Hiking trails harbor scenic treasures

Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2002

Hiking the Kenai Peninsula can be one of the most rewarding ways to experience the scenic wonders the area has. Hikers can enjoy a stroll through historic Kenai or dip their toes in the Pacific Ocean while walking along the beach.

Whether you prefer a stroll through the woods looking for a quiet fishing spot or a climb up a mountain in search of the perfect view, the trails won't disappoint.

For detailed information, call the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge at 262-7021, the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center at 283-1991, Kachemak Bay State Park at 235-7024, Chugach National Forest at 224-3374 and Kenai Fjords National Park at 224-3175.

Here are some of the more popular trails:

Resurrection Pass Trail

This historic mining trail runs 38.5 miles through Chugach National Forest, from Mile 52 of the Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing to Mile 4 of Resurrection Creek Road in Hope. Don't miss Juneau Creek Falls, a roaring cataract about 3.5 miles from the Cooper Landing trail head.

Kenai River Trail

This is an easy 2.8-mile hike. To find the trail head, turn south on Skilak Lake Road at Mile 58 of the Sterling Highway and drive just over a half-mile. The walk includes canyon, forest, river, meadows, wildflowers and berries. Beware of bears.

Skyline Trail

If getting above the trees is your goal, this trail climbs more than 2,500 feet in less than two miles.

Park on the south side of the Sterling Highway at Mile 61 and cross the road to the trail head. The trail is steep and can be slippery, but the view is worth the effort.

Exit Glacier-Harding

Icefield Trail

These hikes near Seward offer views of glacial ice. It is a half-mile to the glacier, but hikers can travel up to 7.5 miles round trip. 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.

Kachemak Bay State Park

Close to 75 miles of trails cross this park on the south shore of Kachemak Bay. There is no road access. Water taxis from Homer take hikers to the trail heads.

It's about three level miles from Glacier Spit to the lake at the foot of Grewingk Glacier. Another trail runs 4.9 miles from the mouth of Humpy Creek to the northeast side of the glacier. Other trails breach the tree line.

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