Fish lake is one of the most popular hikes near Whitehorse due to its close proximity to the city and relatively easy trail. Because of this, I’ve done this hike many, many times, and always enjoy myself. Continue reading to find out more about this hike that’s great for people of all fitness types!
Only five minutes from town, this hike is relatively easy to find. Along the Alaska Highway, next to Rabbits Foot Canyon is Fish Lake Road. Drive all the way to the end of the road (about 20 minutes), along the side of the lake, and park your car in the open wooded area past the lake. The trailhead is easily visible from there.
Fish Lake is the perfect lazy day hike, as I like to call it. If you’re feeling kind of bleh but still feel the need to get out into nature and breathe in that fresh mountain air, then this is the hike for you. Being from 2 to 3 hours round trip (with some exploring at the top), and a short 20 minute drive from downtown Whitehorse, this is also an ideal after work hike. You can be up, down, and home with time for dinner.
This hike is pretty easy going and has a steady incline for its majority. The last 10 minutes are the most steep, but at that point you are out of the tree line and gifted some spectacular views in return for your efforts.
This is a popular hike during all seasons and you will find an easy to follow trail at all times of the year. The only thing I will add is that in May, when the snow is melting, the path turns into a literal stream coming down the mountain. You can still hike it at this time, but be prepared for wet, muddy feet.
Because of its proximity to town, you will very rarely find yourself alone on the trail. So don’t get too nervous when you hear something romping around in the bushes up ahead!
The last time I did this hike, there were bear sightings everywhere so I was a little nervous. We saw something massive and light coloured in the bushes on the way down and almost lost our cool. Luckily, it was only a horse, but we may have had our bear spray at the ready… Keep an eye out and always have your bear spray handy on Yukon hikes!
At The Top:
There is a main lookout point at the top of the mountain, giving you 360 degree views of the surrounding Fish Lake area and mountain ranges. You can easily continue hiking along the mountain peaks as they form a large basin.
One thing I’m always surprised by is the amount of wind! Holy man! It can get to the point where you can lean into the wind and not fall over. This can be pretty fun, but if you try it, don’t blame me if you fall on your face.
The amount of wind at the top of the mountain can be a nice refresher after your hike, but make sure to layer up. It can be smoking hot and sunny at the bottom and frigid at the top. You don’t want to be in a t-shirt and leggings and get frost bite when you hit the top covered in snow and intense wind (yes this happened to me and it sucked).
What I’ve Learned From This Hike:
This hike is really enjoyable, and I love being able to explore the Fish lake area. It’s shown me that hiking can be easily fit in to your day to day life and allows me to escape into the wilderness when I don’t have a ton of time for adventures.
One time while hiking this in the winter, it had snowed the day before, and we were the first ones there. Breaking trail in knee deep snow is not the best thing in the world and it took a lot of work. Normally, I would have said “screw it” and turned around once we got out of tree line and saw no more footprints. But forging our own path was fun and showed me I don’t need to always follow in others footsteps!