Distance: 15km (loop)
Hours: 4-5 (return)
Elevation: 367 m/1204 ft
The Auriol Trail in Kluane National Park is a great day hike offering spectacular views of the Auriol mountain range. It’s also the start of a longer hike that leads right in to the mountains. At the midpoint to the day hike—around 7.5km in—you will come to a campground. This camp site is the resting spot for those wishing to continue further into the mountains the next morning. For those on the day hike, it’s a great place to rest and eat your lunch before heading back on the second half of the loop trail.
If you want to start your hiking adventures with a warm up, or you just want an easier yet rewarding hike, the Auriol Trail is just the hike you might be looking for. With a low elevation gain, and some spectacular views at the end, it’s one hike worth doing—especially in the autumn season.
From the parking lot, head straight into the trees where you’ll hike along a well marked path. After a short hike, you’ll come across a beautiful lake on your left. Its stillness offers perfect reflections of the surrounding trees.
At about the 1km point you will come across the first junction point. You can go either way and it will lead you back to the main hiking trail a short while later.
Continue walking. At the 2km point, you will reach the second junction point. This is where the loop trail starts. Take your pick, but heading left is recommended as it will result in a more gradual hike uphill.
Continue walking along the well marked path and you’ll be treated to glimpses of the Auriol mountain ranges ahead.
Afterwards, it’s hiking along the pathway until you get to some openings along the tree lines and high bushes. The glimpse of the mountainsides is so refreshing—the sheer expanse of this view makes the hike worthwhile.
The foliage seen throughout the hike is also quite breathtaking with large expanses of trees, autumn foliage, and the like surrounding you from all angles.
The campsite is where you are ultimately heading towards, if you’re doing the shorter day hike. For those that want to continue up the mountain, you will stay at this campsite for an early morning start up the mountain.Once you get to the campsite, there will be an outhouse and several spots for tents. We found an opening and ate our lunch here.
The trail continues through the campsite and continues on to the second half of the loop, back to the parking lot. If, however, you want an unobstructed view of the Auriol Mountain range, I highly recommend the detour—eventually there will be a point where it looks like you are heading away from the mountain. At this point, look for a pathway on your left that seems to go back towards the mountainside.
This extra 300m of hike, and the short climb up the hillside will give you a wide unobstructed view of the beautiful Auriol mountainside, making this detour well worth the little effort needed to get here.
Go back to the main trail the same way you came up this small hill. Once on the main trail, continue on that trail to head back to the parking lot. The route on the way back will take you through steep slopes that are much easier going down than it is going up.
You’ll come across another lookout at one point, which gives you a great view of the Haines Junction village and the mountain ranges nearby it.
A closer look at Haines Junction and the quarter dome behind it.
The remainder of the hike is straightforward down the slope. The Auriol Trail is a relatively easy hike that offers spectacular views, so it’s no wonder it is a very popular hike.
Have you done this trail? Let me know in the comments below what your experience was.