Total Distance: 8 km
Return Time: 4-5 hours
Elevation Gain: 1000 m
Traditional Territory: CTFN
This hike is steep and to the point. Before long you are rewarded with a view of Bennett Lake, nestled between mountain peaks. The alpine ridge is a pleasure to climb. Please avoid hiking this trail from April 1st to June 16th to avoid disturbing the sheep during lambing season.
From Whitehorse drive south on the Alaska Highway towards the Carcross cutoff (South Klondike Highway) and follow it for 45 km (6 km north of Carcross). As soon as you cross a small stream (which may be dry), there is a driveway on the left that runs parallel with the highway. Park at the bottom of the driveway where there is a small parking area.
NOTE: This route takes you to a lower sub-peak of Caribou Mountain. The true summit of Caribou lies two peaks over to the southeast. Please keep dogs on a leash if they tend to leave your side, as there is often a dog on the private property at the end of the driveway as well as sheep up on the mountain.
Start by walking up the driveway for about 250 m till you reach a trail to the left. The trail is easy to follow through the trees to the first open ridge (about 550 m).
At the open ridge, turn left and follow the trail up towards the mountain. The path continues to climb up through a couple of stands of aspen. Soon you will be through the trees and on the ridge in the alpine. Walk up the ridge towards the first main summit. Once you can see the other side, you've made it! Explore some more, or turn around and follow the same path back.
To extend the hike and reach the next higher peak, it is easiest to actually skirt below the sub-peak described above to avoid extra elevation gain and loss. You will need to add another 4.8 km (return) and 1 hour to this hike, plus another 300 m elevation gain. From the ridge that leads to the sub-peak, once you are below the last steep bit to the top, try to meet up with a well-defined sheep trail that leads to the right, across the rocky slope to the saddle. From the saddle you will pick your way up the very rocky and at times steep, narrow ridge. It is an exciting challenge and the views are amazing, as long as the peak is not shrouded in it's usual clouds.
Follow the same trail as the summer path. The total time is roughly the same. Note the ridge can be ravaged by winds in the winter, which often scour the ridge of snow creating drifts on the lee sides. It is a steep route so also be cautious of potential avalanche danger.
Llewelyn August 14, 2023
We did this hike back in July. We parked at the turn off from the highway. While getting ready, a car from one of the properties was leaving and asked us to move the vehicle saying it would block her coming back with a trailer. There was plenty of room and she wasn't friendly about the ask. But we moved the vehicle anyways. So park as far to the left of the entrance to avoid conflict, I guess!
The hike is steep on the way and easy to follow. Flowers and views at the top were great - you can see Spirit Lake and Carcross Dessert. The way down felt harder than up due to steepness, I got a few blisters and was glad for the hiking poles! No bear sightings:)
Will April 5, 2023
Hiked up in mid-February 2023. Very steep with just some animal tracks to follow once out of the initial birch trees, snowshoes definitely required. Made it to the first sub peak, down the saddle, and then the 2nd sub peak after that, but ridge got too narrow with the snow for the scramble to the actual Caribou peak.
John H October 25, 2021
A quick update on the parking. The owner of the property up there has put a lot of No Parking signs. To be clear, you still have the right to park there, his property is well further up on the driveway. The trail on the side of the highway is part of the Highway tenure and most of the driveway is public land including the gravel pit. See the YG map attached. So just respect the place, do not block the driveway, but yes you can park there.
Richard Malvasio September 20, 2020
A very lovely hike... I am wondering why the start of the trail is so steep. I guess it wasn't made by Mountain guides or the fellow that work and design mtn biking trails in Carcross and Whitehorse. Honestly it could of been way better designed permitting more people to access such beautiful country.
Sean September 17, 2020
What a fantastic hike! A group of five of us reached the summit last Saturday, September 12. The fall colors were out and the trail was quite easy to follow all the way up. A word of warning -- we saw three black bears over the course of the hike, one that was under 50m from the trail. Make sure to bring bear spray and travel in a larger group if you attempt this one.
Jen H September 9, 2020
Unlike the previous comment, I found this hike difficult and unrelentingly steep. But those fall colours made everything worth it!
Jennifer August 21, 2020
Loved this hike after doing some more difficult ones like King's Throne - has some elevation but is not too steep or slippery and has great views pretty quickly. Love that you you can stop before the top with views of Bennett and Spirit lake - but you can go much higher up if you want. Hope to do it again!
michael alford July 2, 2020
This is not the peak of Mt. Caribou. You have to continue climbing to the peak to the NorthWest. I hope you can clarify this to your readers openly as they are climbing the wrong peak with your directions.
Simon April 19, 2020
April 19 2020, 1300-1400
Trail is covered in snow along the kennels in the tree's, but clears up really quick on the first steep section. Some 10m sections of snow/ice on the corners and treed areas. After Treeline, The ridge is mostly clear, except for any drifts in the compression's on the ridge.
Trail should be good to go for May 2020. Just remember not to bring your dogs and don't hike to the top during lambing season.
Shailyn July 28, 2019
Hiked today with a couple friends. It was my first time on this mountain and I loved it! One other group up there and the winds were quite intense at the top, so we didn’t linger too long. Saw some sheep on a neighbouring mountain and some bear tracks in the dirt. Took us just over four hours return. Such a great day out.
Karly July 7, 2019
My partner and I hiked this today! The trail is in great condition and really easy to follow. We did not see any signs of bear activity today but be sure to bring your spray. We saw two mountain sheep along the ridges and a very large black grouse. We unfortunately missed out on the amazing views because of the smoke in the air from near by forest fires but the hike was beautiful anyways (definitely still worth it) :).
Aylish M June 20, 2019
Tried to hike the trail today but had a run in with two black bears. They didn't move when we made noises at them so we turned around. Don't forget your bear spray if you're planning to do this hike!
Liz B March 31, 2019
My husband and I hiked Caribou on March 31st. The trail is almost entirely free of snow, no need for spikes. The distance listed is bang on, 8km return. The elevation gain is closer to 1250m if you factor in all the ups and downs throughout the hike.
There are some steep sections along this hike so poles were a big help! The wind at the summit was intense, we only stayed at the top for 5 minutes before heading back down.
We started the hike at 10am; it took us 3 hours to get up (including a lunch stop and lots of photo breaks) and 2 hours to get down (including a snack break).
All in all a great hike with gorgeous views of the mountain ranges around Carcross!
David J. March 23, 2019
Did it today. 99% clear of snow, still windy up there :)
Riley Moncrief August 31, 2018
In Whitehorse from Sept 3-7 solo and looking to track down a day hike! If anyone is interested in Caribou or any other hikes close to Whitehorse send me a text 306 415-0185. Cheers!
Simon Small August 29, 2018
Hi I would like to do this hike tomorrow or the next day (29-30Aug).
Looking for someone to join me!
Please shoot me a text if you are interested!
YukonHiking April 10, 2018
Reminder that between April 1st and June 15th, the Carcross Tagish First Nation is requesting that hikers stay out of this area due to the sensitivity of the Dall sheep lambing in the area..
Andrea Altherr March 28, 2018
The trail is less travelled than in other years but overall in good shape. There is some snow left in the lower section. The ridge itself is mostly bare. We didn't use snowshoes.(March 25, 2018)
Cristina Ramos February 26, 2018
This was our second time hiking Caribou Mt and the first with snowshoes.
On the bottom section there was a lot of snow and it was a bit challenging. At some points was hard to find the trail so we just kept going up following some animal tracks.
Once we got to the ridge, there was just a few inches of snow and some ice patches. It was pretty windy from the trees on the ridge to the summit.
It took us 4 hours to get to the summit and about 2 to get to the car.
It was a sunny and beautiful day so we took it easy and the way back was much more fun sliding in the snow like kids.
BW October 30, 2017
Great quick trip. I recommend going in the morning this time of year though as the trail gets pretty slippery/muddy if the suns out. We headed up around 1030am so the ground was still frozen on our way up. Not slippery. About mid way up there is a fork in the trail. The main path is up and right and a goat trail veers left. We accidentally took this goat trail and ended up traversing across the mountain until we realized we weren't ascending anymore! Just FYI. Happy hiking.
kyliestravel June 30, 2017
Hiked this on Aboriginal Day, its a really amazing hike. You get views in 10 minutes. It is pretty steep though. Took 3.5 hours round trip. There is a very obvious trail, its marked off the driveway, follow the sign. You do come to a fork before the fork you need to turn left. Turn left where the tree is marked with an arrow, otherwise veer right. Definitely recommend!
Stephanie Hawney June 27, 2017
Wow, what a trail. This was amazing, beautiful views, clear path. We weren't quite sure where it ended but it was steep and wonderful. Took about 3.5 hours total and saw some sheep on the way up, not lambing though. 10/10 would recommend
Ken Veitch June 20, 2017
I am trying to locate a man who had a website of the Carcross area and had a view of Caribou mountain from his front window. He gave regular updates on events of the area especially summer solstice hike. I have lost his website name,can you provide me with it?
Ruth May 5, 2017
This is a very popular hike and way over hiked in the spring. I respectfully request that all hikers please respect this sight.
Aadil Mohammed February 7, 2017
I think the difficulty should be changed from moderate lol. This was a quite a challenge. Didn't quite make it to the top but still worth it.
Sandra September 23, 2016
Rufus and everyone else who hikes Caribou Please avoid hiking this trail from mid-May to mid-June to avoid disturbing the sheep during lambing season. Nobody seems to care!! I am a local resident in Carcross, I love this Mountain and I think is very important to respect animals habitats! Also I would like to share my feeling about Bicycles,the trail is very narrow for hikers, maybe stick to Montana M, design to ride your wheels. I came across some garbage too! pack your garbage please.. I hike this mountain once a week, I enjoy very much and take care of this place!!
Rufus May 21, 2016
Great hike. Five minutes in we were surrounded by 8 barking dogs with the owner yelling for them to come back. When they eventually did, I said to the owner, "Sorry we interrupted your day." He glared at me and turned the other way without a word. Fortunately the dogs didn't kill us.
summit seeker May 18, 2016
summited the peak to the east of the suggested hike taking a sheep trail to the saddle and scrambling up to the rocky top after meandering a bit right to get to the drainage creek (stick to the sheep trails much easier). A not to nice cornice blocked an area close to the peak so a bit of down climbing on the south side was required. Had a beautiful day and the hike entices you to go back and spend days exploring the ridge and other peaks.
Dylan Pratt April 24, 2016
First time on this hike, started at the crack of noon. It was surprisingly busy, I guess everyone had the same idea that summer has arrived. Cool, cloudy day so good for a steep hike. All snow is melted until the summit so give 'er! Panoramic view is definitely worth the sore legs.
Erin April 10, 2016
Dry and ready to be used!
JMB March 29, 2016
Was a bit snowy and icy in morning but easy to climb.
The way down was more slippery on mod and snow.
Did it in 3 Hours
Monday the 28th of March.
Marko Marjanovic March 10, 2016
We hiked up Caribou on Tuesday. There was a well packed trail at the bottom, and the ridge was snow-free in sections. Snowshoes are not required.
Instead of heading for the normal summit, we took a sheep trail just below the summit that led to the saddle between the normal summit and the higher summit directly to the east. The snow was deeper, and the terrain was steeper. We got just below this higher summit, but a nasty cornice on a thin ridge blocked our progress. It was getting late (we started at 3pm, at it was 6pm by this point), so we turned around without summiting.
Ellie and Blake October 12, 2015
We did this hike on October 9 2015. it was a rainy and foggy day but the trail and summer did not fail to impress us. The first two thirds would be considered a moderate hike with break taking views of mountain tops and passing clouds. The last third on the way up was quite a bit challenging but it is well worth the struggle once you reach the summit. We completed this trail in 3 hours.
AdglePage May 14, 2015
First hike of the season 2015! Wow, that incline kicked my butt.
Steve May 23, 2014
Made it up to the top last weekend. It was a steep trail first hike of the season took half a week to have my legs feeling right again. Signs do say trail is not recommended mid May to mid June for sheep mating
Luke March 3, 2014
Easy late winter hiking on Caribou this past weekend. Five of us did the summit in about 2 hours without trying too hard. We didn't have snowshoes but that was only a problem for 10 minutes or so. Those ankle high shoes had pretty wet socks though by the end of the hike.
The snow is starting to melt down to earth and rocks at the top, but we had some great fun sliding down on our snow pants all the same.
Sean October 23, 2013
Hiked up for about 2 hours on Sunday the 20th of October. Snow line was still quite a bit higher than where I stopped and there did not seem to be much snow up there anyway. Trail was dry and in perfect condition for my hike and there were 3-4 other parties on the mountain, hardly surprising with the amazing weather. Whitehorse was dark with low cloud but Carcross had one large picture-frame section of blue sky that fortunately, was right where the sun stood. Amazing day, slight warm breeze, great views as always.
George August 26, 2013
This website was an excellent resource for planning my hiking options for my Yukon vacation.
I settled on Caribou Mountain for my solo hike (I did have bear spray & bangers with me)on July 29, 2013.
The directions on this site were spot on, and yes, the dogs were there that day, but none were loose.
I spotted goats on the way up. Unlike the ones I had seen in Olympic National Park, these ones were skittish and ensured a 500m buffer between them and me.
3 hours up and 1 1/2 hours to get back. Perfect and it allowed me to enjoy the rest of the afternoon cycling in town.
MLC August 3, 2013
I live in Nebraska. This is my first time in the YT. I hiked Caribou Mountain today, guided by Brooke of Cabin Fever Adventures. It was a beautiful hike, challenging but not exhausting. Brooke was terrific - - very informational and educational about the terrain, the history of the area and how to not maim myself on the trail. We also encountered the loose dogs early in the hike that are mentioned below, and can confirm that they are aggressive, but we got past them. Great weather all day and overall a great day!
yukonhiker July 23, 2012
After parking at the bottom of the drive way you take a wide trail off to the left that leads you to an open area, there is a small trail on the right that leads you along the property line. There are some sled dogs in a pen, but there were a couple of loose dogs at well that seemed somewhat aggressive. The trail is quite steep which is to be expected.
Marko Marjanovic January 7, 2012
There was about a foot of snow on the bottom section of the trail today. Snowshoes helped in this section.
Once on the ridge, the wind was so strong that it was a struggle just to stay upright! Which meant that there was almost no snow at all because it was all windblown. Luckily it was only a few degrees below zero, otherwise frostbite would have been a definite concern.
Leading up to the summit we encountered only a few inches of snow and it was quite crusty and windblown.