Return to Cultus Bay / Cultus Lake

Although we planned our long weekend at Kluane Lake to be a relaxing one, we decided on Saturday to drive to Cultus Lake, on the opposite side of the lake from our campground. I discovered in 2016 that the lowering of Kluane Lake had resulted in what had been Cultus Bay being separated from Kluane, becoming Cultus Lake. After going there twice then, I posted a detailed guide to what I call the Kluane North Road.

The first photo shows the view from Km 1.4 of the Kluane North Road, looking to the west, towards Kluane Lake.

Kluane North Road, Yukon
Despite the plan when we bought it, Cathy’s Jeep rarely gets used off-road. It’s quite a different experience from driving it in the old Tracker!

Cathy's Jeep Cherokee on the Kluane North Road, Yukon
The lovely emerald lake seen below at Km 7.0 deserves a name, but doesn’t have one on the maps. Some day I’ll meet a local who knows what the map doesn’t.

A lovely emerald lake below the Kluane North Road, Yukon
High above Kluane Lake at Km 13.0. On a long weekend, I expected that we’d meet other vehicles on this one-lane road, but we only met two right at the end of the drive out, and those were both met at rare wide spots where passing was easy.

High above Kluane Lake at Km 13.0 of the Kluane North Road, Yukon
What an incredibly beautiful place this is. That’s Kluane Lake, seen from Km 17.0 – there’s easy vehicle/ATV access to that beach.

Kluane Lake from Km 17.0 of the Kluane North Road, Yukon
I was extremely surprised and disappointed to find that an artificial channel has been dug to re-join Cultus Lake to Kluane Lake. It’s resulted in the lowering of Cultus Lake by about 2 feet, destroying the shallow, gently-sloping beach that was fun to play in – now the steep drop-off into deep water is only a couple of feet from shore.

An artificial channel has been dug to re-join Cultus Lake to Kluane Lake
The new level of Cultus Lake. I can’t imagine why that channel was dug. Mother Nature had created a wonderful new lake, and the channel ruined it.

Cultus Lake, Yukon
After a fairly short stay at the lake, we continued north on the road for a few miles. There are 2 more creeks to ford, and one was irresistible to me – I dropped Cathy off with the camera and backed up for a splash-run 🙂

Splashing through a creek on the Kluane North Road
The next photo shows the only camping spot that has developed along Cultus Lake (it seems to have been there for many years).

Camping spot on Cultus Lake, Yukon
The small island below is one of at least two that have been created by the lowering of Kluane Lake.

A new island on Kluane Lake, Yukon
This great switchback is at Km 5.2, the north side of the Little John Creek valley. Little John Creek is the second creek you ford on the drive in.

Switchback above Little John Creek
Christmas Creek is seen ahead – it’s the first and largest creek you ford on the drive in.

Christmas Creek, on the Kluane North Road
On the wy back to the campground, we stopped at the Sheep Mountain interpretive centre to see if any Dall sheep were visible. There were 11 sheep, but they were all just dots high on the mountain (often called “Dall dots” by tour guides 🙂 ) – the next photo was shot at 400mm with a 1.4 extender added, so 560mm.

Dall sheep on Sheep Mountain, Yukon
I hadn’t gotten close to any bords with my new lens yet, but a raven at Sheep Mountain was very cooperative.

We noticed a bad smell in the Jeep, and soon realized that Bella had found something to rol in at Cultus Lake – bison dung, perhaps. Luckily, we had access to a really big bathtub back at the campground, and she got de-scented!


Return to Cultus Bay / Cultus Lake — 3 Comments

  1. Love your blog — I’ve probably travelled the highway between Carcross and Fairbanks 1000 times and have never been to Cultus Lake or any of the back roads — just cried when i saw all the changes to Kluane two years ago (as well as all the other areas — Beaver Creeks little lakes are pretty much all gone) — big changes since the mid 60s.

  2. I could see that nice smooth gravel road being a relaxing long ride on a mtn bike or a short fun blast on an ADV and with a truck camper, a great end destination to camp and enjoy the views.

    Shame about the lake…wonder if the govt folks consulted any one at the local road before the channel digging got started.