The Kluane National Park and Reserve is "THE" adventure park in the Yukon Territories, Canada. The wilderness park is a recreation destination for many year round outdoor activities. It is home to many species of wildlife, flora and fauna as well. It is a land full of mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, glaciers and icefields.
In 1980 the Kluane National Park and Reserve was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The wilderness park has a long and deep history with the Southern Tutchone First Nation people. The park is part of their traditional territory which includes the territories of the Champagne, Aishihik and Kluane First Nations.
Every thing is big in the 21,980 square kilometre Kluane National Park and Reserve. It is here where the Kluane and Icefield Mountain Ranges make up the St. Elias Mountains. They are the highest mountains in Canada! West of the Kluane Mountain Range is the Icefields Mountain Range. The Icefield Range is home to Canada`s highest mountain - Mount Logan. Mount Logan reaches an elevation of 5,959 metres (19,545 feet).
With tall mountains, usually comes snow, alpine lakes and glaciers. There are many icefields in the Kluane National Park mountains. The Lowell and the Kaskawulsh Glaciers connect the icefields and, together, they are considered one of the largest non polar icefields in the world! The glaciers and icefields are an important source of water for the surrounding lakes and rivers.
High elevation parks with alpine valleys and long mountain ranges usually experience tough weather conditions. It is at the higher elevations that there is often very little plant growth because of the harsher climates. That is a reason why only 8% of Kluane National Park and Reserve is forested.
The forest that does exist below the tree line includes mostly white spruce, trembling aspen, birch and balsam poplar trees. The fauna and flora in the alpine meadows provide wildflower colors to the park during the summer months. There are said to be over 220 different types of wildflowers in the park.
The Kluane National Park and Reserve and the Kluane Wildlife Sanctuary in the Yukon Territory, Canada are surrounded by other protected parks. Together.. with the Tatshenshini/Alsek Park in British Columbia, Canada and the Wrangell/St. Elias National Park Reserve and the Glacier Bay National Park & Reserve in Alaska, USA they form the largest protected wilderness area in the world!
There are tour groups throughout the Yukon which provide some amazing adventures exploring the Kluane National Park. Most of the park is best accessed via a helicopter or flight seeing company. However, there are plenty adventures which can be accessed and enjoyed on your own.
Some of the summer activities enjoyed in the park include hiking, sightseeing, flight seeing, backpacking, rafting, rock climbing, mountaineering, fishing, camping and photography. During the winter months some of the activities enjoyed in the park include dog sledding, cross country skiing and ice fishing.
Some of the activities enjoyed in the Kluane National Park & Reserve explore along a network of trails. There are day hikes and there are overnight, long haul backpacking adventures.
Some of the recreation trails and backcountry routes in the park include St. Elias Lake, Mush Lake, Shorty Creek, Cottonwood, Rock Glacier Trail, King`s Throne, Kokanee, Auriol, Dazadeash River, Alsek, Sheep Creek, Bullion Plateau, Slims West, Soldier`s Summit, Mount Decoeli, Slims East, Donjek, Kimberley Meadows and Quill Creek.
Some of the activities enjoyed in the Kluane National Park & Reserve explore along a network of rivers and lakes. The Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers are two of the Yukon's most prominent rafting rivers. There are tour companies which provide adventures down each of the rivers. For canoeing and kayaking the turquoise - green water of Kathleen Lake is a popular destination.
Every explorer in the park should consider the weather when preparing for an adventure. Snow and negative temperatures can occur at any time in the alpine. The high alpine terrain reeks havoc on the weather systems. Always dress in layers and prepare for wet weather and cold temperatures.
Wildlife in the park is varied. Below the tree line there are animals like moose, grizzlies, cougars, wolves, lynx and black bears. Above the tree line there are Dall Sheep and mountain goats. In the lakes and rivers there are trout, arctic grayling, northern pike and kokanee salmon.
Birdwatching in the park includes over 180 different types of birds including trumpeter swans, peregrine falcons, gyrfalcons and bald eagles. When exploring in the park always respect wildlife from afar. It is Bear Country. It is not a game when exploring in the wilderness.
All overnight adventures in the Kluane National Park Reserve requires a park pass and registration. There is a Parks Canada Office in Haines Junction. There is also another Parks Canada Office near Sheep Mountain on the shores of Kluane Lake at the Tachal Dhal Visitor Centre. Kluane Lake is the Yukon's largest lake!