Distance: 8 km
Elevation Gain: 1000 m (3281 ft)
Time: 4.5 hours
Date Added: March 9, 2012
Last Update: March 9, 2012
Nares Mountain is a beautiful ridge hike that can be enjoyed almost all year round! The slopes are often bare as they are south facing and wind scoured, and of course the proximity to the Carcross desert means much less precipitation. The views are stunning in all directions, and include Montana and Caribou mountains, and Tagish, Bennett and Nares lakes. Note this area is often home to Dall sheep so avoid disturbing them on the ridge (giving them a wide berth or taking an alternate route). Please avoid this area between April 1-June 16 due to the lambing season.
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Just north of Carcross on the South Klondike Highway, take the Tagish Road northeast for 2 km until you see a green sign for Choutla Subdivision on your right. Take this road through the subdivision, staying right at the fork. After 1 km you will reach a narrower road leading off to the right called Blattas Point Rd (there is a big yellow dead end sign). Follow this road for 2 km to the very end where it ends at a private driveway. Park in a small parking area just passed the driveway (out of the way).
Note that this route follows up the left ridge to the summit, and while not the true summit of Nares Mountain (which lies due north), this route is more accessible and the views are arguably more dramatic from this vantage above the lakes.
From the parking area, head up the gentle open slope to the northeast, making your way to the base of the mountain in front of you. There are some worn trails you can follow. Note you're aiming for the left ridge, and you may see a path that leads to the right ridge, but don't follow that path unless you are planning on doing a larger loop route (not described here). Stay on the left side of the main gully that comes down from the mountain and towards the lake, passing through a willow and poplar stand at the base of the mountain. The open ridge stretches out in front of you and the climbing begins. The bonus is the views get better and better as you hike higher and higher up.
Once on the ridge, the route is straightforward as you essentially follow it to the summit. Some side hilling may be required along the south flanks/right side of the ridge in order to avoid any treed areas or unnecessary ups and downs. Once at the top there is a plateau that stretches off in several directions each offering a different perspective. From the main high point there are great 360 degree views. Towards the southwest of the summit, there is a little rocky point that looks down to Nares Lake and across to Montana Mountain. There's also another point to check out to the southeast with great views of Tagish Lake, Bove Island, and Lime Mountain (with it's distinctive light-grey dolostone and limestone rock face).
Sheep and deer can be seen in the area and the area is also known for its Dusky Grouse population. Once you've finished exploring, enjoy the view on the way down by returning on the same route you came up.
The Blattas Point Rd is often plowed in the winter, but keep in mind if it's not you will have to walk the 2 kms to the trailhead. Follow the same route as the summer route described above. As mentioned earlier, much of the ridge is bare for the most part through the winter; however it may depend on the time you choose to go and how the weather has been (i.e. new snow, strong south winds and sun). The deepest snow you would likely encounter is at the base of the mountain in the poplar and willow stand. Snowshoes shouldn't be necessary; however, at least gaters would be useful in keeping any snow out of your boots. The summit itself is fairly windswept with hard packed snow and again snowshoes should not be necessary.