The Titan Trail is a strenuous hike which climbs through a beautiful section of the Tongass National Forest on the slopes of Mount Welker in Hyder, Alaska as it heads for the old Titan Mine site. Difficulties encountered on the hike include challenging route finding when the maintained portion of the trail comes to an end and dealing with likely grizzly bear encounters along the trail. Images of the hiking route maps taken from the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site information board can be found by clicking on the buttons above. GPS coordinates for the Titan Mine site at the end of the trail are not provided because I was not able to locate them anywhere.
Of all the places outside of Death Valley National Park which I have spent time hiking and exploring, the state of Alaska has been without question the most beautiful and spectacular to visit. And of all the places I have been to in Alaska, Hyder is my favorite town. That's why for my 6th trip to Alaska, I wanted to return to Hyder and share this amazing place with my family and friends who were traveling with me. There are many reasons that Hyder is my favorite town in Alaska -- such as the high concentration of wildlife in a small area, the beautiful views of glaciers, the sheer isolation, and the breathtaking rainforest scenery. The interesting thing about Hyder is that no matter how many times I have mentioned the name of the town to other people, nobody has ever heard of it. And that's part of what makes it so special to me. Hyder, Alaska is a small town at the edge of southeastern Alaska that is twin cities with Stewart, British Columbia. It is the only town in Alaska that is connected by road to British Columbia. Hyder is a very difficult place to travel to. You can't fly into it and you can't take a boat into it (unless you hire a private boat to take you up the Portland Canal from Ketchikan, which would cost a fortune). The best way to reach Hyder is to fly into a large British Columbia city, rent a car, and drive to it. The first time I visited Hyder, back in 2005, I was on a long Alaskan road trip. My three week journey took me from Sonoma to Vancouver to Prince George to Whitehorse to Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay at the Arctic Ocean. On my return trip I went from Prudhoe Bay to Denali to Anchorage and then back into Yukon Territory. But instead of taking the Alaska Highway to get back home, I took the Cassiar Highway. That led me to take a side trip to check out Hyder for the first time. And I was extremely impressed. Hyder's crown jewel is the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site, where you can watch grizzly bears and black bears fish for chum salmon and pink salmon during the months of July through September. If you are fortunate, you can even see wolves and bald eagles catching salmon. Hyder also has the Salmon Glacier Road, which is a fantastic drive which leads to various overlooks of the Salmon Glacier, the 5th largest glacier in North America and the most accessible glacier by road in the world. Salmon Glacier is in British Columbia but cannot be reached without driving through Hyder, Alaska. For hikers, Hyder has the Titan Trail.
Back in 2005, I was not ready to hike the Titan Trail. The main reason is that the Titan Trail is located in the midst of a very large population of grizzly bears, black bears, and wolves. All of these dangerous animals are in Hyder during the summer to feast on spawning salmon which are swimming up Fish Creek. And the Titan Trail pretty much parallels Fish Creek, staying slightly above it for a majority of the hike to the Titan Mine. On my 2005 trip, I would have had to solo hike this trail without bear spray, so I decided to leave it for another trip. Of course, I didn't know if or when I would ever be able to return to Hyder to actually complete the hike, being that it is about a 1,800 mile drive one-way from my home in Sonoma, California to Hyder, Alaska. Fast forward to August of 2013 and I finally had the chance to return to Hyder with my family and friends. For our trip, we flew from San Francisco to Calgary, rented a vehicle, and drove 18 hours to reach Hyder. While in Hyder, we stayed at the Grand View Inn, which we were extremely happy with. We had so many great experiences during our 3+ days in Hyder, but I'm going to let my pictures do the talking down below. The pictures are split in half, with half of them showcasing Hyder and the wildlife and the other half documenting the Titan Trail, which I finally got the chance to hike along with my friend Gary "The Cat". The Titan Trail has never been publicly documented before in the form of a trip report, so my report will be the first to do that. For our hike, we were only able to complete about 4/5 of the 6 mile hike to the Titan Mine. The last 1/5 of the trail has not been maintained and the trail gets lost in the brush. At the end of the trail, it splits off into three directions with each of the short spur trails dead-ending. So without a GPS and without more trail maintenance near the end of the trail, we got as far as it is possible to go at this time. Because there is hardly any information about this trail available on the internet, I took pictures of the trail maps which were posted on the information board at the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site. These trail maps had some interesting details about the Titan Trail and you can view them at the map links above. Keep in mind that this hike can be considered dangerous due to the large presence of grizzly bears. Prior to my own trip, I had been debating in my mind whether or not I would even hike the Titan Trail. But after talking to forestry staff, I felt comfortable doing so since I was with a friend and we were both carrying bear spray. Even so, we were both nervous during the hike and saw signs of bears everywhere, even though we didn't run into any on the trail. But this hike is not for everyone, and especially not for those who are unprepared for a grizzly bear encounter. When it comes to wildlife, our final tally in Hyder was 5 grizzly bears, 8 black bears, 2 bald eagles, and 2 wolves. As a final note, I should thank the entire forestry staff who works at the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site in Hyder. They are all very professional and handle their jobs very seriously, with great concern for the safety of all visitors to the bear platform. At the same time, they are friendly and helpful, and I got to know many of them during our short stay in Hyder. Our hike of the Titan Trail took place on August 14, 2013.
This hike takes place in the midst of a high population of grizzly bears and a bear encounter along the trail is very likely. Before hiking, check in with forestry staff at the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site, carry bear spray, hike in a large group, make noise while hiking, and know what to do during a bear encounter.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
TRIP REPORT FORMAT