I think of the Grizzly Lake hike in Tombstone Territorial Park to be a bit of a rite of passage in the Yukon hiking community. This hike is unreal, and before I had done it, I was dying to see Mount Monolith in person. I was able to do this hike as a day hike on Canada Day long weekend, 2017 , and am itching to do it again as a multi-day backpacking trip! Continue reading to learn more about this amazing hike and how you can do it too!
Getting to Grizzly Lake is a bit of a trek from Whitehorse, as it’s on the Dempster Highway in Tombstone Territorial Park. You just head north from Whitehorse on the Klondike Highway for about 500km until you see the turn off for the Dempster Highway. Then you will drive for about 50km into the park and you’ll see a pull off on the left near Grizzly Creek. That is where you park your car and start the hike.
As this is a popular multi-day backpacking route in a Territorial Park, if you want to tent overnight, you need to get a permit online beforehand. Make sure you do this well in advance because the spots can fill up fast, and there’s no wifi or cell service anywhere in the park.
If you are planning on just doing a day hike, you don’t need to pick up a permit.
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This is an amazing hike and I’d say I got to experience the most gorgeous views I’ve ever witnessed while doing this hike. It is 13km one way, and the whole 26km with an hour long lunch break took us about 8.5 hours round-trip. I would budget at least 4.5 hours one way for this hike just to be safe, and if you’re planning on staying the night, you will probably take longer as your packs will be heavier.
The first ~5km is a popular hike that people do to hit a lookout looking over to Mount Monolith in the distance. This is definitely the hardest part of the hike as you’re gaining the majority of the altitude during this period. The next 8km is mainly walking along ridges.
There’s a nice visible trail the entire route, and make sure to keep your eyes out for marmots along the way!
As you get closer and closer to Mount Monolith you will be feeling pretty excited and don’t worry if it starts to rain when you get to the campground. They have covered tables where you can eat and rest while admiring the amazing views.
What I Learned:
This if by far the longest hike I’ve ever done and was one of my biggest day hikes ever. Something I learned on this hike was that sometimes, the weather can be your best friend.
We had cloudy skies for the day we did this hike, and I wasn’t too stoked on hiking 26km in the pouring rain. Luckily enough, we managed to walk the entire way in without rain, and as we reached the covered areas at the campground, it started to pour. This was a blessing in disguise as it forced us to sit and rest for the hour long rain storm.
The rain then cleared and we started walking back. Once again, not a drop of rain the entire 13km back until we reached our car and (you guessed it) it started pouring again!
So first thing I learned was that Yukon weather is crazy and to always bring your rain gear, but secondly, that sometimes nature has your back and it wants you to succeed just as much as you do!