Total Distance: 24 km
Return Time: 2-3 days
Elevation Gain: 1017 m
Bock's Lake is tucked amongst beautiful mountains and moraines. The route up the creek is straightforward but can be tricky depending on the water levels. It is long as a day hike so camping at the lake is recommended, plus there are many side trips from the lake with incredible views.
Drive 100 km north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway. About 14 km north of the Congdon Creek Campground you will see a highway sign for Bock's Creek, as well as a wide creek bed. You can pull off the highway onto a road, just after the creek on the north side. This is an active mining road, so leave room for vehicles to get past. You can drive up this road to cut off a few kilometres if you want.
Note: This hike is within the Kluane Wildlife Sanctuary and not in the National Park & Reserve, unless you do the Bock's Lake to Congdon Creek connector via the Duke River.
It is a 12 km hike (one way) up to Bock's Lake and it takes about 6 hours. It is recommended that you camp at the lake and perhaps even spend one extra day in the area for a day hike. If you only have 1 night, you could hike one of the side trips the evening you arrive at camp, or in the morning before hiking back out. Regardless, make sure you take one of the side trips above Bock's Lake. It's definitely worth it.
Start by following the mining road along the north side of Bock's Creek. The road may disappear shortly up the creek, as it frequently gets washed out from year to year and is only sometimes rebuilt.
If water levels in the creek are low, you can just pick your way up the creek bed. You may or may not have to take off your hiking boots to cross the creek when necessary. If water levels are higher, you may have to cross the creek a few times, so creek crossing shoes are recommended.
The route is straightforward in the beginning - just hike up the creek bed. On your left at roughly 6.5 km is a pass that leads to Nines Creek. If you are hiking to Bock's Lake, ignore the pass and continue hiking up the creek bed.
After roughly 10 km, the creek route looks like it starts to split. You want to follow the creek to your right. The route starts to climb and gets narrow at this point. You will eventually reach some islands of vegetation - welcome relief after having to walk on rocks for the past few hours. Keep following the creek bed until you reach a vegetated hillside on your left. On the other side of the hill is Bock's Lake, so you can climb over it at any point now, although it is best to wait until it is a bit more gentle sloping. From the top of the hill, or just a little further, you should see Bock's Lake below you, tucked up against the mountainside.
If water levels are low (or the lake is partially frozen, which it can be, even in July), you might be able to find a flat spot to camp down by the lake. If not, find a suitable spot on the hill next to the lake.
EXTENDED HIKE OPTIONS
There are two recommended side trips that you can hike from Bock's Lake. The first one is the mountain pass between Bock's Lake and the Duke River. It is about a 5 km return trip from Bock's Lake and gets to an elevation of 2,170 m. You can see the pass when looking south across Bock's Lake. Start by getting around the lake (left side if water levels are low, right side if they are high). Hike along the bottom of the moraine until you are forced to start climbing upwards. Once you are up on the moraine top, stay high on the moraine that leads towards the pass. At the end of the moraine, you will have one last steeper section to go up to reach the pass. The view from the pass is spectacular, and you can see the route down to the Duke River. The creek flowing down and the alpine meadows below look primeval.
The other recommended side trip is to the west of Bock's Lake, up to a saddle that has a sweeping view of the Duke River and deep into the Kluane Icefields. It is about a 6 km return trip from Bock's Lake and gets to an elevation of 2,348 m. Hike west from the lake, and try to get up on the vegetated areas as they are easier to walk on than the rocky moraines. Climb up the hills and then aim for the base of the ridge in front of you that angles up towards the mountain on your left. You can hike this ridge to the top of the saddle. There is a small snowfield on the other side of the ridge.
MO August 9, 2020
Did the trail Aug 6-8. Absolutely gorgeous trip with amazing views the whole way. We saw goats, sheep, pikas, and marmots.
This trail was not what we were expecting from the description however. It might be because it was a high water year, but there are definitely a few scrambles up on some steeper rocks to make it through. I would not recommend bringing dogs. There were a couple spots where we had to lift the dogs up onto rocks, have them stay, scramble up ourselves, then lift them down. Not easy with big dogs! The rocks are also quite sharp so took a toll on the pads of their paws. You are only hiking or vegetation for about the last 200 metres.
Incredibly beautiful though!
MC July 20, 2020
Hiked this July 17 to 19 2020. The creek was high and the current very strong. As said in other comments, it is possible to stay right of the creek the entire way up and I strongly advise you to do so. After 4 km, it starts to seem impassable but stay right. We did cross there because the left side seemed easier but it was actually a big mistake. There are lots of rocks moving fast in the water and one of them hit me hard on the ankle. I just ended up with a bruise, but it could have been much worse. On the left side, we had to bushwhack on slippery slopes and scramble over the fast water of the creek. One of my friends received a big rock on his hand when scrambling the crumbly rock. We finally ended up having to cross again in a crazy strong current because of an impassable canyon. We did not enjoy that at all. Water was waist high and very strong. Back on the right side, the final stretch was pretty easy. On our way back down, we stayed on the right side (well, left when you descend) and it was smooth all the way with some quite easy bushwhacking.
Overall, it was an incredible trip and it is worth staying for at least one night and take the side trips and enjoy the change of light on the lake and the surrounding mountains. I am still amazed by the beauty of that place. We saw dall sheeps and we were witness of a very strong and impressive rock avalanche behind the lake.
The saddle trip on the right is accessible with some snow at the end, about knee deep, but it should be passable if it's not too hot and under the sun.
Side note : please remember not to throw any organic garbage in the nature that can't be naturally found there. There were some apple cores and egg shells at a view point. Please leave no trace! Respect the natural balance of the place that you are visiting and respect the hikers that are following you and are not really interested to know what you had for lunch. We all love to find ourselves immersed in an untouched wilderness. Thanks!
Michelle May 19, 2020
Hiked this on the may public holiday weeekend. Did quite a few creek crossings on the way up and less on the way down, some still had frozen sections we could walk across. A lot of snow up top which was pretty wet. We brought snowshoes for the last part to the lake but a beautiful area. Our plan was to continue through to congdon creek but weather prevented us. Next time!
JCM August 25, 2019
Hiked Bock's this weekend (Aug 24-25). Wonderful trip up. The road was not in good enough condition for my small car to make it far at all. We started basically at the highway. My main recommendation is to try to stay on the right side of the creek if possible to avoid crossing the back and forth. We were able to make it up without crossing (but in one section we had to walk in about an inch of water along the side to avoid crossing).
There was snow when we reached the top and it snowed overnight some more (~10cm!). Unfortunately either of the side trips would have had a bit too much snow for what we were prepared for.
Rhiannon August 6, 2019
Hiked this last weekend. Twice we thought a vegetated hillside along the creek bed was THE vegetated hillside described above. So we did some unnecessary climbing and ended up camping one night before making it to the lake. Then spent the second night at the lake.
There’s now a trail worn in the hill the lake is behind. You can follow that up and cut out some unnecessary walking on the rocky creek bed.
Views were beautiful. FYI the creek was high and fast in spots, so bring Crocs/shoes for crossing. Though there are some worn semi-trails in the bank, so you can hike/bushwhack around and avoid crossing. We saw several sheep, as well as a grizzly and cubs far off on a hillside.
Lost Shirt September 7, 2018
I forgot to mention I live in Whitehorse.
Lost Shirt September 7, 2018
Went September 2nd. Left September 4th.
I left my base layer at the trailhead. If anyone is going, please pick it up and let me know. It's located where there's a pull out for two cars (about 2 kilometers in, before Bocks Creek). Sitting on a rock on the left side (facing the creek). I recommend driving in a parking here. Saves some time.
It snowed the first night. Very beautiful location. Did the side hike where we had a view of the Donjek Range from around 2400 meters. Clear day. Awesome view. Bring gaitors because it's all snow at higher elevations (this time of year).
In terms of getting in, stay right of the creek for the first part. You'll see a point where if you were left, you wouldn't be able to get around a steep drop off. After this drop off point, cross the creek and stay left. It's much easier. I tried to score an arrow on a large rock there so I'm not sure if it will hold up. I stayed right the whole way in until I couldn't and it wasn't as friendly. Stay left until the water disappears and you see a large, steep slope in the middle (drop off on either side of the slope). Go up it. It's just after you cross the creek from the left side. Only one creek crossing required (this time of year) with sandals or similar. You can hop rocks near the end of the creek (where you still see it).
FrozenFella August 7, 2018
We did this hike a few years ago and enjoyed the hike up and back although it's all in a narrow valley until the lake. Personally I still thought the views along the way were spectacular. I would call this a moderate hike, mainly due to the large rocks and boulders that cover much of the valley floor. It took us about six hours up, and we just crossed the creek as necessary rather than trying to create new trails along the hillsides and through the brush. Take along some creek shoes such as crocs or sandals. I would suggest good supportive boots with a solid sole to prevent rock bruising, and although I saw people up there with dogs, I wouldn't take my husky...to much risk on that kind of terrain.
We saw eighteen people on our way up and back, which is way more traffic than I'm used to in the Yukon.
Holger July 15, 2018
We did the hike 4 weeks ago didnt see any bears but be aware of the sqhirrels they ate my girlfriends bra ... the hike itself is to be honest exausting cause you basically walking on rocks all the time. The other thing is that you also not seeing anything interesting cause you're in the valley the whole way up ... don't get me wrong the view up there is amazing and its beautiful and super remote to camp there but you have to choose if its worth it to hike for like 5-6 hours on rocks
Josee Leclerc September 9, 2017
We hiked this trail over 3 days. The south and west trail from the lake is definitely the highlight. Beautiful at the end of August.
Glenda July 28, 2017
The lake is lovely with many adorable pikas and marmots. The alpine hiking beyond the lake is not to be missed. Here are our notes:
1. Drive as far as you can up the road. It will save you 1.8 kms of fairly boring walking.
2. Stay to the right hand side of the creek when ascending. Detour up into the bushes where the creek seems impassable, but don't be tempted to cross over to the left side because you'll just have to cross back due to rock faces.
3. Although the lake is lovely, I don't recommend this for a day hike because it's 10 kms of uneven footing with not much scenery just to get up to the lake. Once you get to the lake, it's worth doing at least one side trip to see the big mountains. You'll have time to do this on a two-day trip.
4. The immediate area around the lake is starting to show slight signs of wear, so try to spread out around the lake when camping. There are some bold ground squirrels that have clearly been fed, so keep your food secure and don't reward them. The area is clearly popular--there were 5 groups of campers on one of our nights--so be sure to leave no trace. http://www.leavenotrace.ca/principles
Emily July 18, 2017
Such an awesome spot! We did this hike during the first week of July and we had the most beautiful weather, there were no bugs and we didn't see any bears. It was great. It took us 5.5 hours up with gear for 2 nights, and about 3.5 hours out. The last 2 k of the hike up gets pretty tough.
Susannah May 22, 2017
Trail is mostly snow free all the way to the lake. Around the lake itself there is a lot of snow so we camped before the lake to the west where it was snow free and we had a beautiful view of kluane lake.
The day hike to the west is clear of snow. The one to the south is still completely snow covered.
Saw bear tracks at the beginning of the trail but no signs of bears near the lake.
Parked about 500m up the mining road to the left. A very curious bear paid a visit to our car while we were up the mountain, leaving its prints all over the hood and windshield. So park at your own risk.
Chelsea August 15, 2016
We did the hike August 5-7 -- amazing weather, gorgeous hike. The way in was rocky, but fairly straightforward. Well worth spending two nights on the lake. We did the saddle day trip and saw lots of sheep.
It took us 6.5 hours in and about 4.5 out. Bear traces on the way in, but didn't notice anything up by the lake.
We had a GPS with us and found it useful -- I could see how it might be difficult to find the lake.
Pippa & Lawrence July 26, 2016
meant to add:
It took us 6 hours up and 4.5 down.
Pippa & Lawrence July 26, 2016
Nice hike! We backpacked in July 22nd and came out next day as it was socked in and raining. Saw grizzly bear and flock of sheep up top. Took GPS and topo map which helped us find the route in the upper section. Rather than "islands of vegetation", I would say that as you climb higher you increasingly have a choice between the rocky valley bottom and vegetated side-hills. Each has its pros and cons. We were able to keep our feet dry by sticking to the right side of the valley (heading up) and side-hilling/bushwhacking where necessary when the main creek flowed up against that side of the valley (following routes that others had obviously taken). Side-creeks were easy to step across. Maybe low water? This hike could be called "Bock's Rocks" - it's tough on canine paws and a challenge for those who prefer solid, even footing.
Kathie September 18, 2015
This is one of my favorite hikes. Really enjoyed it. It's not easy, but great views. Highly recommend it. Also was super quiet.
Taywada August 3, 2015
Just did the hike and didn't find the lake:( it was beautiful none the less! Smart to bring a gps or a topo map. Talked to the people at the visitors center and there have been those who had a hard time finding it in the past. The description on this site is vague. There is "green vegetation" the whole time. The "creek" crossings are also unpredictable and change quickly. We had a true adventure and loved the country regardless. Not sure who writes these descriptions but not the first time a hike has been hard to find according to this site.
LJ August 1, 2015
Had a wet, rainy hike up for a night this week. Prepare for mountain weather up there, we woke up to snow in the peaks.
Prepare for a long day up! Took our energetic group 7 hrs up, felt longer than 12 km. Only 4.5 hrs down. Doubled our # of creek crossings on the way down with all the run-off (rain).
Options to camp before reaching the lake. At ~11 km?, right after you the narrowest ascent of hike there is a green vegetated plateau, access to creek).
Terry Joss August 26, 2014
My new favorite hike. Took about 7.5 hours to go to the lake and back, wish I was able to stay the night and explore. Definitely can get some good mtn weather up there and fast so be aware of that. Easy hike, long hike though and on uneven ground. Highly recommend this hike to everyone.
Karl McEwan August 16, 2014
Decided to try it as a day hike and had a great time. 6 and a half hours to the saddle west of the lake, a beautiful view into Kluane and a few sheep in the rocks below us. Then 5 hours back to the car parked at the Highway. The creek was relatively low so we managed to pick our way across without taking our boots off and the light packs made the ~30km day do able.