hiking

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For almost 100 years, the Kenai Peninsula has attracted hunters of moose, Dall sheep, and other wild game. In 1941 President Roosevelt designated more than 1.7 million acres as the Kenai National Moose Range. In 1980 the Moose Range was expanded to almost two million acres, renamed the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and well over half of it was designated Wilderness. The area comprises the western slopes of the Kenai Mountains with their ancient glaciers rising to 6,612 feet, nine river systems (many originating from the expansive Harding Ice Field), and the spruce-birch lowland forest that extends to the shores of Cook Inlet. Unlike most of Alaska's wildlands, Kenai lies near Anchorage and draws scores of human visitors to its scenic grandeur (only 17 wildlife refuges in the entire United States receive more visitors). More than 200 miles of established trails give access to much of the backcountry. Hundreds of splendid small lakes are accessible through a system of canoe trails, including the popular Swanson River Canoe Trail. Fishing brings many people to the area, including fly-ins to more remote lakes. Motorized boats are allowed on the larger lakes but not on the canoe trails. Kenai produces an abundant crop of wild berries. Brown bears are relatively scarce here except in the less-visited places. Many species of mammals and birds call Kenai home. The howling of wolves often breaks the night stillness. Be prepared for insects.

One of my favorites that I hike often and think of as the most honest trail around. It shows you right off what’s in store—and that is steep elevation change. The map in here and several other places show the trail terminating with a 3mi round trip and around 2550’. That spot is in the saddle not the summit. If you go to the summit, it’s about 4.8mi round trip.

Wonderful views from the summit.

I love Skyline as it’s simply a wonderful workout trail with great views—and the traverse just adds to both. Super gorgeous and a great trek for sure. Looking at the ridgeline from Skyline, it is deceiving, looking easy and mostly rolling ups and downs. There is significant ups and downs that can’t be seen from that angle, but you’ll discover them for certain as you go.

The views start out amazing and only improve as you progress. Make sure as you head down the last Ridge to look for the little obscure marker telling you to turn down for the upper Fuller Lake trail. Turn too soon, you’ll discovery sheet cliff walls that are unseen from the top on the lake side of the mountain and have to back track—turn too late and your miss the trail, and discover the fun of endless bushwhacking through y’all grass and alders with marshlands mixed in. As you head down that last Ridge, as the trail starts to disappear, just keep an eye where you place your feet and you will come upon a stainless eye-bolt screwed into the ground with a lite green metal tag telling you to turn there—do so and you’ll hit the upper lake trail just before the trees and it then zigs and zags along the tree line in the tall grass.

Great hike, but plan your exit for a shuttle back to the other lot. I wasn’t able to secure a ride, so had to add the 5.1 miles at the end of the day walking the ditch back to the Skyline lot for my truck.

hiking
13 days ago

Good Trail, great view at the top. But very steep! Hiking poles would be useful, we didn’t use any but it was definitely more difficult. The hike down is no joke either! But totally worth the views.

It was a great experience because of the beautiful blue river I got to see, and during the hike there was so much suspense as we came across a lot of fresh bear shit and a paw print. I loved how wild and rugged and dense it was in some parts of the hike. The suspense and paranoia was worth the view of the river.

Lot of fun, definitely in bear country I saw a few fresh tracks on my way back.

hiking
2 months ago

Trailhead is across the road from parking area.

Fun hike straight up - sort of.

Some switchbacks and some very steep straight shots that are pretty tough if trail conditions are not right. Some nice covered area near the saddle. Good view of Gene Lake immediately below and Skilak to the south west. On a perfectly clear day with glass you can see Denali to the north east. I’ve seen it two different times, once from the saddle and once from the right hilltop beyond the saddle.

“The top” is generally considered st the saddle between two hilltops, but if you follow the trail up the hilltop to to the right, there’s a memorial plaque riveted into the stone and there used to be a waterproof time capsule of sorts (might still be there.) Some see this as the end, Continuing past this spot takes you around a horseshoe of up and down peak walking that is the Skyline to Fuller Lake Transition, and you come back down Fuller Lakes Trail.

Best advice? Hiking poles if trail conditions aren’t optimal- for weak-kneed descent,mainly. Watch what you grab on to help with steep areas-it might be Devils club. Trim your toenails seriously! If not you will feel it on the way down. Also, no matter what the weather is down below, it can get pretty chilly up top.

Aside: Kids from our church have taken trash bags up when there was still snow on the peaks on either side of the saddle and sledded down.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a great trail with quite a bit of a mountaintop experience, With some side Hilling just up above skyline as you head north east. Personally I recommend you go up to Skyline and come down Fuller on the other end. Skyline is very steep and the idea of coming down skyline after completing a long hike is very scary. It’s possible to walk down to the end of the finger South of fuller lake and intersect with the horse trail that leads down to upper fuller lake. But it’s also a challenge to bushwhack down through the trees and try to come onto the trail closer to the lake. It’s not easy but it can be done.

Most of the trail is exposed to the elements and it can get pretty cold, even on an otherwise hot and clear day. Also, there is no water available anywhere on the trail other than the beginning and the end. Please take plenty of water.

I consider this a hard trail. If you can’t make it up Skyline fairly easily, I wouldn’t even consider doing this transition. With all the “peak walking” you fo along the way, your TOTAL elevation gain will be over 5000 feet. That’s a whole heap of ups and downs.

hiking
8 months ago

loved it

hiking
8 months ago

This is a great point-to-point trail, it is not typically done as an out & back. On the far end of the Skyline Traverse, it hooks up with Fuller Lakes Trail and ends up following that to the Fuller Lakes Trailhead. Note that this is an extension, and ultimately a totally different hike and experience than the simpler Skyline up and down. I think a new page needs to be added, and this one needs to be updated to represent the full length of the Skyline Traverse, and to differentiate between two very different hikes.

hiking
9 months ago

The only reason I gave this hike one star was because it had had recent grizzly bear activity on it. In hindsight I should not have hiked it. There was bear "sign" right on the trail, especially down by the river, and it was steamy fresh--very unnerving. There was also mangled fish carcasses at the beginning of the trail, far before you reach the river, not to mention ten or so carcasses along the river. And the terrible smell from the bears was everywhere! The whole experience detracted from the hike and I didn't take any pictures or stop to enjoy the view. If bears weren't frequenting the trail, it would have been a great hike. I only did the loop from the second trailhead parking lot. It brings you gently downhill through thin trees and grassy undergrowth. It's pretty enclosed most of the way down until you reach the river. The mountain views from the river are very pretty, as is the rushing river itself. I wasn't able to complete the loop though because the trail was completely underwater for a large section and I didn't have wading gear. This underwater section was also choked with tall grasses, making it hard to follow even if I had decided to wade through. Another time of year may have been better to do this trail, when the river wasn't so full. Overall, easy hike, pretty views by the river, good shade and trees headed down. I was hiking alone, but I recommend going with a group of people who like to talk loudly! I talked loudly the whole hike, which is likely why I didn't see any bears, but it really took the joy out of hiking. Don't forget the bear spray!

hiking
11 months ago

Amazing trail! STEEP. The trail head will say 2 mile round trip. I'm not so sure that's accurate. Ever step is worth the views at the top though. Brin bug spray or nets if you have them. Also some good binoculars would be great.

trail running
11 months ago

August 13, 2017. We hitchhiked from the Fuller Lakes trailhead to the Skyline trail. We fast hiked the route over to the peak above Fuller Lakes. The route is obvious and easy ridge hiking when the viability is good. Our error came in seeing the Fuller lakes directly below when we reached to last peak and thinking the best way was straight down the mossy tundra. Turns out there is a cliff band above the lakes and we had to head back up and sidehill a long way to the north before finding a decent decent. By decent, I mean alder bashing. We ended coming out on the north end of the upper lake and hiking out. Took us just over 6 hours including all our detours. Before going, make sure you know the best route off the mountain above Fuller Lakes. I am not sure there is an actual trail, but there must be a better way than we found.

hiking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

This is an exquisitely taxing route if done in full.
Be in phenomenal shape with great knees, or don't go past the 3-1/2mile mark of the last peak of the main ridge.
The trail is infuriatingly hard to follow down from there to continue.
That's the first issue.
Then, once the final peak is reached, as you're going down the backside of the mountain, at about the 6-1/2 mile mark, there is a little anchor loop in the ground, that says "trail to Fuller Lake, start down now."
There is no trail from there, really. There is some flagging on a few shrubs that is hard to see, especially between them, and you have to go down a nearly 45 degree slope until you meet up with an also infuriatingly hard trail head, occasionally marked with more flagging in hard to see places.
Once on that trail it's rather overgrown, but usually followable. I had the benefit of coming behind a group, who were nice enough to beat the path a bit for me.
It's a long trek to the last lake of Fuller, but once there its easy walking.

Would i do this trail again in full?
Probably not.
Was it worth doing this once?
Yeah, but really only for bragging rights.

I advise only going so far as to the last peak of the main ridge and then going back. Thats still a 7 or so mile trek, and more worthwhile.
But hey, not everyone else has a body that wants to give out on them.
Don't be silly, bring poles.

I would definitely climb the first peaks again, those were great.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Great hike and is pretty hard!

hiking
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beautiful views even on a cloudy day. connects to a ridge to walk along. loved this hike. hiking poles are very useful, especially going down

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

The three star review says it all. Decent trail, moderate elevation gain, well trafficked and great to get someone outside who isn't in the best of shape. I'd like to bike this trail to the first lake, the downhill would be a lot of fun.

hiking
Monday, June 19, 2017

Good moderate hike.
Can make it to the first lake in about an hour at a leisurely pace, less if you're moving quickly.
Great camping spots all around the first lake, a few good ones on the last lake.
Fun hike to spend an afternoon on.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Super Rando, montée très raide des le départ!! Une vue impressionnante sur les sommets, lacs et même avec un peu de chance le denali!!!

hiking
Sunday, May 28, 2017

Did the west trail until the end. Beautiful overlooks of the river, moderately easily with a few steep rocky areas.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Did this trail last summer and it was absolutely amazing! The views were to die for! I was so sore the next day, but worth the work.

hiking
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

This trail is a typical Alaskan hike and the turnaround point has a lake (or 4 depending how far back you hike). Thus it's perfect to have your snack, get wet, and turn around to head back. We saw ducks, loons, and an eagle but no other wildlife.

Hiked this trail with a group of friends, absolutely amazing once you reach the top. It was a difficult hike, but the views from the top were absolutely stunning.

backpacking
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Completed my goal of reaching the top! On the way back down I talked with another hiker and I realized the "top" I reached was just to the left of the top with the box. It was heavy snow at the top so I lost the trail. Anyway, I ate my lunch at the top and it was so worth the trek. 3hrs up 1 hr down. I was worn out but in a good way. Beautiful day. Oh, I followed a ram once I broke out above the tree line, that was a treat! Go see the sights from this spot, totally worth it.

Monday, September 12, 2016

loved it

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Did half the trail to the top and back. Starting across the road from the parking lot the trail is steep but well marked. You will gain altitude quickly, level out for a short period above the tree line then another steep ascent to the top. Estimating nearly 2700 vertical feet. Plan about 4 hrs for average ability, bring plenty of water and anticipate 20 degree change in temp. Great hike and well the effort to the top.

on Fuller Lakes Trail

Friday, May 27, 2016

2 hours up upper lake. 50 minutes down. Spent a few hours in the alpine areas above the lakes. Nice place. I recommend hiring a local professional guide if you decide to go off-trail. Check out Kenai Backcountry Adventures

hiking
Sunday, May 15, 2016

Took about 3.5-4 hours hike time to complete entire trail, with a few small breaks to take photos and what not. View of mountains was absolutely beautiful, and a good way to get back into the hiking season with a moderate trail. Will do again before the end of summer!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Beautiful easy trail

hiking
Friday, March 25, 2016

This is a beautiful hike high a over the river for breathtaking views. Very easy. I definitely encountered a bear eating berries on the trail but he ran away when he saw me. Not heavily trafficked with lots of spots to pause, sit and view fishing row boats go by.

hiking
Monday, January 18, 2016

Great! Always a good hike.

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