When the aspen and willow are sporting their rich reds and yellows, some of the most scenic landscapes can be found in our backyard and some of the trails are much more than a walk in the woods.
Spirit Canyon is no exception. A friend and I went this smoky September. It’s an easy 1.5-hour hike that has some incredible rock features, it’s close to town and it offers a large panoramic view of Ibex Valley. The turn off is on the Alaska Highway, 41 kms westbound past the north Klondike Highway. From there, turn right onto what’s called the Kluane Wagon Road. (Google struggled with the KWR, so resetting the odometer would be clutch.) You will see the KWR double back toward Whitehorse. The trailhead is just shy of two kilometres down the road, past the road leading to a private property. You will often see cars parked or tire marks, sometimes orange flagging.
When we made it, we thought it looked like bush, but with hope and a heartbeat, we were on the main artery heading up the knoll. We saw some weird stuff, but they were just rocks. Once that was all cleared up, we came across a large grassy hill with a consistent grade, suitable for kids. I saw a wee bike stashed on the side about half way up. I guess some just want to send it. Along the way, large panoramic views opened to the Ibex Valley with the gorgeous Mt. Ingram front and center. Further up long rock beds were above us, measuring more than 100 feet long, with multiple rows. Before you knew it, we had found a veritable “land before time.” Staring at a 150-foot rock face that was almost completely vertical, the canyon cut up the hill and was almost bridged by the side you hike up on by these large rectangular monoliths. These massive, long, square cut rocks lean here and there like giant Lego pieces. The rocks host lush green organics and plants, photo-worthy from the micro to the macro. Spirit Canyon truly is one of a kind. For the explorers at heart, budget an hour or more to muck about the rocks so you can find all the nooks and crannies. All in all, we were back at the car in 2.5 hours, but we could have easily explored longer. The hike was easy, the views were wonderful, and the geological features were a blast to explore. Get out, get gains!