“If you’re not going up you’re not hiking. You’re walking.”
The quote couldn’t be more true for the Skyline Trail in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. In a short 3.5 kilometres (2.1 miles) you ascend 820 meters (2690 feet). This is a workout – easy on the eyes, hard on the thighs.
Trailhead starts on the north side of the Sterling Highway just east of Mile 61 (the miles are marked on small signs along the road) close to Cooper Landing. The parking is a pullout on the south side of the highway.
The climb begins almost immediate and just keeps going up. Note! This is a hike where you don’t want to forget your bear spray, especially in the fall when bears feed on berries in these hills.
First first kilometre or so the hike is below the tree line, but as soon as you get up to the alpine zone splendid views open up. At the top of the tree line you will reach what is often referred to as ‘the Saddle’ and elevation will level out briefly before it starts ascending again. This is the only part of the hike your thighs will get a break.
We did this hike in September and was surrounded by a colourful fall foliage. The higher you get the better the view of Jean Lake and Skilak Lake.
Up here you understand why this trail is called the Skyline trail. The views over Kenai Peninsula is spectacular – on a clear day you might see Mt. Redoubt, which is an active volcano, to the west across Cook Inlet.
Close to the top the trail splits in two, one headed towards each of the two summits close by. There were no signs so we took the one heading west.
I suspect the official summit is the one to the east since there is supposed to be a orange box with a book you can sign on the summit. There was no box on the east summit, but we didn’t mind as the views were spectacular.
If you’re looking for hiking ideas on Kenai Peninsula also check out our hike to the Harding Icefield.
Hope you enjoyed our virtual fall tour to the Skyline trail and the views over Kenai Peninsula. Winter is soon upon us, do you hike during the winter season?