Hiking in Kenai Peninsula Alaska
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Jul 5, 2013 6:59 PM Last Post By: trekker502
Jul 2, 2013 2:39 AM
Hiking in Kenai Peninsula AlaskaHi,
We are two women travelling in Alaska without a car in August. We want to do some backpacking on the Kenai Peninsula. We were looking to possibly combine either the Resurrection Pass trail and the Russian Lakes trail or the Resurrection River trail with the Russian Lakes trail.
1) Are there any shuttle services that take hikers to/from trailheads or is the only way to do this to hitchhike?
2) Assuming we'll be hitching, which of these options (trail combo and direction) is logistically easiest? Around Exit Glacier to Cooper Lake or Hope to Cooper Lake? (Or reverse for each.)
3) Logistics aside, which is the nicer hike?
Jul 2, 2013 6:55 AM
Jul 2, 2013 9:27 AM
Jul 2, 2013 1:55 PM
3August is the height of salmon fishing and bear season, especially near Russian River/Kenai River confluence; the Russian River Campground; and Cooper Landing, at the headwaters of the Kenai River at Kenai Lake. Make sure that you know how to protect yourself from grizzly and black bears and that you know the differences in identifying them.
I don't think that there is a shuttlebus to Exit Glacier -- you would need to take a taxi about 8 miles, or hitchhike. There is a shuttlebus from Anchorage to Seward, which can also drop you off at the headwaters of Kenai Lake, near the Primrose Trailhead (south of Tern Lake/Sterling Highway junction and north of Moose Pass village). There is an International Hostel located one block from the southern tip of Kenai Lake, along the Seward Highway. The Primrose Trail follows along the edge of Kenai Lake and I think it will link up with the Russian River Trail, then further west is the Resurrection Trail after you cross the Sterling Highway, south of the Russian River Campground. The Homer shuttlebus can drop you off at that trailhead, or pick you up there. I don't think that there are any shuttlebuses to/from Hope -- you would have to hitchhike.
The Visitors' Centers have maps of the popular trails and show elevation gains. You will be climbing up as you hike north toward the Russian River, then down to the confluence, then follow alongside the Kenai River for a while, then I think that the trail again ascends a slope towards Hope.
There are campgrounds alongside the Resurrection Bay in Seward and at Miller's Landing outside of Seward and at Exit Glacier. Be cautious with your camping gear -- there have been thefts when campers have left their gear unattended, since it is close to roadways and car transportation.
You will need to carry your food in bearproof cannisters and do not put it inside your tent at night. Be very careful of mother bears trying to protect their cubs and to feed them. There have been bear maulings along the Russian River when fishermen competed for fishing space with mother bears. Especially at night.
Jul 2, 2013 3:25 PM
Jul 2, 2013 3:46 PM
Jul 2, 2013 4:16 PM
Jul 2, 2013 6:22 PM
7Will hanging our food from tree branches be insufficient?
The black bears figured out that trick decades ago. Their top scientists are now working on the bearproof canister problem.
Wow, all these years I've been an idiot, if you follow the normal routine and hang the food properly you will be fine. I had no idea Black bears had top scientists, go figure!
Jul 2, 2013 7:30 PM
8I've had birds, squirrels, and humans pilfer from my hanging food a number of times, but I can't see why a bear would go through all that effort when the streams will be ripe with salmon.
Generally speaking Cooper Landing to Seward is more scenic than Hope to Cooper Landing. The road also gets heaps more traffic, making hitchhiking considerably easier.
I can't comment on those trails, but the hike up beside Exit Glacier to the Harding Icefield is one of the best day hikes in the state.
Jul 2, 2013 11:00 PM
9Hanging is better than not. Be sure to keep it away from where you will be sleeping and cooking (use the triangle).
There's a shuttle to Exit Glacier.
That route you are describing I think was part of a wilderness race some years ago where packrafts made the difference. If I recall, the northern portion was easier and the southern portion wet with lots of water crossings - but don't plan your trip on my shady memories.
Jul 3, 2013 6:45 AM
Have you ever seen a bear pass up an easy meal? I don't think that bears can comprehend the concept of "Too much to eat." A black bear has no more trouble getting a pack out of a tree than you do opening the fridge for a beer.
Jul 3, 2013 7:22 AM
11The only time that I have had a bear rip open my food cache was when I strung it up in a tree in Yosemite NP in Tuolumne Meadows. I did not have a metal canister at that time. Remember, toothpaste and other sweet-smelling things like shampoo will also attract bears. I think that it is the black bears that climb trees, not the grizzly bears -- good to know when trying to escape from one or the other! With one you play dead, with the other you do not. This week, in the forest near where I currently live, in Northern New Mexico, a black bear ripped open a tent with two women at night, even though they did not have any food in their tent. Many other campers nearby had strung bird feeders around the campsite and the bear went from one feeder to the next. The women were the only ones in a tent, the others were in RVs. The women set off their car alarm, which frightened the bear. The rangers then had to shoot the bear.
Sometimes banging pots and pans and shouting will frighten a bear away if you don't have food enticing it.
Jul 3, 2013 8:10 AM
Jul 3, 2013 8:55 AM
Jul 3, 2013 4:11 PM
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