Total Distance: 11 km
Return Time: 6.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 901 m
Traditional Territory: CTFN
Brute Mountain is an exciting and challenging hike up to a rocky peak with sweeping views over Bennett Lake, Montana Mountain and Carcross.
This is the same trailhead as for Montana Mountain. From Carcross, drive south on the South Klondike Highway across the bridge and take your first right. Take the next left up a gravel road. Continue straight up, you’re on the Montana Mountain Road. The condition of the road varies depending on recent maintenance work and road use. Note the area has a big mountain biking trail network so make sure to share the road.
Drive for about 8 km on the Montana Mountain Road. There is a smaller washout around here that you may or may not be able to drive across. At KM 10, there is a landslide that is impassable by vehicle, and this will be considered the trailhead.
From the trailhead (the washout), follow the road until you reach the landslide area. There are actually three parts to the landslide; the first two parts are small slides which have a pretty worn trail across them, the third slide is the largest and there is little to no trail across it. But luckily for you, for this route there is no need to cross the last slide, as you will instead need to drop down to the creek below.
Cross the creek and follow it upstream for about 20 meters until you reach a fork of two creeks. Take the right fork, following up high on the left bank of the creek. This is a nice portion of the trail as you hike gradually uphill above the creek and its rocky canyon. Eventually the slope you are following will reach the same elevation as the creek - this is good place to cross and head up the slope now to the west aiming for the right portion of the ridge of Brute Mountain (north ridge). The terrain is a mix of low growing shrubs and lichen, and large rocks.
Once on top of the ridge it becomes all rocks. The route is straightforward from here as you follow the rocky ridge to the summit, however there is some pretty serious scrambling as the ridge becomes a jumble of large rocks and slippery lichen. Once you reach the peak it will be worth it with stunning views over Bennett Lake to the west and the Montana Mountain area to the southeast.
Follow the same route back, or come out higher on the road to avoid climbing back up the landslide area. This is a less direct way and can add another kilometre.
Anthony August 28, 2023
I followed the mining roads all the way up the base of Brute. From there it was only 2 km direct line to the summit, although slightly longer I think this is a better route than hiking up the drainage. I'm not a confident scrambler but I had no issues getting through the final section up to the summit.
I had thought about trying to follow the ridge to the southern peak but it has some gnarly stuff. Instead it was easy enough to drop down a few hundred meters, traverse across and climb back up. The south peak is easier to get to and is actually slightly higher elevation than the named summit.
Liz B June 24, 2023
We hiked Brute in a group of two on June 24. We parked just before the washout, we probably could have made it over the washout and to the landslide with our xterra but opted to walk the extra distance.
We headed down to the creek at the landslide and followed the creek up to the plateau area, where we saw a big group of mountain goats with four kids.
Hiking is fairly easy going until you get to the ridge. The bottom of the ridge is a lot of loose unstable rocks and the ridge turns into a decent scramble the closer you get to the summit. Hiking poles were extremely helpful for the ridge section. There were a lot of snow patches on the ridge; we were able to skirt around most of them and only had to walk across three patches (very short crossings, 10 meters max through the snow). Snow patches along the ridge, closer to the summit, made for some pretty nerve wracking detours but as long as you're comfortable with heights it's no problem.
Views at the summit are unreal! We've hiked Nares, Caribou, Montana and Mt. Grey, and the Brute views are my favorute (although all are stunning).
On the way back down, we followed the exploration road that goes past the old mining buildings and meets up with the road above the landslide. I think this way was easier following our original route, which would have meant scrambling back up the landslide area.
In total, our distance was 15.16kms with an elevation gain of 1082m. We ended up doing four creek crossings (two on the way up and two on the way down) with no difficulty. We started the hike at 8am and had the mountain completely to ourselves.
cougar August 23, 2021
Attempted thev trail today after going to the higher Caribou Mountain peak in the morning and spending some time in Carcross at lunchtime. Dont have a 4Ã—4 so I started hiking from the parking at around 900m elevation and 4.3 km before the washout trailhead. Turns out you can follow the road over the third slide and continue to the cabins and arroud. Made it to the base of the peak at elevation 1,800 but it was 6pm and I had to turn back. Reached Whitehorse dead tired at 9pm only to find out Airport Chalet had inexplicably cancelled my reservation! The hike is very nice ofering awesome viwes - even if you do not reach the top like me. The roads offer an extra level of comfort, you cant get lost on a clear day. The old cabins had new inhabitants - at least 2 foxes. Please keep this in mind and give them room.
Braden May 24, 2018
Attempted this trail on May 21, 2018 but with no luck. Once you get close to the landslide the remaining unmelted snow makes it nearly impossible to climb any lower towards the creek. For safety we decided to head up sugarloaf instead to maybe get a veiw of montana mountain but got pushed back to the truck by the insane amount of wind, snow, hail and rain. Couple more weeks of sunshine and it will be ready! Still a bit early this year for the amount of snow we got but even the veiws up sugarloaf were breathtaking. Cant wait to come back for more!
Marc June 25, 2016
Did this June 23rd and parked at the 8 km point where the first washout is. I started around 4 pm and it took me 6 hours round trip. This was my 4th attempt on Brute Mountain. I had previously tried twice in September 2015, and once earlier in June this year. All three times, the summit was foggy, cloudy, extremely windy, over a meter of snow on the ridge and very cold.
Finally, when I was starting to think it was impossible, I got to see Brute Mountain on a clear, wind free and sunny day!! Beautiful hike and very fun in these conditions. Almost no snow left. I highly recommend taking the alternate route proposed on here (blue in the photo). Just keep following the road after the landslide at km 10 and you'll get to the 2 small cabins down below. They are easy to spot. Hiking from there is way easier. Even though it adds one kilometer to your ascent, you'll eventually save time.
If you decide to drop down to the creek below (red in the photo), just be prepared for it. You'll be following the creek from above (to the left of the creek) if this is the route you take. From where the 2 trails meet and where you cross the creek again to get to the ridge of the mountain (yellow circle in the photo), you also have two options. You can go all around the ridge like described here (orange in the photo) or make your way directly up (purple in the photo). Note that there is no more obvious trail to follow after you cross the creek. Also note that the summit you see in this photo is a false summit. This is 1 of 3 summits (the 3rd having the best view and is just slightly further).
I found taking the alternate route (blue line) and going straight up (purple line) was the quickest and easiest way to do it. Very cool hike. Great views of Montana Mountain, Carcross area and Bennett Lake.
Marc B July 19, 2014
On the 18th of July, made the summit and back in 8 hours along with two boys respectively 6 and 7 years old. It was a gorgeous day that started totally fogged in with two creek crossings and sliding down snow patches on the way back. The top scrambling was very much appreciated by the little ones and we stopped just short of the actual peak as maybe the very last bit was a little too exposed for young people. Highly recommended alpine meadows, flowers and rocky peaks punctuated with splendid views from the top.
Note : We drove past the washout area through the bypass road but the section above the treeline was an actual running creek with much eroded banks and center areas at places. Had to bypass by going through the brushes and grateful my 4x4 high clearance vehicule was able to handle. Would not recommend unless familiar with serious 4x4 offroading. We parked where bypass road rejoins the main road, passed the washout.