Kluane Overview

Kluane National Park and Reserve, located in the southwest corner of Yukon, Canada, is a spectacular wilderness of immense glaciers, towering peaks, and vibrant ecosystems. Encompassing an area of approximately 22,013 square kilometers (about 8,499 square miles), Kluane is part of the largest international UNESCO World Heritage Site, which it shares with Wrangell-St. Elias, Glacier Bay, and Tatshenshini-Alsek parks across the Canadian and Alaskan border. This park is home to Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan, which rises majestically to 5,959 meters (19,551 feet), offering a stunning backdrop to the diverse landscapes within its bounds.

Kluane National Park is renowned for its extensive ice fields and glaciers, which cover about 82% of its landscape, making it a critical study area for glaciology. Beyond its icy realms, the park features vast boreal forests, alpine tundra, and a rich array of wildlife, including grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose, and wolves, which roam freely in this vast wilderness. The park’s lakes and rivers, teeming with salmon and trout, add to the biodiversity that thrives in this challenging environment.

For adventurers and nature lovers, Kluane offers unparalleled opportunities for hiking, mountaineering, rafting, and fishing amidst its breathtaking scenery. The park’s trails range from accessible day hikes to challenging backcountry expeditions, catering to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts. The park is also a significant cultural site, reflecting the heritage and traditional lands of the Southern Tutchone people, who have inhabited this region for thousands of years.

Kluane National Park and Reserve is not just a sanctuary for wildlife and natural beauty; it is a testament to the awe-inspiring power of the natural world, offering a profound wilderness experience that leaves a lasting impression on all who visit.

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Kluane National Park Highlights


Kluane National Park, a vast and wild expanse in Canada’s Yukon Territory, is a stronghold for an impressive array of predator species, each playing a pivotal role in the park’s diverse ecosystems and offering visitors a glimpse into the raw and untamed beauty of the North.

Grizzly Bear Dominant predators of the park, Grizzly Bears are revered for their strength and intelligence, often seen roaming the vast wilderness in search of food.

Wolf Elusive and social, Wolves move through Kluane’s landscapes in packs, their haunting howls echoing across valleys, a testament to their role as apex predators.

Lynx The secretive Lynx, with its distinctive tufted ears and large paws, thrives in the park’s forests, primarily hunting snowshoe hares.

Wolverine Fierce and solitary, Wolverines are known for their remarkable strength and versatility, able to take down prey much larger than themselves in Kluane’s rugged terrain.

Bald Eagle Majestic Bald Eagles soar above the park, their sharp eyes scanning for fish in Kluane’s rivers and lakes, an iconic symbol of power.

Golden Eagle With a keen eye and powerful flight, Golden Eagles patrol Kluane’s skies, hunting for small mammals and birds across the park’s expansive territories.

Kluane National Park’s predator species, from the powerful Grizzly Bear to the majestic Golden Eagle, highlight the complexity and interdependence of life within this spectacular northern wilderness, drawing visitors into a world where nature’s raw beauty reigns supreme.


Kluane National Park, celebrated for its breathtaking glaciers and towering peaks, also shelters a diverse array of non-predatory species, each contributing to the rich tapestry of life in this pristine Yukon wilderness, offering visitors an intimate connection with nature’s resilience and diversity.

Dall Sheep Adapted to the rugged mountain terrain, Dall Sheep are often spotted on cliff sides, their white coats and majestic horns a symbol of the park’s wilderness.

Snowshoe Hare Vital to Kluane’s food web, Snowshoe Hares are known for their large hind feet and seasonal white fur, blending seamlessly into the snowy landscape.

Arctic Ground Squirrel The Arctic Ground Squirrel, a key prey species, enlivens Kluane’s meadows with its burrows and is crucial for aerating soil and dispersing seeds.

Pika The tiny, vocal Pika, adept at surviving in cold climates, gathers vegetation in rocky areas, a charming presence amid the park’s alpine scenery.

Porcupine With quills as a defense mechanism, Porcupines are a common sight, ambling through forests and feeding on bark, leaves, and green plants.

Beaver Engineers of the aquatic world, Beavers shape Kluane’s waterways, creating habitats that support a myriad of other species with their impressive dams.

Trumpeter Swan Elegant Trumpeter Swans grace the park’s lakes and rivers, their presence indicative of Kluane’s clean waters and healthy aquatic ecosystems.

Mountain Goat Sure-footed Mountain Goats navigate Kluane’s steepest cliffs with ease, their agility and white coats making them emblematic of the park’s alpine environments.

American Dipper The American Dipper, unique for its underwater foraging, dips into Kluane’s cold streams, a testament to the park’s pristine water quality.

Common Redpoll A small finch, the Common Redpoll braves Kluane’s harsh winters, feeding on seeds and showcasing the resilience required to survive in the far north.

Kluane National Park’s array of non-predatory species, from the nimble Dall Sheep to the industrious Beaver, underscores the ecological richness and complexity of this northern paradise, inviting visitors to explore and appreciate the interconnectedness of all life forms within its borders.

Engaging kluane National Park

Experience the stunning landscapes of Kluane National Park on its extensive network of hiking trails. From leisurely strolls to challenging treks, the park offers options for hikers of all abilities.

Explore ancient forests, alpine meadows, and rugged mountain terrain as you immerse yourself in the park’s pristine wilderness. Highlights include the King’s Throne Trail, which offers panoramic views of Kathleen Lake and the surrounding mountains, and the Slims River West Trail, which follows the path of a glacial river through a dramatic canyon.

Hiking in Kluane provides opportunities to connect with nature and discover the park’s diverse ecosystems.

Challenge yourself to summit some of Canada’s highest peaks in Kluane National Park. With towering mountains, vast icefields, and challenging terrain, the park offers unparalleled opportunities for mountaineers of all skill levels.

Climb iconic peaks such as Mount Logan, the highest mountain in Canada, or Mount Steele, the fifth highest. Join a guided expedition or venture out on your own to test your skills and experience the thrill of reaching the summit.

Mountaineering in Kluane provides a true wilderness experience, with breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment unlike any other.

Take to the skies on a flightseeing tour of Kluane National Park and experience its breathtaking landscapes from a unique perspective. Soar over towering mountains, vast icefields, and winding rivers as you enjoy bird’s-eye views of the park’s pristine wilderness.

Keep an eye out for wildlife such as grizzly bears, moose, and mountain goats as you fly over remote valleys and alpine meadows.

Flightseeing tours offer a thrilling and unforgettable way to experience the beauty of Kluane National Park and gain a deeper appreciation for its vastness and grandeur.

Kluane National Park Trails

King's Throne Trail

Rating: Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 9.9 miles (16 km) round trip with about 1,500 feet (457 meters) elevation gain to the saddle (additional gain to the peak)

Description: This challenging hike offers spectacular views of Kathleen Lake and the surrounding mountains. The trail climbs steeply to a natural amphitheater known as the “King’s Throne.”

Those who continue to the peak are rewarded with panoramic views. It’s a demanding hike, recommended for experienced hikers.

Auriol Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 9.3 miles (15 km) loop with about 1,640 feet (500 meters) elevation gain

Description: The Auriol Trail, a moderate loop, offers diverse landscapes, including aspen forests, subalpine meadows, and high ridges with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

It’s an excellent introduction to the park’s natural beauty, with opportunities to see wildlife such as moose and bears.

Cottonwood Trail

Rating: Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 53 miles (85 km) round trip with significant elevation gain across multiple passes

Description: This multi-day backcountry route traverses through some of Kluane’s most remote and scenic areas, including lush valleys, alpine passes, and along pristine lakes.

Hikers need to be fully self-sufficient and prepared for challenging conditions. It offers an unparalleled wilderness experience for the adventurous.

Sheep Creek Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 6.2 miles (10 km) round trip with about 1,300 feet (396 meters) elevation gain

Description: This trail offers a gradual ascent through a beautiful valley, providing opportunities to observe the park’s famous Dall sheep in their natural habitat.

The trail ends at an alpine ridge with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers. It’s a great option for wildlife enthusiasts.

Slim's River West Trail

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 13.7 miles (22 km) one way with minimal elevation gain until the observation mountain

Description: This trail provides a unique experience walking along the Slim’s River Valley with views of the vast Kaskawulsh Glacier.

The flat terrain changes as hikers approach Observation Mountain, where a steep climb offers dramatic views of the glacier’s terminus. It’s a spectacular hike showcasing the park’s glacial landscapes.


1. What is Kluane National Park known for?

Kluane National Park and Reserve, located in southwestern Yukon, Canada, is known for its vast wilderness, towering mountains, and immense glaciers.

The park is home to some of Canada’s highest peaks, including Mount Logan, the highest mountain in the country. Visitors come to Kluane to explore its rugged terrain, which includes vast icefields, pristine lakes, and alpine tundra.

The park is also renowned for its diverse wildlife, including grizzly bears, Dall sheep, and mountain goats, as well as its rich cultural history, with evidence of human habitation dating back thousands of years.

Additionally, Kluane offers opportunities for hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, and wildlife viewing, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers.

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  • National Geographic, National Parks of North America, Canada-United States-Mexico, National Geographic Society, 1995.
  • The Canadian Encyclopedia, Kluane National Park and Reserve,, retrieved April 2024.
  • UNESCO, Kluane / Wrangell-St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Yukon, Kluane National Park and Reserve,, retrieved April 2024.