Cana­dian Trails

Tomb­stones Ter­ri­to­rial Park, Yukon

Canadian Running - - CONTENTS - Story and pho­tos by Matt Hosford

Daw­son City, Yukon, ex­ploded into the world in the late 1890s when gold was dis­cov­ered in the trib­u­taries of the Klondike. The town was erected overnight to sup­port the thou­sands of gold-hun­gry stam­ped­ers com­ing to strike it rich. Those days may be long gone, but to­day tourists still f lock to Daw­son to re-live the Gold Rush and cel­e­brate the pi­o­neer spirit. For those seek­ing an out­door ad­ven­ture there is the Tomb­stones Ter­ri­to­rial Park – re­garded as the “Patag­o­nia of the North.” The Tomb­stones is more than 2,000 square kilo­me­tres of iso­lated wilder­ness, rang­ing from the jagged Ogilvie Moun­tains to the Black­stone Plateau. While the park re­mains fairly re­mote, there are a num­ber of beau­ti­ful trails, none of which is more spec­tac­u­lar than the Griz­zly Lake Trail.

As with most trails in the Yukon, Griz­zly Lake Trail is more rugged and tech­ni­cal than your aver­age run. This out-and-back is ar­guably the most scenic trail in the Yukon and of­fers a healthy mix of sin­gle-track climb­ing and rolling hills. The trail be­gins with a brief jaunt through bo­real for­est , which breaks into alpine brush as you zig-zag up to Griz­zly Ridge. From the ridge, you’re greeted with an im­pres­sive vista of Mt. Mono­lith and Griz­zly Lake at the end of the val­ley. The panoramic views con­tinue to get bet­ter as you slog up the ridge to the high­est point of the trail. Once at the sum­mit, the un­du­lat­ing trail skips along, duck­ing into alpine mead­ows and travers­ing across rock scree to a cho­rus of whistling mar­mots and pikas.

The trail ends at Griz­zly Lake and the small back­coun­try camp­ground. If weather per­mits, the lake is a great place to take a dip and soak in the views. The camp­ground of­fers out­houses and two small canvas shel­ters.

For those ea­ger to dive deeper into the back­coun­try, there are two ad­di­tional trails to ex­plore. One climbs up to Twin Lakes, and the other climbs over Glis­sade Pass and snakes down to Di­vide and Talus Lakes.

The re­turn route is as spec­tac­u­lar as the way in. Just make sure not to get too dis­tracted by the views and keep your eyes on the trail. The el­e­va­tion gain is de­ceiv­ingly sim­i­lar as the way in, but once you’ve reached the ridge sum­mit, you’ll rip down to the for­est and park­ing lot. Fin­ish the day by re­lax­ing at the Tomb­stones Camp­ground or head back to Daw­son to try the in­fa­mous sour­toe cock­tail.

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