OverviewThe Chilkat Range is part of the Coast Range of Southeast Alaska. The Chilkats generally trend North-South down the upper end of the Inside Passage. That coastal waterway extends up from the British Columbia Canada border to the head of navigation at Haines on the West tip and Skagway on the eastern side of the fiord.
The Chilkats constitute the eastern edge of the basin of Glacier Bay National Monument. That basin of multiple glaciers, bays and ranges extends westward from the Inside Passage to the Outside Coast.
The Northern end of the Chilkats merges with a more East-West trending range called the Takhinsha Mountains. The corner where they merge is the backdrop to Haines, Alaska. (The NE corner of Glacier Bay National Monument is on the peak behind Haines.
The Chilkat Mountains are a dramatic scenic backdrop to ferries plying the Inside Passage. The Chilkats provide the western ridgeline bounding the upper end of the Inside Passage, from Juneau to Haines.
The Davidson Glacier drops down out of the high snowfields covering the ridgetop, and reaches all the way down many thousands of feet into the seawater of the Inside Passage.
Getting ThereAlthough the Chilkats are clearly visible from the outlying districts of Juneau to the North, access to the steep dense forests of the Chilkats, and even the tidewater glaciers, is difficult. No ferries or roads cross the Inside Passage to get to that West side, and no roads travel North-South along the base.
Chartering a floatplane or a guideboat is probably the best way to approach the southern and middle parts of the range.
The northern end of the range can be accessed from Haines. The ferry to Haines puts you into a local road system. That system has been extended southward to state lands of the Chilkat Peninsula. Local roads and trails also extend up into the foothills at the base of the mountains.
Chartering helicopters from Haines is probably the best way to get to a landing place for climbing big walls or mountain peaks. Helos have been used in recent years for filming daredevil skiers and snowboarders.
Red TapeGovernment Lands:
The US National Park Service controls access on the Western watershed. The US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources control government lands on the Eastern side.
Some private timber companies own land on the East side. Alaska Native regional and village corporations own lands on the Eastern side. The regional corporation is Sealaska Regional Corp., headquartered in Juneau. The local village corporation is Klukwan. It is based in the village of Klukwan, near the Chilkat River, but has other offices as well.
In addition, other village corporations may have timber operations in the area.
Finally, private property rights and traditional land uses on other lands by individual Natives should also be respected. Ask the village corporation or government agencies locally what Native organizations should be consulted as to sensitive resources along your proposed route.
Air flight permits will likely be handled by the air taxi or helo operator. But they need lead time notice to apply for permits from the agencies.
External LinksChilkat Guides, through the Takhinshas, Boundary Ranges, and Brabazons to the North of the Chilkats.
Haines, Alaska, Recreation Photos and Local Services.
CampingIf you take the ferry to Haines, try Chilkat State Park, near Chilkoot Lake, a few miles South of Haines.
But remember, it rains heavily all along the Inside Passage, so take a rainfly and extra groundcover, and the best rain gear you can afford. If you are blessed with good weather, thank whatever deity you believe in -- and hope that Kooshtakah, the spirit of the wind, does not descend in a Taku wind, 200 mph, to blow you out into Lynn Canal.
Bears are plentiful in all parts of coastal Alaska.
Reserve early for lodging inside after your trip, at The Halsingland Hotel.
Order a copy of "The MilePost," a tourist directory showing all camping and resorts, and tourist destinations, and factoids, up and down the Alaska-Canada (Al-Can or Alcan) Highway, including the Alaska Marine Highway (Ferry System) which starts in Bellingham, WA and transits British Columbia Canada.