Mount Decoeli

Distance: 14 km
Elevation Gain: 1324 m (4344 ft)
Time: 9 hours
Difficulty: Difficult
Region: Kluane
Date Added: May 28, 2009
Last Update: May 16, 2010
Winter: alpine skiing ski touring snowshoeing 

Mount Decoeli is one of the highest peaks you can see from around Haines Junction and the highway. On a clear day you get a sweeping view of mountains, valleys, and icefields.

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Driving Directions

From Haines Junction, drive north along the Alaska Highway for about 20 kms. Just north of the Bear Creak Summit sign, there is a pull-out on the left.

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Trail Description

From the south end of the pull-out, there is an obvious trail. You will follow along this trail which is along-side the creek for about 5km. At about 5km, you will reach the rock glacier.

The rock glacier is a decent place to camp if you are staying overnight. It is at the base of the mountain and right before any steep inclines.

From the rock glacier, walk up the far scree ridge. Follow the ridge all the way to the summit. Return the same way.

Alternate Route

From the rock glacier, with Decoeli on your right, there is another ridge to your left which is a nice hike. Depending on the time of year and the amount of snow, you can either follow the gully left of the rock glacier all the way up to a saddle, or hike up a scree ridge.

Either way, walk for about 1km from the rock glacier camping area either on the rock glacier or in the gully beside it. Climb the ridge or the gully to the saddle. After climbing for another 1km, you will reach a flat area that is filled with ground squirrels. There is a nice viewpoint into the other cirque at the far end of this flat area.

If you want to continue, you can climb up the ridge towards the summit. Hike up the screen slope for a couple hundred meters. At the top, you can continue along the ridge or turn back down the same way you came up.


There isn't much snow in this wind-swept region, so winter doesn't provide too many challenges. The creek is frozen and packed snow can make the going fairly easy.

Note: Overnight trips in Kluane National Park and Reserve require registration and approved bear resistant food canisters. Please visit the Park's website for details.


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Comments / Trip Reports

Have you been to Mount Decoeli lately?

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July 26, 2018

Hiked this today with my dog. Beautiful day and amazing views, saw Mt. Logan from the top. Some bushwacking by the creek on the way up, on the way down I decided to avoid that and just cross the creek when needed, it was so hot that it didn't matter getting a bit wet. From the rock glacier and up I picked my own way, heading up the front face to the top, I don't really recommended that way lol, going around a little further would have been a lot easier. Saw a few Sheep up in the ridge and by the scree slope.
7 hours roundtrip.
July 8, 2017

Hiked July 5, 2017. Didn't see the trail head 20m south of the pull out, and just started out of the pullout with a 1km bushwack till the creek opens up. walked up creek bed until the glacier. Once on glacier walk as far up the glacier as possible and aproach the summit from the back. We aproached the summit from the front and ended up doing some climbing which was exiting and fun but not for your typical hiker. On the way down we flagged the trail with pink flagging tape once we hit tree level to help find the trail more easy.
Started at 1130 and summited at 1430 at back at car around 1700.

Ps. pullout is 20km NW from Haines Junction and you can either start at the quarry with a yellow gate 100m south of the pullout at the road going left at the quarry gate or the ATV trail 20m south of the pullout. they both meet up after a couple 100 meters anyways.
A Alt
July 7, 2017

Hiked Mt. Decoeli on July 2, 2017. The trail along the creek is incredibly overgrown with thick willows and alders, which was a battle to get through so we moved off to the left onto the plateau until we reached the rock glacier, which made walking much easier than scrambling over and around and under the overgrown bush. On the way back down we managed to walk along the sides of the creek which sure made it a lot easier walking! It took us about 4 hours to make our way up the creek/through the Garden of Flowers Meadow/Plateau, up the rock glacier, and finally up to the ridge. We didn't quite get to the summit (would probably have been another 45min to the top and we had a late start). The view from the ridge was great! We could see all the way to Slims and towards Haines Junction as well. The way back was a bit faster (just under 3 hours) thanks to the big patches of snow between the rock glacier and the ridge, which we used to slide down :-) Saw lots of thinhorn sheep. I was with someone who has hiked this numerous times, and she recommended walking as far back into the valley as possible and then heading up to the ridge, rather than the recommended route over the scree, which is not very stable. It definitely ended up being a good choice. We'll be back!
September 5, 2016

Went up Decoeli on Sunday Sept.4th. I went up the grassy slope after reaching the base of the rock glacier and crossed the next creek before working my way up snow slope between a rocky outcrop and the end of the S ridge of Decoelie. The S ridge slope was rock hard and I had to kick step hard to make it up to the top. Probably would've been better a little an hour or so later but there were signs of snowballing and rockfall from the previous warm afternoon. The Parks Canada route description offer yet another alternative and recommends going back into Summit creek after you cross the creek at the end of the grassy slope , then around the rock outcrop and up the next drainage over. I decided to take a look at that option on the way down, went to the pass and down the drainage behind the rock outcrop. I then traversed to rock glacier trying to stay level with the drainage across the valley towards unnamed peak. I thought the GPS route for that peak is a bit too agressive and hiking up the drainage proper was very smooth. You can then head for the SW slopes before the pass. Once on the first summit, I continued along the ridge pass 2 other sub-summits before making it to the last and highest summit (451462). From that last summit, I walked N along the ridge to recon a direct descent and went for the NW gully immediately down from the summit back towards Summit creek. You can actually see the creek from that drainage meeting up with Summit creek 100m or so down from the rock glacier all the way from the top. The top 1\3 of the gully was firm cold snow and made for supportive but the gully being in the shade, the steep scree was like cement after that. I tried heading across the gully for a sunny spot and the scree was indeed much better\softer there and all the way down back into Summit creek. Really fun day circumnavigating this valley with awesome views, including Logan, from the summit of Decoeli.
May 23, 2016

Hiked this mountain on May 22nd, 2016. There is not a sign for Bear Creek Summit so count your KMs. From the pullout, the trail is marked with an orange ribbon. From there, follow the trail in the forest for about 1 KM. Once you get to the creek, the trail disappears. Just follow the creek until you get to the rock glacier. We had to cross the creek several times, but our feet never got wet. At the rock glacier, Mount Decoeli is the mountain on your right (the big one). My friend hiked along the left ridge of the mountain (in blue). I just hiked straight up where the boulders are close to the summit (in red). There's no trail, so pick the route that you like and go for it! On the way down, we went around the other side of the mountain (in green). From there, we followed the valley and ended up back on the rock glacier where we had first went up. It ended up being a 18 KM loop.
Jan Triska
August 3, 2015

Photo appended, from July 19th.
Jan Triska
August 3, 2015

This is an outstanding day-long scramble, if you don't mind a slightly difficult access. The route up the Bear Creek was slow; either the boulder creek bed or the occasional bushwhack through creeping alders. Vintage Yukon, I say.
Once on the shoulder of the actual mountain, a straightforward ascent line (given the clear weather) and also a lot of work for the legs. The scree here is fairly unstable, it rolls while on the way up and on the way down. I found myself steering towards the fin-shaped rock ridges in the summit part, just to get some solid rock, with footholds and handholds, instead of the tedious scree. Fantastic summit vies.
7 hrs up and back.
August 19, 2013

If there was the trail along the creek, it has been washed out for pretty much all the way up to the rock glacier. We had to follow the creek bed and cross the creek several times.