There’s something about alpine lakes that are just the best. Am I right, or am I right? I don’t know if it’s just how gorgeous they are, all nestled in amongst the mountains, or just the fact that I’ve never really been to many of them, but when I found out about the Upper Dewey Lake hike in Skagway, Alaska, I knew I needed to see it for myself.
This hike is ridiculously easy to find. It’s so easy to find, we couldn’t believe we found it and almost started looking somewhere else for the trail head! Once you get to Skagway, which is about a 1.5 hour drive from Whitehorse, just drive over to the parking lot next to the cliff and train tracks on the far side of town. There’s a little walkway along the tracks that cross and go towards the cliff, and a sign for the Upper and Lower Dewey hikes. All you do is follow the signs and you’re good to go!
Make sure to bring your passport if you’re wanting to do this hike. Skagway is in Alaska and you do need to go through customs in order to get through.
Also, make sure you bring your camera because this hike is GORGEOUS, along with the entire drive over to Skagway (you might even see some bears along the road).
Alright, so I was expecting a pretty chill hike, and that is not what I got for this one. Only 4km one way? Easy peasy. So off we went up, and up, and up…. Can we really go up anymore? Shouldn’t we be near the top yet? WE’RE ONLY HALF WAY????
Yeah, that was pretty much me for the entire hike. This hike starts out going uphill, there’s no warm up period, there’s no 1km of chill time to get your muscles ready. Nope. Just straight up… For 4km. Imagine going up stairs for 4km. That’s pretty much what this hike is.
Now, I was not prepared for this at all mentally, so I had a tough go. There may have been some tears around the half way mark. But man, were the views at the top worth it! Make sure to walk around the side of the lake and sit to enjoy the view of the surrounding mountains. Also, bring some snacks and extra clothes. It gets cold at the top (or you can use them as a pillow/blanket like me and take a snooze).
If you’re feeling a little more lively than I was at the end of the hike, you can always keep going towards Devil’s Punchbowl which is another gorgeous alpine lake about 2km farther in.
Also, as many people do this as an overnight hike, there are two cabins at the top with wood stoves and bunks inside. One is free for anyone to use, while the other one can be rented. This could be an option if you don’t want to lug your tent all the way up there!
What I Learned:
So this hike really showed me how far I can push myself. Because man, I pushed myself to the limit on this one. Like seriously, I was worrying I was going to pass out or cramp up on the side of the mountain. And then I was stressed because my travel insurance had expired and we were in Alaska. So then I was worried I was going to have to spend thousands of dollars to get medevaced down to the hospital.
But anyways, as you can see, I was worried. And I was tired. And I cried a little. But in the end, I made it up and was rewarded with an absolutely gorgeous view.
And now I know that even though I felt like I couldn’t, I made it to the top, and next time I feel that way, hopefully I’ll be able to push myself even further.
Want to read about more of my hiking adventures? Click here.
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