit the Park's website for details.