All Hikes

Thimbleberry Lake/Heart Lake Trail

By July 14, 2016 No Comments

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


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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/