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Sheep Creek (Thechàl Dhâl) Ridge/Mountain Hiking Trail – Kluane National Park, Yukon

Sheep Creek, Ridge, Summit, Thachal Dhal, Yukon Hike

The Sheep Creek Ridge/Mountain trail is a staple Kluane National Park hike which offers gorgeous panoramic views of Kluane Lake, Slims River Valley and 360° views of the countless glaciers which blanket the surrounding mountain peaks. The area is budding with wildlife namely, Grizzly Bears and as the name alludes, plenty of Dall Sheep.

 

Check out our Sheep Ridge hiking video HERE

 

Remember the Backcountry Basics

 

The Breakdown

Distance (Round Trip)20km
Elevation Gain 1,514m
Time (Round Trip)6-8 hours
Dogs On Leas (Dogs can put undue stress on Dall Sheep)
Camping No
Season June-Sep
Difficulty Difficult
Remoteness Moderate Traffic
Highest Point1950m

Driving Directions

Drive North on the Alaska Highway from Haines Junction for close to 70km. You will cross a bridge and see the Thachal Dhal (Sheep Mountain) Visitor Center to your left. Immediately after the visitor center, take a left onto Sheep Creek Road. Continue on the gravel road for 2.5km until you reach the trailhead. The dirt road is very easy to drive and there is no need for 4wd, a low clearance vehicle will be just fine.

The Route

The trail begins on the ‘Sheep Creek Trail’ a decommissioned mining road. At the 3km mark you will reach a fork, take the Sheep Creek Trail veering to the right. From here the trail gains steady elevation peering over the slims river valley and highlighting some mountain views behind. The Sheep Creek portion of the trail continues for approx. 7.5km gaining 520m of elevation. As the Sheep Creek trail concludes you will see a viewpoint to your left that offers a fantastic view of the valley and is a superb wildlife viewing area. Many hikers choose only to conquer the first portion in hopes of a sheep or bear sighting along the way.

Sheep Creek, Ridge, Summit, Thachal Dhal, Yukon Hike
End of Sheep Creek Trail – Slims Valley Viewpoint

Sheep Creek, Ridge, Summit, Thachal Dhal, Yukon Hike

The Ridge/Mountain portion of the trail begins the opposite direction of the viewpoint. The trail is clear to follow with some overgrown bushes that will tickle your legs until you reach the alpine. The majority of the elevation will be completed in the 3km to the first viewpoint. You will follow steep switchbacks on the grassy hillside and will have amazing views of the Valley and huge peaks to your right. At the 10km mark you will reach the first viewpoint. On a clear day you will have a breathtaking view of Kluane Lake and this is the perfect spot to count the many glaciers that make Kluane National Park so special.

Sheep Creek, Ridge, Summit, Thachal Dhal, Yukon Hike

The proper Sheep Mountain ridge and summit continues to the left. You will initially descend slightly into the valley and then can follow the ridge along with the gorgeous mountains to your left and the picturesque lake to your right. It was just past the first viewpoint that we began to encounter lots of Dall Sheep. They were everywhere! We had to divert from the ridgeline quite a bit in an effort to keep distance and not bother these beautiful horned sheep. The highlight of the hike for me was watching the adolescent sheep jump along the cliffs below me with a beautiful lake backdrop.

Sheep Creek, Ridge, Summit, Thachal Dhal, Yukon Hike
The ridge begins
Sheep Creek, Ridge, Summit, Thachal Dhal, Yukon Hike
Keeping our distance from the sheep

Sheep Creek, Ridge, Summit, Thachal Dhal, Yukon Hike

On the ridge the wind was very intense. We arrived at the last summit, frankly, I’m not to sure what it was named. Only a short time was spent up there taking a few pictures and then we ran our way back to the first viewpoint for lunch because it was significantly less windy. On the way back ensure you hike the same way as you came because some of the sheep trails can make things a tad confusing.

Sheep Creek, Ridge, Summit, Thachal Dhal, Yukon Hike
Look at the hundreds of sheep on the hillside

Thechàl Dhâl ridge was a fantastic adventure and Sheep Creek genuinely lived up to its name!

 

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments?

Happy Hiking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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