Distance: 8 km
Elevation Gain: 318 m (1043 ft)
Time: 3.5 hours
Date Added: August 30, 2011
Last Update: August 30, 2011
Take the train to a cabin below a glacier! The Laughton Glacier is a short hike that can be done in one day, or as an overnight trip with a cabin to stay in. It is a well-developed trail leading to a view of the Laughton Glacier, spilling down between rocky peaks.
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Although you could hike or ski to this trail, most people take the train. Book your train tickets with the White Pass & Yukon Route
(roughly $70 USD round trip). If you want to stay in the cabin, make sure to reserve your dates
ahead of time. It is $45 USD per night for the entire cabin.
The trailhead is about 14 miles along the railway tracks from Skagway. When you get off the train, there is a signpost at the trailhead just before the trestle train bridge.
The trail is easy to follow and is very well developed compared to Yukon trails. A packed gravel trail, stone steps, wooden bridges over even the tiniest creek, multiple outhouses, benches, a fire pit, split wood, and a cozy cabin. Luxury! All you're missing is a bottle of wine (or two).
The trail starts gradually upwards through the coastal forest and follows along the Skagway River. It is a pleasant walk under the canopy of the rain forest. After 2.3 kms (roughly 45 minutes), you will reach a sign indicating left for the cabin or right for the trail to the glacier. If you are staying at the cabin, it is only a few meters up the trail on the left. If you are not staying at the cabin, head right to minimize your impact on people who are staying at the cabin.
From the cabin (or from the fork in the trail with the sign if you are not going to the cabin), the trail heads towards Laughton Creek and follows it up towards the glacier (another 1.7 km). The route becomes rockier and the footing becomes uneven. When you reach the glacier, you can either cross over to the left side or follow the moraine along the right. Just note that the far right slope is unstable and can release large boulders now and then. If you are going to cross to the left, you can try to find a rock bridge to hop across near where the ice becomes visible on the glacier. Continue walking up the moraines or on the ice until you get to a high point and can see all of the glacier. The impressive glacier spills down around the rocky peaks like fingers grasping the mountain ridge. To return, retrace your steps back.
Notes on the Cabin: The cabin sleeps 6 comfortably - there are 2 double bunks on the bottom and 2 single bunks on the top. The bunks are separated by a table. There is shelving and cupboards along one wall and a kerosene stove near the door. If you want to use the stove, you have to bring your own kerosene, probably around 4 litres for every night you stay there. There is an awning and a small porch in the front of the cabin with a bench, as well as a fire pit. There is an outhouse near the cabin and places to pitch a tent.
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