Hike and Camp at Upper Dewey Lake

Rate this Adventure Alaska Lower Dewey Lake Trail

Added by Amber Locke

The hike to Upper Dewey Lake in Skagway, Alaska is a strenuous endeavor with an ultimately breathtaking reward. A quaint cabin available for rent makes this adventure an overnight trip essential to your bucket list.

The Dewey Lake trail system leads visitors to Skagway on adventures to multiple remarkable destinations, including Lower Dewey Lake, Sturgill's Landing, Icy Lake, Upper Reid Falls, Upper Dewey Lake and Devil's Punch Bowl. Each trail extends from a single trail head located closest to the cruise ship docks in the very small town. There is a free parking lot with signs directing you towards the trail system, which lies just across the railroad tracks. If you are arriving on a cruise ship, you can follow the tracks straight to the trails.

The trail begins with a moderate gain of elevation towards Lower Dewey Lake at 500 ft. of elevation. The trail passes through the forest with views of the mile long town and the Taiya Inlet below. There is a small outhouse about halfway to Lower Dewey Lake, as well. Upon reaching the Lower Dewey Lake Loop, take a left to head towards the Upper Dewey Lake Trail.

If you're feeling warm once you're at Lower Dewey Lake, continue around the loop until you reach a picnic table on the other side of the lake. For the adrenaline loving spirit, this the perfect spot to jump off of a nearly 30 ft. cliff and into the glacier-fed lake. Then, head back towards the trailhead for Upper Dewey Lake, which you would have passed.

From Upper Dewey trailhead, the path begins to steepen. Along the way, the trail is equipped with stairs and footbridges to assist hikers in making it to the top. The foliage begins to change around 2,000 ft. of elevation and there are plenty of mushrooms and wildflowers, like fireweed and yarrow, to observe along the way.

Upper Dewey Lake is the perfect destination to camp or take advantage of the hard work of volunteers who built the cutest primitive cabin alongside the lake, which sleeps up to 8 people. There is also a free cabin available just a short distance from the lake.

If you do this as a day hike, allow yourself at least 6 hours of hiking time and don't underestimate the time you will inevitably spend in awe of the scenery.

Summer is the optimal time to view the beautiful wildflowers and lush greenery that this rainforest has to offer. In early May and by mid-August, you could encounter snow and ice at the lake, which makes for an entirely different, yet still amazing, view. Weather in Alaska varies, sometimes by the hour, so be prepared for anything and don't forget that it will be colder at the higher elevation, anyway.

Pack List

  • Inquire about cabin reservations at www.skagwayrecreation.org or call (907) 983-2679
  • Camera
  • Layers - light jacket, rain jacket, fleece
  • Hiking boots or sturdy shoes
  • Snacks and meals for your trip
  • Camping stove
  • Plenty of water and/or a water purifier
  • Bear spray if you're wary. Definitely be aware of bear safety.
  • Tent/Hammock if you decide to camp
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Wear bug spray in the summer (a 'no-see-em' bite is far worse than any mosquito bite you've ever had)
  • Personally, I suggest packing a bottle of wine to enjoy once your sitting pretty at the lake
  • A complete list and detailed explanations of Skagway's hiking trails can be found here: http://skagway.com/skagwaytrailmap.pdf
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Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

3100 Feet


Cliff Jumping
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

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Added by Amber Locke

My friends call me a hippie. My family calls me a nomad. I like to think of myself as a modern day transcendentalist. I am in absolute love with nature, exploring and meeting new people along the way.

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