Total Distance: 24 km
Return Time: 2-3 days
Elevation Gain: 775 m
Nines Creek North leads up the Nines Creek North valley towards Nines Peak, an impressive glaciated mountain. The alpine area at the end of the valley is great to explore, and there is a pass that overlooks the Duke River and the mountains beyond. Although there a few creek crossings, this is a great overnight hike.
Drive 97 km north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway. Continue 9 km after the Congdon Creek Campground, look for a gravel road on your left. Take this road and follow it around the gravel pit. The road bends right after 400 meters, and after another 400 meters look for a road on your left, before the end of the gravel pit.
The road can be driven 4.3 km to a suitable parking spot, even in a small car. If you drive any further, you may end up in an active mining area, so best to park your car before this.
NOTE: This hike is within the Kluane Wildlife Sanctuary and not in Kluane National Park & Reserve.
The return distance is from the parking spot to the end of the Nines Creek North Valley (not to the pass above the Duke River). This can be done as a very long day hike, but is more suitable as an overnight trip so you can explore the area. There are options to camp earlier, near the small Pass to Bock's Creek.
Start by hiking along the rest of the mining road. From the parking spot, you will soon reach the main mining area, and then shortly after you will be forced along the left bank of the creek.
Continue following the mining road when you can. There are a few short sections that require you to go into the trees, but there are paths through them.
Eventually the creek valley will widen and you can walk on the rocks beside Nines Creek. Then you will come to a point where two valleys meet in a 'Y'. The left branch is Nines South, the right branch is Nines North.
You will have to cross the creek in order to go up Nines North. Choose the best spot. When hiking up Nines North, the left side of the creek offers good hiking, but there are still a few sections where you either have to cross the creek or ascend up the forested bank above the creek to get around any canyon sections or during high water.
Water levels always vary. To cross Nines North, it is usually best to switch to creek crossing shoes. In times of high water levels, it may be impassable.
Continue up the creek valley. From the trailhead, it is about 9.6 km to a pass on your right that leads to Bock's Creek. There is a small vegetated area to camp below the pass (about 4 hours from the parking spot). From the Bock's Creek Pass area, it is another 2.4 km to a vegetated alpine area at the top end of the Nines Creek North Valley (about 12 km total from the parking spot). There is good camping here too.
From here you can add a nice side trip up a pass that overlooks the Duke River and the mountains beyond. It is 2 km up to the pass from the end of the valley (and 340 m elevation gain). Head to the right side of the valley up a steep scree slope. To reach the pass, head up a steep scree slope, to the right side of the valley.