Located in the Yukon district of Canada, Kluane National Park and Reserve is a geographical palace of mountains and ice. Hiking and rafting are some of the favorite tourist activities at this park. The Southern Tutchone Indians have resided in the park for thousands of years, and together with Parks Canada, they are the caretakers of this beautiful park.
Kluane National Park and Reserve is a land of extremes and a perfect place for those who want to test themselves outdoors. The park contains the highest peak in Canada, Mount Logan, which is part of the Saint Elias Mountains. It also has largest ice-fields outside of the North and South Poles, but at lower elevations the warmer valleys are filled with a diversity of plants and animals. Two lakes, Kathleen Lake and Mush Lake, permit motorized boats as well as canoeing.
A variety of hiking and camping experiences, for both beginners and experts, are available at Kluane National Park and Reserve. Novice hikers might opt for a guided tour, while expert hikers can explore the ice-fields and stay overnight. Some trails and routes require solid hiking skills and a strong sense of direction.
Whatever the level of outdoors expertise, planning for the unexpected is advised. Kluane National Park is not a place for the faint of heart. Weather changes, steep terrain, swollen streams and grizzly bears make caution a necessity for safety. Hikers are warned to make a lot of noise so that any nearby bears will have advanced notice of human presence and will not be surprised or feel cornered.
Kluane National Park has the largest population of grizzly bears in Canada. Other park wildlife includes golden and bald eagles, sheep, mountain goats and caribou. The lakes and streams are filled with fish, including trout, and fishing is allowed with a permit.
The Southern Tutchone, the indigenous people of Kluane National Park and Reserve, developed ways of surviving the extremes of this area over many thousands of years. Their nomadic lifestyle enabled them to take advantage of seasonal food opportunities. In 1943 the Southern Tutchone were denied access to fishing and hunting in the Kluane Game Sanctuary, which was established that year. This denial of access was reversed when the Kluane National Park and Reserve was created, and the Southern Tutchone have now reclaimed their land. These people now share management of the park, and their knowledge of the land is key to helping preserve its natural resources.