Kluane National Park in Canada’s Yukon Territory is a spectacular setting for outdoor adventures.
In the Yukon’s southwest corner, less than two hour’s drive from the capital city of Whitehorse, this vast national park is home to Canada’s highest mountain. Mount Logan, at 5,959 meters (19,550 feet) tall, is second in North America only to Alaska’s Denali. Glaciers top many of the park’s peaks, and even if you’re not a hard-core mountaineer, you can go hiking around Kluane’s lakes and forests.
And if you stay at Dalton Trail Lodge, as I did during a recent trip to the Yukon, you can also go fishing. Here’s the scoop:
Just outside Kluane National Park, Dalton Trail Lodge is Yukon’s only road-accessible fishing lodge; most fishing destinations in this part of Canada or Alaska are fly-in or water-access only.
Down the path from Dezadeash Lake, with a string of mountains behind, the wood-frame lodge was built in the 1960s. Hardy and Trix Ruf and their family, who are originally from Switzerland, have run the property for the past 30 years.
Facilities and Services
The main lodge building, which houses 10 guest rooms, has a comfortable lounge where guests can hang out, a bar, and the dining room where guests take their meals. Guests can relax on the outdoor decks as well.
In the lounge, there’s a computer and printer for guest use, as well as a selection of books to borrow.
The lodge does have wi-fi, which is generally adequate for a quick check of your email or glance at the news headlines. Don’t expect blazingly fast speeds or consistent availability; you’re in a fairly remote region.
Dinner is served nightly at 7pm. It’s a fixed menu with a first-course, main, and dessert, and guests can help themselves to an amply stocked salad bar and freshly baked bread. During our stay, we tried a creamy black garlic soup and a buttery beef tenderloin. Dessert was ice cream with chocolate sauce.
In the morning, staff set up a breakfast buffet with meats, cheeses, fruits, breads, juices, and hot drinks, and will cook eggs and bacon or sausage to order. You won’t go hungry here.
From the buffet, you can pack lunch to go, choosing from sandwich fixings, fresh vegetables and fruits, and sweets. Staff provide lunch coolers with cold water and thermoses of coffee or tea. If you’re going fishing, you can take the coolers with you in the boats.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The guest rooms in the main lodge at Dalton Trail are old-fashioned but comfortable, with pine walls and windows that you can open for fresh air. They’ve been updated where it counts, with outlets and USB ports by the bed and modern fixtures in the en suite baths.
You can also stay in four cabins around the property, which have a total of 10 additional guest rooms.
Things to Do Nearby
A highlight of my time in the Kluane area was a flight-seeing tour above the park’s mountain peaks. Icefield Discovery, one of several local flight tour operators, can take you over many of the peaks in the St. Elias range with views across the glaciers. One of the glaciers we saw was so long, it looked like a road that a snow plow had cleared. Definitely a bucket list adventure!
While you can find of plenty of outdoor experiences throughout Kluane National Park, most guests at Dalton Trail Lodge are here to go fishing. Among the fish that you can catch in the region are lake trout, rainbow trout, pike, and several types of salmon.
With two colleagues, I had a chance to try fishing at the park’s Kathleen Lake, about 15 minutes’ drive from the lodge. It’s a beautiful spot where the mountains seem to rise directly out of the lake.
We were fishing for lake trout, and with plenty of assistance from our guide, Stacey, we managed to catch two good-sized ones (which we released after posing for the requisite photos).
Dalton Trail Lodge is south of Haines Junction, Yukon, a two-hour drive from Whitehorse. Both Air North — the Yukon’s airline, which gives passengers freshly baked cookies on board! — and Air Canada have regular flights to Whitehorse from Vancouver and other Canadian cities. I was surprised to learn that Vancouver-to-Whitehorse is less than 2.5 hours — closer than Los Angeles.
Standard rates at Dalton Trail Lodge including accommodation and meals are CAD$230 per person per night double occupancy and CAD$260 single occupancy. The lodge offers a variety of multi-day adventure packages as well. For example, a four-night fishing package, including transfers from Whitehorse to the lodge, all meals and accommodation, boat, motor and gas, and one day with a guide, is CAD$2,295. See their website or phone for more options. You can also check deals on Trip Advisor.
Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Trout photo courtesy of The Travelling Mom. Other photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Travel Yukon arranged my stay at Dalton Trail Lodge for review purposes.