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Kruzoff Island ATV Trails

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USE : ATV, Bike and Hike

DESCRIPTION : Miles and miles of old logging road used for ATV, biking and hiking trails and beaches to explore crisscrossing this volcanic island.

DISTANCE : Varies

• TIME : 4 – 6 miles

TRAILHEAD : Mud Bay at Kruzof Island.

ELEVATION GAIN : 300 feet

• RECOMMENDED SEASON : Year-Round

• LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Easy to Difficult

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : US Forest Service


 

ACCESS

This road begins at Mud Bay, which is on the east coast of Kruzof Island and about 13 miles NW of Sitka by boat. The road begins on the north shore of the Bay, west of the cleared area. Kruzof Island road is closed to all vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 1,000 poinds or more. A mooring buoy is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

HISTORY

This trail, originally constructed as a logging road in the early 1970’s offers a good travel way across the island.

SPECIAL FEATURES

During snowy winters this road is good for cross-country skiing. Motorized vehicles are not permitted in iris meadows or off the roadway. Access to the Shelikof cabin (hike-in) and North Beach cabin (ATV use) is via this road.

DESCRIPTION

The intersections are confusing and not signed. It is suggested to carry a map and compass or GPS. The road follows the north side of Shelikof River The intersection for to the Shelikof Cabin turnoff at Iris Meadows about six miles across. After the Shelikof Cabin turnoff the road goes to the right, through Iris Meadow and up over a hill to the several miles to the North Beach cabin.

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.alaska.org/detail/shelikof-cabin

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/shelikof-cabin/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=71863

http://www.alaska.org/detail/north-beach-cabin

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/north-beach-cabin/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=71876

Salmon/Redoubt Lakes

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• USE : Hike

DESCRIPTION : Trail is reached by boat at the head of Silver Bay with hike up Salmon-Redoubt Lake Trail. There is a mooring buoy/ anchorage at the trailhead.

DISTANCE : 2 miles one way

TIME : 1 -2 hours

TRAILHEAD : Trail head is on the left-hand side of the bay before entering the estuary narrows.

ELEVATION GAIN : Minimal.

RECOMMENDED SEASON : Spring – Fall

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Moderate

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : US Forest Service


 

ACCESS

The trailhead is located about 10 miles southeast of Sitka at the southwest end of Silver Bay. Access by sea taxi, boat or float plane.

SPECIAL FEATURES

There is good fishing in the Salmon Lake area and the head of Silver Bay. A recreation cabin is located on Salmon Lake about two miles from where the trail begins.

TRAIL DESCRIPTION

The trail begins on the east side of the mouth of Salmon Lake stream, the westernmost inlet stream at the head of Silver Bay. The trail is in Sitka Spruce, western hemlock and Alaska yellow cedar for the first three miles. An estuary is on the trail’s west side for the first quarter mile. The first mile hugs the eastern side of the valley, the follows the eastern shore of Salmon Lake to the cabin which may be reserved from the US Forest Service at recreation.gov.

The trail used to continue to Redoubt Lake cabin but the cabin was buried by a landslide in 2013. The trail still exists but it is rough and slippery. At about three miles the trail travels through a series of muskegs and meadows. There are trail forks in this area; stay on the main (southwestern) trail. During the next half mile the trail re-enters the forest and climbs 500 feet up a narrow saddle to the pass that separates the Salmon Lake drainage from the Redoubt drainage. The tread is rough, slippery and muddy. The pass is about a mile from Redoubt Lake but is impassible to the lake due to a landslide.

CAUTION

The Salmon Lake estuary has bears present much of the year.

OTHER SOURCES

http://www.alaska.org/detail/salmon-lake-redoubt-lake-trail

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/salmon-lake-cabin-sitka/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=71971

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=79120&actid=50

 

Lake Eva Trail

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USE : Hike

DESCRIPTION : In Peril Strait – Hanus Bay. Nice scenic trail to the lake through old-growth along a pretty river. The cabin is on the opposite side of the lake and not reachable without a boat. Trail upgrades for accessibility and cabin replacement planned for 2011 and 2013.

DISTANCE : 1 3/4 mile to lake one-way The Lake Eva trail is 2.9 miles long. It begins at Hanus Bay and ends at the south end of Lake Eva. The trail is open for the following uses: Hiking

TIME :

ELEVATION GAIN :

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Moderate

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : US Forest Service

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.alaska.org/detail/lake-eva-hanus-bay-trail

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/lake-eva-cabin/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=71862

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=79026&actid=50

Sea Lion Cove Trail (Kruzoff Island)

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USE : Hike

DESCRIPTION : Remote trail on northern Kruzof Island. Boat or floatplane access. Spectacular old-growth forest, muskeg, and 2-mile long sandy beach on the open ocean. Stairs up & down hill between anchorage in Kalinin Bay and beach.

DISTANCE : 2.5 Miles (one way)

TIME : 1.0 – 2.0 Hours (one way)

TRAILHEAD : Begins in Kalinin Bay on the North side of Kruzof Island and ends at Sea Lion Cove on the outer coast

ELEVATION GAIN : 500 feet

RECOMMENDED SEASON : Summer – beware autumn storms

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Moderate. Slippery boardwalk and roots along most of the route.

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY: Alaska State Parks ceased maintenance of the trail when Ranger position defunded due to budget cuts in 2015.


 

ACCESS

Remotely located, approximately 1 1/2 hours by boat, north of Sitka on Kruzof Island. The trail begins on the shoreline of Kalinin Bay. Look for the diamond-shaped trailhead sign on the W shore at the beginning of the estuary. STW leads groups on this amazing trail every year with the help of Allen Marine’s great catamarans.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Boats can anchor in Kalinin Bay. Be sure to haul your skiff or kayak above the high tide mark and tie it to something strong. Don’t leave food or smelly items in your skiff or the bears may find it when you are away. Sea Lion Cove Trail is maintained by Alaska State Parks. The beach is known locally as a good surfing spot.

DESCRIPTION

The trail starts in the forest and crosses into muskegs. Pass by the first lake before re-entering beautiful old-growth forest. The trail then emerges onto a two-mile long sand beach in Sea Lion Cove, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

CAUTIONS

The boardwalk trail is extremely slippery when wet – hiking poles are suggested. This is a remote trail with no cell phone coverage. Be sure to bring along your camera and a VHF radio; as well as the ten essentials on any hike in Alaska’s backcountry. There can be a lot of beach trash. Please pack out a little with you.

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.alaska.org/detail/mt.-edgecumbe-trail 

http://alaska.ustrails.org/trails/Mt-Edgecumbe.html 

http://www.seatrails.org/com_sitka/trl-sealioncove.htm

Mt. Edgecumbe

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USE : Hike

DESCRIPTION : Accessible only by boat. Strenuous hike to the summit of the extinct volcano with several steep climbs. Elevation gain is 3,200 feet from the trail head to the top. Spectacular views from the top and impressive crater of the volcano.

DISTANCE : 6.7 Miles (one way)

TIME : 4-6 Hours (one way)

TRAILHEAD : New trail begins 50 yards from Fred’s Creek cabin and Ends at summit crater of Mt. Edgecumbe

ELEVATION GAIN : 3,200 feet

RECOMMENDED SEASON: Mid spring through fall

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Difficult. Muddy and wet in places. Last 3 miles steep climb. Last mile above tree line is extremely steep and on loose pumice. The route is marked with poles. Bears may be present.

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY: US Forest Service


 

ACCESS

The trailhead is about 50 yards from Fred’s Creek cabin on the southeastern shore of Kruzof Island, about 10 miles west of Sitka. Accessible by boat, roughly half an hour skiff ride from Sitka. Sea Taxis can be hired for drop off and pickup. Overnight accommodations available at the Fred’s Creek cabin if reserved in advance at recreation.gov.

HISTORY

This trail was constructed in the early 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps to provide recreational access to the summit of Mt. Edgecumbe, and recent upgrades have reduced the muddiness of the hike. Here’s a humorous account of Mt Edgecumbe’s last “eruption” caused by a notorious Sitkan on April Fools Day 1974.

SPECIAL FEATURES

This National Recreation Trail leads to the top of Mount Edgecumbe volcano, although the last portion is marked only by posts. The vista from the summit is spectacular on a clear day.

DESCRIPTION

The trail begins about 50 yards from Fred’s Creek cabin in the big spruce trees. It gradually rises while running through several miles of muskeg alternating with forest nearly due west. About four miles up the trail, at an elevation of 700 feet, a spur trail leads to a three-sided shelter.

The trail steepens considerably as it climbs the mountain’s flank. The timberline is reached at about 2,000 feet and the trail ends here. Above this, the ground is covered by red volcanic ash, pumice and fragile vegetation. To reach the crater rim, follow the white trail posts.

CAUTIONS

Weather can turn inclement even in the summer. The summit is almost always windy and clouds can blow in at any time and reduce visibility. Take a change of clothes and windproof garments so you can stay warm and enjoy the rim trail. On a sunny or “hot” summer day, be sure to bring enough water or a water purifier to refill water bottles. The streams dry up in the summer and are hard to find.

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.summitpost.org/mount-edgecumbe-trail/429362

http://www.alaska.org/detail/mt.-edgecumbe-trail

http://alaska.ustrails.org/trails/Mt-Edgecumbe.html

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=80291&actid=50

Mosquito Cove Trail

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• USE : Summer hiking with some winter use.

DESCRIPTION : The North Loop from Starrigavan Campground follows the beach & forest fringe to Mosquito Cove and loops back through forested hillside.

DISTANCE : 1.5 mile loop

TIME : 45 minutes – 1 hour

TRAILHEAD : Seven miles north of Sitka on Halibut Point Road and a 3/4 mile walk north of the ferry terminal.

ELEVATION GAIN : 100 feet elevation gain

RECOMMENDED SEASON : All Year Long

DIFFICULTY : Easier to moderate – some stairs and slippery surfaces with some mud. Uneven tread, and occasionally downed timber and rocks to step across.

Good to know before you go: Please park in the designated trail parking areas and not the Forest Service campground or along the road.

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : Alaska State Parks ceased maintenance of the trail when Ranger position defunded due to budget cuts in 2015.

FEATURES

Dogs must be on leash on the Forest Service section of this trail. A hiker could combine this with several other pleasant trails in the area including the Forest and Muskeg and the Estuary Life Trails.

Don’t forget your camera. This is a scenic little trail. Large trees, tide-pooling at Mosquito Cove, intimate little trail curves and bridges, birds and other wildlife make this a wonderful place.

NOTE

Brown bears are commonly seen, particularly on the coastal flats and are common late summer to late fall when the salmon are spawning, and this trail could be closed during high bear activity times for safety.

DESCRIPTION

This gravel trail includes both shoreline and forest ecosystems. Located at the north end of Halibut Point Road, within the Forest Service Picnic Area. The trail features several gentle climbs as well as scenic beach-walking. The Mosquito Cove Trail is part of the Old Sitka State Historic Site and is managed jointly by the USDA Forest Service and Alaska State Parks.

OTHER SOURCES:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=79099&actid=50

Medvejie Lake Trail

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USE : Hike

DESCRIPTION : Rough trail through downed timber from the Medvejie hatchery to the lake. The trailhead is unmarked but is at the end of the access road through the employee houses. Hatchery staff doesn’t mind pointing out the trail to hikers when they aren’t busy.

LENGTH : 3/4 mile one way

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Moderate

LAND MANAGEMENT AGENCY : City and Borough of Sitka. The CBS Electric Department is responsible for the Green Lake Road. Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association manages the hatchery.


ACCESS

The “trailhead” for this non-maintained trail is 3.25 miles from the Green Lake Road gate at Herring Cove. There’s a small pullout for parking right before the gate.

The Green Lake road is also used by pedestrians and mountain bicyclists since the only vehicles that use the road are City vehicles going to and from Green Lake dam and hatchery employees. The hatchery is at Bear Cove and be aware that bears do use the road and are around the hatchery during spawning, starting in June. If bicycling, it is best to slow down when going around blind corners or cresting hills to look for bears.

The road is approximately 7 miles long and Green Lake is located at the end. Where the road divides, at about mile 6, the road to the left goes up to Green Lake and the dam and the road to the right goes to dam powerhouse.

Starrigavan Estuary Life/Forest & Muskeg Trails

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USE : Walk. Estuary Life is an ADA accessible trail.

DESCRIPTION : Upper Starrigavan Valley views. Interpretive signs and displays along Estuary Life boardwalk describe the estuary ecosystem.

DISTANCE : 1 Mile (one way)

TIME : 1.5 Hours (one way)

TRAILHEAD : Begins near the Old Sitka Boat Launch and Ends at Parking area near end of Halibut Point Road, at Starrigavan Campground. The separated multiuse path, along the ocean and through Old Sitka park and the boat launch can be used to walk back to the Boat Launch parking lot.

ELEVATION GAIN : 150 feet

RECOMMENDED SEASON : Year-round, but use caution when wet or icy

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Easy. These gravel and boardwalk trails are accessible to people with physical disabilities at the difficult level. Boardwalk sections can be slippery.

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : US Forest Service: Estuary Life trail and Alaska State Parks: Forest and Muskeg trail. Alaska State Parks ceased maintenance of the trail when Ranger position defunded due to budget cuts in 2015.

 

ACCESS

The trail is located about 6.5 miles north of Sitka on Halibut Point Road, and about .25 miles north of the Ferry Terminal. The trail begins at the Old Sitka boat launch parking area and at the US Forest Service campground on the right side of the road, past the bridge over Starrigavan River.

SPECIAL FEATURES

The trail gently climbs through a typical southeastern Alaska forest to reach a scenic muskeg, dotted with small ponds and stunted lodgepole(shore) pines. This trail is barrier free, and rated at difficult for accessibility, with some grades up to 12%. Along the Estuary Life portion of the trail there is a bird viewing platform from which many different birds and other wildlife can be seen.

DESCRIPTION

The trail begins by gradually climbing across a side hill to a forested muskeg with small streams. The trail is gravel until it reaches the outskirts of the muskeg on the top of a low hill. Through the muskeg, the trail is a boardwalk and winds among marshy ponds until reaching the forest again, with views up Starrigavan valley. The trail gradually descends through the forest with occasional glimpses through the trees of Starrigavan estuary.

At the base of the hill, the trail crosses Nelson Logging Road and crosses Starrigavan River to the Estuary Life portion of the trail. In late summer and early fall spawning salmon may be seen from the bridge. This portion of the trail continues on boardwalk at a gentle 5% grade for about a quarter mile to a bird viewing platform. Bears are common feeding on the grassy flats in the estuary, and sometimes use the trails. Interpretive panels discuss the birds that use the estuary and the fascinating dynamics of an estuary.

OTHER SOURCES

Forest Service

http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/regions/alaska/Starrigavan/index.shtml

Alaska travel information

http://www.alaska.org/destination/sitka/parks-and-trails

Matt Goff’s Site:

Starrigavan Recreation Area

Starrigavan ATV Trails

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USE : ATV, Some Bike and Hike, Cross Country skiing in winter but get there early before the ATV’s arrive.

DESCRIPTION : Small network of roads and trails built primarily for ATV use. All users use caution. Fast speeds and blind corners can present hazards. Major landslide occurred in 2015 which has impacted the trails.

DISTANCE : 1 to 2 mile loops

TIME : 1 Hours (one way)

TRAILHEAD : Begins at the end of the Nelson Logging Road in the gravel parking lot.

ELEVATION GAIN : 300 feet

RECOMMENDED SEASON : Year-round, but use caution when wet or icy

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Moderate to Challenging.

Please pack out all trash.

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : US Forest Service


 

ACCESS

The motorized trails are located about 6.5 miles north of Sitka. Drive on Halibut Point Road, and turn off at the bridge before the estuary onto Nelson Logging Road. Follow the narrow road across several bridges until a large gravel parking and off-loading area appears on the left. Please don’t park at the shooting range.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Many of the trails at Starrigavan cross Coho salmon rearing streams. ATV riders are asked to respect the fish, and not ride through streams. Much of the area was extensively logged and the Forest Service has implemented forest thinning projects throughout the area.

DESCRIPTION

The ATV trails in the area are old logging roads, but the Forest Service has created a few new trails just for ATV riders. Please use these trails with respect to other users and ability levels. Younger and less-experienced riders often use these trails for training and practice before tackling the trails at Kruzof Island or other areas.

CAUTIONS

These gravel and rock trails are maintained for ATV riding and loose rocks, rough surfaces, and blind corners present challenges and hazards to users. Be aware that high-speed ATVs and motorcycles may be encountered at any time.

OTHER SOURCES

Forest Service Site http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/about-forest/districts/?cid=stelprdb5396292

Thimbleberry Lake/Heart Lake Trail

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USE : Hike and Bike

DESCRIPTION : Trail head 4 miles southeast of town, on left, off of Sawmill Creek Road just past Thimbleberry Creek. Second trailhead is off Blue Lake Road. If the gate is closed park across from the Industrial Park and hike . mile up the road to the trailhead. Nice views of Thimbleberry and Heart Lakes. Bears often frequent the area of the trail in particular when berries are ripe.

DISTANCE : 0.25 mile to Thimbleberry Lake, 1 mile to Heart Lake. (one way). 1.6 mile to Blue Lake Road TH.

TIME : 1 hour (one way) hiking, 30 min biking. Two hours to do loop back along Sawmill Creek Road separated path.

TRAILHEADS :

– Thimbleberry Trailhead begins four miles east of Sitka on Sawmill Creek Road.

– Heart Lake Trailhead is . mile up Blue Lake Road, which is to the left, across from the Industrial Park near the end of Sawmill Creek Road.

ELEVATION GAIN : 100 feet to Thimbleberry lake, 350 feet to Heart Lake

RECOMMENDED SEASON : Year round

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY : Easy to moderate. Trail has been recently re-finished and is a bit less steep from the south trailhead, though both offer a nice reward after a short climb. Bears may be present.

TRAIL MANAGEMENT AGENCY : City and Borough of Sitka


 

ACCESS

TWO TRAILHEADS:

Thimbleberry Trailhead: The trail begins about 4 miles southeast of Sitka on Sawmill Creek Road. Cross Thimbleberry creek Bridge (watch for sign) and immediately to your left is a trailhead sign and parking area.

A separated bike path and bike lanes will get you from downtown to the Thimbleberry trailhead.

Heart Lake Trailhead: Access from Blue Lake Road is about 5 miles east of Sitka. At mile 5.5 on Sawmill Creek Road across from the pulp mill, turn left onto the uphill gravel

road. Blue Lake Road is closed in the winter and maybe closed during project or road work. Call the City and Borough Electric Department for updates.

Once at the Blue Lake Road trailhead, bicycles and hikers can continue up Blue Lake Road for more views and good riding. The next trail up the valley is the Beaver Lakes Hiking Trail.

DESCRIPTION

The trail climbs rapidly through a hemlock-spruce forest for about an eighth of a mile, to the left below the bridge is Thimbleberry Falls. After a few switchbacks and bridges, follows a power line corridor to Thimbleberry Lake. The distance to the lake is an easy .25 miles. A small dock and a skate changing area is at the lake outlet. In the winter it is a favorite skating spot although it can be quite windy. The lakeshore is fairly accessible. Fishing for trout is fair, with the best spot being at the northeast end of the lake, near the inlet stream.

The trail continues along the north and east sides of the lake following the power line corridor. Follow the trail up and over a somewhat steep rise about a half mile further to Heart Lake. There is a small dock and a rowboat (oars should be there, but BYO lifejackets.) Heart Lake is a local swimming hole in the summer and a great skating spot in the winter. The trail continues around the south end of Heart Lake, splashes across a small stream, and continues down a steep grade to Blue Lake Road.

OTHER SOURCES

US Forest Service trails site.
 http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=79142&actid=50

Sitka Through 4 Seasons.
http://www.travelsitka.com/