Hiking and biking trails

Posted: Friday, February 09, 2007

Hiking and biking trails traverse much of the peninsula. The access to many unique habitats and wildlife viewing opportunities are available to explore in a variety of activity levels. Ranging from easy to moderate and challenging climbs for the hardy outdoors enthusiasts, peninsula trails also offer the chance to pick berries, photograph wildflowers and seek out a quiet fishing spot.

With any outdoor activity you choose to do on the Kenai Peninsula, remember to be prepared for bear encounters. Carry water purification devices and adequate emergency supplies with you whenever you venture into the woods. It is also advisable to tell someone where you are going or leave written info in yor car.

Some popular area hikes include:

Russian Lakes Trail

How to find it: The trail head is 1 mile down Russian River Campground Road, at Mile 52 of the Sterling Highway near Cooper Landing.

Level of Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Features: See the Russian River Falls, where sockeye salmon are making their upstream battle to spawn. Watch for bears!

Resurrection Pass Trail

How to find it: The trail head is located at Mile 53 of the Sterling Highway near Cooper Landing

Level of Difficulty: This moderate trail noted as “a serious challenge for bikers”

Features: Historic mining trail that runs 38.5-miles from its trail head on the Sterling Highway to mile 4 of Resurrection Creek Road near the town of Hope. Make the 4.5 mile leg from the Cooper Landing trail head to see Juneau Creek Falls, a roaring cataract that slices through the wilderness.

Kenai River Trail

How to find it: South on Skilak Lake Road at Mile 58 of the Sterling Highway, trail is just over a half-mile in.

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Features: The walk includes a canyon view, forest, river, meadows, wildflowers and berries. Be alert for bears.

Vista Trail

How to find it: Located at Upper Skilak Campground

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Features: A few steep inclines reward trekkers with panoramic views of Skilak Lake. The 1.5 mile trail is also a great place to spot black bear and moose due to recent fires that have cleared away trees.

Skyline Trail

How to find it: Mile 61 Sterling Highway. Parking is located on the south side of the road, across from the trail head.

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Features: Trail climbs more than 2,500 feet in less than two miles. The trail is steep and can be slippery, but the view is worth the effort.

Tsalteshi Trails

How to find it: Just south of Soldotna behind Skyview High School

Level of Difficulty: Mild to moderate

Features: A great area for hikers and bikers who’d like to stay closer to town. For trail conditions, trail maps and complete information, visit www. tsalteshi.org. These trails are maintained by the Tsalteshi Trail Association, (907) 262-6257.

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

How to find it: Trail head is at paved parking area of the Soldotna headquarters.

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Features: Excellent family hike. Cleared trails for easier walking. Decking and viewing at lake, interpretive signage and a bonus of the visitor center rounds out the experience.

Exit Glacier-Harding Icefield Trail

How to find it: From Mile 3.7 of the Seward Highway, turn west onto Exit Glacier Road. Go 8.9 miles to a parking area. A paved path leads to the ranger station and the start of the ice. The Harding Icefield Trail runs along the north side of the glacier.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Features: Located near Seward, the hike offers views of glacial ice. It is a half-mile walk to the Exit glacier, but hikers can travel up to 7.5 miles round trip on a trail above the glacier to the Harding Ice Field.

Kachemak Bay State Park

How to find it: No road access to 75 miles of trails on south shore of Kachemak Bay. Water taxi from Homer to trail heads.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Features: Variety of habitats to enjoy. 3 level miles of trail from the Glacier Spit to the lake at the foot of Grewink Glacier. Another trail runs 4.9 miles from the mouth of Humpy Creek to the northeast side of the glacier. Other trails take hikers from coastal shoreline to treeline. F

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