Fish Lake hike is a loop trail, located just 20 kms from the Whitehorse city center. Due to its close proximity to the town, it is usually a busy hike (as per the Yukon standard 😉) on any day of the year, particularly in the Fall season.
|Elevation Gain||721 m|
Hiking in the Fall season
Many prefer to do this hike after work as it is a short one and can be completed before dark, in summer months. There is also an option to do the smaller (7 km) out & back hike instead of the complete loop. Even on the shorter hike, you would reach the high point of the trail, from where there are expansive views of the Fish Lake and the Bonneville Lakes.
The trail is generally muddy, especially after rainy days. It begins right from the parking lot and starts to gain elevation gradually. It is a well paved trail among the trees.
After hiking for about an hour, you will reach the treeline. From here, you would be able to see the Fish Lake. But, there are good views of the entire Fish Lake as well as the Bonneville Lakes from further up. Remaining section is not too long; it gains elevation quickly to the small summit.
Once at the summit, you can explore the ridge in all directions with different panoramic views.
Amazing views means that it is time to pose for the lens!
Those who do not prefer to complete the entire loop, can start climbing down on the same path you came up. For those who wish to do the entire loop, there is a trail to the west, which goes down to the Bonneville Lakes. It will take you very close to the Bonneville Lakes. You can also camp here for the night, near the north shore of the Bonneville Lake.
Overall, it is a relatively easy hike compared to other hikes in this region. I would recommend this hike to any beginner or anyone on a short trip to Whitehorse. You would get to see a part of the Yukon wilderness not far from the city.
Hiking in the Winter Season
The Fish Lake Hike is an excellent hike to do it in the winter as well. Based on the amount of snow on the ground, you could either snowshoe or do a regular hike.
Never underestimate the Yukon weather – come well prepared and layered from head to toe. A hot beverage goes a long way in this weather.
The good part about hiking in the winter is that you can most often take the direct route up instead of switchbacks. Though, come well prepared with proper research about the avalanche safety around the area you are planning to hike. Also, stick to the trails unless you are confident enough to take the direct route up.
Ensure that you start early, as the winter days are very short in the Yukon. There is only about 5-6 hours of daylight on average. Temperatures can drop suddenly after sunset and it can get bone chillingly cold.
As you reach above the treeline, the views are simply mind-boggling. It is here where you would actually get to contemplate how unforgiving the Arctic is!
Just in time, as we reached near the summit, the weather cleared for 5 minutes, so we could take some pictures of the lake and pose.
After, a quick break and many pictures, we started heading back down. My hands were literally starting to turn blue by constantly removing gloves to take pictures. A lesson learnt – always get a thin liner glove with which it is comfortable to take pictures without exposing the hands completely.
Have you done this hike? Leave your experiences in the comments section below. Cheers!