Total Distance: 15 km
Return Time: 5.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 1063 m
Region: Annie Lake
The Mount Skukum area is a Yukon hiker's playground! There are endless opportunities for exploring, everything is easily accessible via old exploration mining roads, and the views are rewarding from every angle. Mount Skukum (2,377 m) itself is an impressive volcanic rock complex, and the peak would require rock climbing gear. The hike described here is to a lower peak.
Note: The last bridge at KM 43 has now been removed (Summer 2019). Access to the hike now requires safely crossing the creek during low water.
Drive south from Whitehorse on the Alaska Highway and turn right at the Carcross Cutoff onto the South Klondike Highway. After about 17 km turn right onto the Annie Lake Road. Follow the Annie Lake Road for a total of about 54 km (it is a dirt road). You will cross the Watson River Bridge, drive alongside Annie Lake, and cross the Wheaton River Bridge at KM 26. The road is unmaintained past this point and a bit more rough with a lot of potholes. At KM 43 you will cross the Wheaton River for the second time (note the bridge has been removed). After crossing the creek, take the next left onto an old mining road.
After a short while, pass through the mine site gate and continue on the main road until there is an obvious fork. Note if the mine gate is closed (you can drive around it). Follow the road to the right, which switchbacks up the mountainside. The road is a little rougher in places and it is nice to have a vehicle with some clearance. There is a suitable parking spot near the top where the road crosses Skukum Creek. The old mining 'explosives' trailer is a good landmark, and this is where the trail begins.
Note: The Mount Skukum area used to have an active gold/silver mine from 1986-1988, and mineral exploration continues to this day. There is an abandoned adit past the parking area and the old mill and office remain at the end of the Annie Lake Road (behind a locked gate). Hikers should be cautious around the abandoned adits as these structures are unmaintained and their stability is questionable.
From the parking area follow the rougher exploration road which leads steeply up the valley along the right side of Skukum Creek. You will follow this road for approximately 3.6 km, as it gradually climbs up the valley into the alpine. There is an exploration road spurring off to the right, but continue straight up the main valley.
After 3.6 km of hiking on the road, there will be another intersection, with a rocky track leading up the mountain to the right. The track is a lot steeper in places and is on scree for the most part. The track leads up into a bowl and then over a saddle where you get your first look at the granite spire of Mount Skukum as well as a view into the adjacent valley below (where there are numerous other exploration roads and mining remnants).
The route then leaves the exploration road and traverses along the north side of the hill to the left aiming towards the east ridge of Mount Skukum. From this vantage you can see back into the Skukum Creek valley with views of the snowy coast mountains to the south. Follow the narrow ridge up as you begin the final ascent to the top of one of Mount Skukum's lower peaks.
From this peak soak in the views of the area, and admire the volcanic landscape. Be careful around the sheer cliffs surrounding the peak. Depending on your scrambling abilities and head for heights, you can scramble down and up to another sub peak or ridge closer to the true peak. The actual peak of Mount Skukum requires more down climbing and scrambling from the lower peaks and ridges, and then a very steep scramble and rock climb to the top.
Return the way you came.
Randi July 18, 2020
I biked in today from where the 35 km bridge is out (river crossing no problem there) but got turned back at the 44 km crossing. The force and height of the water was over my comfort level, especially solo. I did check the spot 100 m down where it’s shallower but the last 1/3 near the opposite shore was too deep and zippy. I’ll be back in August!
D$ July 12, 2020
Climbed to summit yesterday. Climbing via SE ridgeis probably only 5.4-5.6ish if you go direct immediately left of the prominent fin. The climbing is largely unprotected and with lots (!!) of loose rock to navigate. Yuck. Great summit. Great views.
Alice August 14, 2019
The road up into the Skukum creek valley is now blocked shortly after the switchbacks (avalanche?).
Alex K September 11, 2018
The last bridge is being held up by a single post. Probably not for much longer once the spring melt takes it out too. You can cross the bridge right now with an ATV or lighter. Cars need to stick about 100m downstream where the water was only 1 -2 feet deep on 2018/09/10
Wilfred Zaha January 19, 2018
To clarify the bridges. The final brige is out! This is the one at the mine office turn and right before the fencing. You can drive around with a 4x4 truck(would sugest late summer/fall when the water isnt as high). The butte creek road only goes a km or so Unless you have an ATV.You can not drive up the mountian with a full size truck as all the culverts have been removed.and the road is impassable up that creek. I have not explored the south road(towards the tailings) so dont know if that drivable.
Yukon Hiking August 30, 2017
Assume the bridge is still out and that you need to hike/bike across the bridge to get to the trailhead (~8 km one way).
Patti Balsillie August 29, 2017
Question about the access - so is Mt. Skukum hike accessible? I read all the comments and I don't know if the bridge is out or if you can drive up the mountain or ???
Dwight gale August 15, 2017
Hiked Aug 14th. Snowed early morining and contiuned on the peak of skukum. We decided to aproach the mt from the north, We took the cat track up butte creek to the old mine shafts and tranches than whent up a pretty steep cat track to the left of skukum than walked the spine to the 2nd highest peak. Whould have liked to climb the spire to reach the summit but didt bring any climbing gear.
I highly recommend biking up the cat track to the mine shafts. It only took us 15min to descend back to the parking lot Which is a bit shorter than walking 10km back.
The total trip time was 6hrs to reach the middle peak and explore the mind shafts and trenchs and return to the car.
Joe June 19, 2017
There is actually 4 bridges on Annie Lale Road to Mount Skukum. Three of them cross the Wheaton River. You cross the Wheaton River at KM 26 for the first time. Then, you cross it again around KM 35. This is a very small bridge, but it still crosses the Wheaton River. And finally, you get to the 3rd bridge (which is collapsed and impassable) at KM 43.
Yukon Hiking June 19, 2017
To clarify, there are three bridges on the Annie Lake Road to Mount Skukum - the first one is over the Watson River, and the other two are over the Wheaton (as described in the Driving Directions).
It is the last Wheaton River bridge that is decommissioned/blocked. You could attempt to cross the river below the bridge during low water in a truck with good clearance (late summer/fall and early in the day). Otherwise bring bikes or ATVs to get to the trailhead (~8 km from the bridge - one way).
Joe June 18, 2017
The bridge that is out is actually the 3rd river crossing (and not the 2nd like it says on here). There is no other way around it with a normal car, that's for sure. The bridge is blocked with big boulders, and it is also half-collapsed, so it is impassable. However, with a 4X4, Quad or vehicle with good clearance, you can probably cross the river approximately 100M downstream of the bridge. There's a picture on here in the comments of somebody that did it! But that might only be possible in April / May when the water level is still now. Going right now in June would most likely not be possible due to the high river. Other alternatives include bringing a bike and get to the trailhead by bike.
Nathan June 18, 2017
Is there any other way across the second Wheaton river bridge km 43?
mary & peter July 31, 2016
We were out at Mt Skukum on the Butte Creek side and watched a group of people across the valley on the Skukum Creek side. Would love to compare notes and hear how far up towards the finger of mt skukum you made it.
What an incredible day with incredible views. Perfect hiking weather
Ben June 19, 2016
Water was very high at the Wheaton River crossing at 43km and the bridge is still out. Biked the 12km to the trailhead (650m elevation gain) then did a big loop around the north side and up the west ridge. From the west, was able to ascend to about 5 meters below the summit (no gear), but the last pitch is exposed with very loose rock so called it there. Marmots ate the grips on my bike and the dog triggered a sizable wet slide avalanche, but other than that, phenomenal outing.
LC August 3, 2015
Went in July 31st 2015. Bridge is still out and gate is still open! Rained all the way and snowed on the ridge, didn't attempt the summit unfortunately. Saw lots of dall ewes and lambs. Just to clarify you technically cross the Wheaton River three times, twice by bridges and the third is the river crossing.
Manny June 29, 2015
The rock spire is climbable, We climbed to the top on june 28th, 2015. easy 5.8 trad (gear up to 2") on the southeast side 60m will take you from the skree to the top so two 60m ropes makes the rappel much quicker. we left a bolt 30m down cuz we made the mistake of only taking one rope. take a 3.5m piece of webbing for the top anchor to replace the one we put around the boulder at the top. and helmets are a must as there is lots of loose rocks. The bridge is not repaired...
MeghanM October 21, 2014
I recently heard that the last bridge is finally going to be repaired, and should be ready by the end of this month (Oct 2014).
darren September 18, 2014
Went up yesterday, but got stuck at the 43km mark and had to walk in, which sucked. Didn't summit, but made it quite far up the valley. I was told by a guy working near the explosives trailer that if someone wants to make a loop of the trail, it's possible to drop down the north side of the mountain near where one hits the ridge and pick up a road out of the valley.
Didn't see any sign of the camera mentioned in the comment below.
janice September 6, 2014
If anyone happens to find a camera in the area,... it seems I lost it while hiking up Skookum. I either left it at the river by the bridge that's out or a few kms up the road toward Skookum. It's a red Canon point and shoot in a blue and black case.
Meghan M August 23, 2014
We crossed the creek on Aug 16 and 17, in an old toyota 4x4 with good clearance about 100 m downstream of the bridge. The creek channel was wide and relatively shallow there.
sam firstname.lastname@example.org August 22, 2014
Correction Anyone forded the river lately?
looking for an update
Sean August 3, 2014
The 2nd Wheaton bridge remains out at km 43. There is a decent ford about a hundred metres downstream that was easy to do by ATV and would certainly be do-able in a high clearance 4x4. Otherwise, the road is in good shape and the gate is open.
JP June 22, 2014
- Yes! Almost no snow on the route I picked up.
- The road was good, went on with a big sedan car, no trouble with the clearance
- We drove to the right. Just before the road goes uphill, park your car in the parking spot, if you got a low clearance one. Otherwise, any good truck will make it to the Chieftain trailers, saving you a good hour of walk.
Travis June 22, 2014
Did an overnight trip in the Skukum Creek Valley June 21/22 with my partner and the dog. The gate is open and it was an easy drive up to the Explosives Trailer. We didn't make it right up to the summit because there was still some snow and it seemed a little punchy in the late afternoon. We wandered around the plateau and then camped down on Skukum Creek. Lots of opportunity for exploring around the area thanks to all of the exploration roads.
The attached photo shows the snowpack on Mount Skukum on June 21.
sam June 16, 2014
Is Mt Skukum really snow free already? and the road completely passable? Did you drive the road to the right past the gate or straight ahead? thanks!
JP June 8, 2014
Fantastic hike !
6 hours round-trip – got 100 meters below the summit. Highly recommended ! Gate was open. We went quite far with only a RWD car. We haven't done the trail described on this page. We went right at the bottom of Skukum in the valley, they just scrambling to (almost) the summit. Could have done it to the top, but some team circonstance made us turn back, around 2300 meters high. Another time. Doable WITHOUT climbing gear. Just know your ground.
Johann August 9, 2013
I was up there a couple of weeks ago and there is a trail to the left of the gate that is suitable for a small truck or quad. No one was working up there and the road was in good condition until the washout, but a lower option exists for quads/motorbikes. I climbed the main summit in 97 and it went 5.6 with no gear and very loose upper chimney with exposure. Enjoy, I love that valley!
sam July 29, 2013
So what would be the total road trip time from gate to lower peak? Is it feasible in one long day hike? Has anyone done it recently? Are there any issues with going under or around the gate and trepassing?
Anthony July 29, 2013
That gate will be blocked for a while as they are not working in that area right now. It is only a 45-minute walk from the gate to the spot where people normally park.
Mimi July 27, 2013
Gate is close - July 12, 2013. We couldn't go any further than the gate and the boulders under it ! :( It seems they have decided to close that road for a while....
Jen September 26, 2012
Encountered 3 large grizzlies on the trail approximately 3 km after skukum creek last weekend (Sept 22). After noticing us, one of the bears (a super huge cub) ran down the mountainside in an aggressive manner. We backtracked and found another trail to take us around the bears. I was also told that 2 bikers were followed by the bears the same day. Please be bear aware if you're in this area during berry season.
Rob Horne October 12, 2011
Gate is open - oct 1, 2011. I signed in at the main office of the mine- the foreman was very nice, and let me be aware of what activity was going on...ie blasting etc. He also asked me to sign out before I left so that they knew I got out okay. Great hike, will be back:-)
Nicolas Dory August 2, 2011
As of July 31/2011, the gate is still open!
That's an awesome hike, the view from Mount Skukum is incredible! Here are some pictures shot along the trail: http://www.nicolasdory.com/?s=skukum
Thank you Yukon Hiking for the directions ;-)
Jeff Pike July 24, 2011
As of July 23/2011, the gate is open!