An Explorer's Guide to the Alaska Highway
Click on each photo to greatly enlarge it
This guide lists all of the hiking trails and routes that I have found in the northern Rocky Mountains area between Km 548.9 and Km 792.6 of the Alaska Highway. There are 30 trails and walks listed for that 244-km stretch of highway. Much of the land along this section of the highway is protected by provincial parks:
- Stone Mountain Provincial Park, 25,690 hectares, from Km 594.2 to Km 609. Northern Rocky Mountains Park adjoins it to the south and protects another 665,709 hectares of wilderness.
- Muncho Lake Provincial Park, 88,420 hectares, from Km 654.6 to 737.6.
- Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, 1,082 hectares, from Km 763.8 to Km 765.5.
- Smith River Falls - Fort Halkett Provincial Park, 254 hectares at Km 792.5.
Tourism Northern Rockies has published a 90-page Hiking & Motorized Trail Guide. I've posted a digitized version of it - it's a 67MB download. Note, however, that most of the Alaska Highway mileages for the trailheads are wrong, and many of the trail difficulty ratings are misleading (in my opinion).
Km 548.9: Teetering Rock:
This trail is 23 km round trip, is rated Difficult for both length and some sections of steep and loose trail, but offers wonderful views.
* See Teetering Rock @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 584.6: Tetsa #1 Trail:
This trail is 4 km round trip and is rated Moderately Easy. It offers good views over the North Tetsa River valley, and it leads to a pond that offers good bird watching.
* See Tetsa #1 Trail @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 593.1: Dunedin Trail:
This trail starts on an old logging road, and is 15 km round trip. Rated Moderate (though one source says "challenging"), with some steep sections, and lots of ascent on the return. The destination is the Dunedin River. It's a good trail for wildlife viewing.
* See Dunedin Trail @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 597.4: Flower Springs Trail:
This trail is 10.2 km round trip via the radio tower road but a longer and more scenic route is 13.6 km round trip. Rated Moderately Easy, the destination is Flower Springs Lake, and 2 small lakes higher up.
* See Flower Springs Trail @ Tourism Northern Rockies
* See Flower Springs Lake in the Northern Rockies @ ClubTread
Km 597.4: Summit Tower Road:
This trail is 12 km round trip. It is rated as Moderately Easy as it is a good but gated road from the Alaska Highway to a communications tower.
* See Summit Tower Road @ Tourism Northern Rockies
Km 597.6: Summit Peak Trail (Mt. St. Paul):
This trail is 6.7 km round trip to the upper viewpoint (seen to the right), 12.5 km round trip to the summit. It's a good trail but is rated Moderately Difficult due to the long ascent, which has some steep sections.
* See Hiking the Summit Peak Trail @ Destination BC
* See Summit Peak Trail (Mt. St. Paul) @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 597.6: Summit Ridge:
This trail is 4½ km round trip, rated Moderate, with a continual ascent to a ridge offering superb views.
* See Summit Ridge @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 601.5: Erosion Pillar Trail:
The trail is only 1 km round trip. Rated as Easy, it takes you to a particularly impressive erosion pillar (hoodoo), and climbs up beside the hoodoo.
* See Erosion Pillar Trail Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
* See Erosion Pillar Trail @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 604: "The Cut" Trail:
This trail is an old section of the Alaska Highway. It is 6 km round trip, 2 km round trip to the view of the new highway running through "The Cut," seen to the right. Rated Moderately Easy.
* See The Cut Trail Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
* See The "Cut" Trail @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 605.1: Baba Canyon:
This trail is 5½ km round trip to the first viewpoint, 11 km round trip to the second viewpoint. Rated as Moderate, it starts off on an old quarry road, then you walk up a creek with lovely waterfalls and deep pools.
* See Baba Canyon @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
* See Baba Canyon on Google Streetview.
Km 605.5: MacDonald Creek:
This trail runs some 20 km up the MacDonald Valley and can be followed much further. Shorter hikes are rewarding due to the scenery.
* See MacDonald Creek @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 679: Petersen Canyon:
This trail is an old section of the Alaska Highway. It is 12 km round trip, but if you have 2 vehicles it can be accessed from both ends. Rated Moderately Easy. Two of the original bridges and some wooden culverts are the historical highlights, and a waterfall adds to the great scenery.
* See Petersen Canyon @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
* See Petersen Canyon photo gallery.
Between Km 697 and Km 726, there are 14 main canyons easily accessible from the highway. Each has its own unique personality, and there is huge variety among them. Most of them lead to extensive networks of valleys and canyons, and many are suitable for multi-day hikes. Most are best for hiking in late summer when the creeks have little or no water in them. While having some water flowing produces gorgeous waterfalls in most of the canyons, route-finding can be a challenge in many of them even with no water flowing. Many have sheep trails along the slopes, but they often lead to places that are extremely difficult for humans to traverse.
Only 3 of the 14 canyons are signed as hiking routes - the one at Km 697.7 (Red Rock Canyon), at Km 704.5 (the Stone Sheep Trail), and at Km 716.8 (Boulder Canyon). None of the canyons seem to have official names.
Km 697.7: Red Rock Canyon:
The route up the unnamed creek to a small waterfall in Red Rock Canyon is 6 km round trip. It is rated as Moderate.
* See Red Rock Canyon @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 699.4: Unnamed Canyon:
This broad alluvial plain narrowing into a canyon offers hikes of any length you choose. There is a side canyon 2½ km from the highway, and the main valley narrows dramatically just past that. There are some superb erosion pillars (hoodoos).
* See Km 699.4 Canyon Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
Km 700.7: Old Alaska Highway Trail:
This trail is an old section of the Alaska Highway. It is 5 km round trip from the Strawberry Flats Campground. It is rated as Easy, but I don't agree as there are steep and loose sections. A very steep side trail goes to a superb view over Muncho Lake.
* See Old Alaska Highway Trail Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
* See Old Alaska Highway Trail @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 704.5: Stone Sheep Trail:
This large alluvial plain fairly quickly leads to a series of canyons featuring some very interesting geology including hoodoos, and the remains of a camp (possibly for cutting bridge and culvert timbers) from the days of the Alaska Highway construction.
* See Stone Sheep Trail Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
* See Stone's Sheep Trail @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 708.3: Unnamed Canyon:
The alluvial fan below the canyon is massive, and aerial photos show that it would take several days to explore the network of canyons accessed from it. The canyon proper begins a bit less than 2 hours from the highway.
* See Km 708.3 Canyon Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
Km 711.6: Unnamed Canyon:
Access to this canyon is up the creek. The canyon proper closes in about 15 minutes from the highway.
Km 712.1: Unnamed Canyons:
Access to 2 canyons by walking up their creeks which meet near the highway.
Km 713.6: Unnamed Canyons:
Access to 2 canyons by walking up their creeks which meet right at the highway. The southern canyon is the most rugged - it gets very tight about 30 minutes from the highway.
Km 714.9: Unnamed Canyon:
The tight part of the canyon beyond the alluvial fan starts about 30 minutes from the highway. Some particularly fine rock formations for waterfall creation can be found here. The photo to the right was shot in this canyon.
* See Km 714.9 Canyon Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
Km 716.8: Boulder Canyon:
This alluvial fan and canyon is described as being "Moderately Easy", but once you get into the canyon proper, it quickly becomes Difficult, with steep and loose slopes, and rocky cliffs to navigate.
* See Boulder Canyon Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
* See Boulder Canyon @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 718.4: Unnamed Canyon:
This canyon is reached by walking across a broad alluvial fan with a large double set of berms to protect the highway from flooding. The canyon is about 30 minutes from the highway, and gets very tight about an hour in.
* See Km 718.4 Canyon Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
Km 720: Unnamed Canyon:
Most of the walk to this canyon is very easy, on the berm along the creek. A high wall of rock is soon reached, but it can be climbed around on the left side. The cliff section is very short, and getting around them gives you access to a large network of canyons.
* See Km 720 Canyon Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
Km 725.6: Unnamed Canyon:
The first 10 minutes is on a road up the side of the creek, then the main canyon splits into 2 very interesting smaller and tighter ones.
* See Km 725.6 Canyon Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
Km 726.7: Salt Lick Trail (a.k.a. Minerals Licks Trail):
This loop trail is 1.3 km round trip. It leads to a wonderful view over the Trout River, and an area of hoodoos and glacial flour that is loaded with minerals that atract wildlife.
* See Salt Lick Trail @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
* See Mineral Licks Trail @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 772.9: Teeter Creek:
Most people only do an easy hike, 1.2 km round trip to a small waterfall and pool, but a canyon beyond offers more options.
* See Teeter Creek @ Tourism Northern Rockies.
Km 792.6: Smith River Falls:
The access road for this trail runs 2.4 km north from the Alaska Highway. The trail is 1.4 km round trip, but is extremely steep in two places. Stairs that used to make the hike much easier were burned in a forest fire in 2009. Ropes have been strung to make climbing up easier, but reaching the base of the falls and getting up again is quite difficult.
* See Smith River Falls Hike @ The ExploreNorth Blog.
* See Smith River Falls @ Tourism Northern Rockies.