A panoramic view from the summit of Bear Mountain Trail. Hinton's Knob divides Skilak Lake into two sections. Skilak Lookout and Vista trails climb up opposite sides of Hinton's Knob. Photo by Nick Longobardi/USFWS.

A panoramic view from the summit of Bear Mountain Trail. Hinton's Knob divides Skilak Lake into two sections. Skilak Lookout and Vista trails climb up opposite sides of Hinton's Knob. Photo by Nick Longobardi/USFWS.

Refuge Notebook: Bear Mountain Trail offers photo, berry-picking options

Is that expensive camera you bought last winter in hopes of becoming a professional photographer just sitting there collecting dust? Or did you just get a new smart phone and need an awesome background picture for it? No matter which device you prefer to capture pictures on, bring it out to Bear Mountain Trail at mile six of the Skilak Lake Road in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Bear Mountain Trail is one of the least hiked trails in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. For some unknown reason, it is easily overlooked. Does the name “Bear Mountain” frighten you off? While Skyline Trail has what seems like half the peninsula’s population on it daily, Bear Mountain Trail sits idle waiting for happy hikers to travel up her smooth trail. Being only 0.8 miles from parking lot to summit, it is a short trail with a fair climb of 400 feet in elevation, enough to get any heart pumping. The trail is in excellent condition and hardly ever crowded.

As you climb you will experience stunning views of Skilak Lake. From the top, on a clear day, you can see as far as Lake Clark National Park where Mt. Redoubt is standing tall and proud. You may spot bald eagles floating in the wind as you look down on the Kenai River and Hidden Creek deltas. You can watch from afar as ant-sized boats slowly make their way around Hinton’s Knob after a long day of fishing or rafting.  

Looking for berries? Take a hike up the trail with basket in hand. There are plenty of raspberries, highbush cranberries and blueberries for picking. Make sure to hold on to your hats though — the cool breezes from Skilak Glacier rush up the hillside periodically and blow over the peak. Not at all a bad way to cool off after a hike though!

So if you are looking for a new experience this weekend, head out to Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area and take a stroll up Bear Mountain Trail. Remember to dust off that camera — you’re going to want it for this trail. Happy hiking everyone!

 

Nick Longobardi is in his second season as a Park Ranger at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Find more information at www.fws.gov/refuge/kenai/ or www.facebook.com/kenainationalwildliferefuge.

A great view of Rock Lake from only five minutes up the trail. No need to try fishing in this lake - all you will catch are rocks. Photo by Nick Longobardi/USFWS.

A great view of Rock Lake from only five minutes up the trail. No need to try fishing in this lake – all you will catch are rocks. Photo by Nick Longobardi/USFWS.

More in Life

File
Minister’s Message: Who is this man?

Over and over again, they struggle to rightly name who he is and what he’s up to

A still from “Casting Maya,” a film about Ascension Bay on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is seen in this screenshot. From Pure Films, the short will be one of nine shown at the International Fly Fishing Film Festival on Aug. 10 in Kenai, Alaska. (IF4/flyfilmfest.com)
Anglers’ night out

Annual International Fly Fishing Film Festival returns to Kenai

Candy pecans make a sweet snack to enjoy on excursions. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Road trip reimagined

Candied pecans accompany more subdued wandering

Robert C. Lewis photo courtesy of the Alaska Digital Archives 
Ready to go fishing, a pair of guests pose in front of the Russian River Rendezvous in the early 1940s.
The Disappearing Lodge, Part 1

By the spring of 1931, a new two-story log building — the lodge’s third iteration — stood on the old site, ready for business

Viola Davis stars in “The Woman King.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)
On the screen: Women reign in latest action flick

‘The Woman King’ is a standout that breaks new ground

Artwork donated for the Harvest Auction hangs at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Auction, juried show to showcase local talent

Kenai Art Center will host its annual Harvest Auction this weekend, juried art show next month

Sweet and tart cranberry pecan oat bars are photographed. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Cranberries to match the bright colors of fall

Delicious cranberry pecan oat bars are sweet and tart

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Take a chance

The fact of the matter is, you can find a way to hurt yourself in just about any athletic endeavor.

Alaska Digital Archives
George W. Palmer (left), the namesake for the city in the Matanuska Valley and the creek near Hope, poses here with his family in 1898 in the Knik area. Palmer became a business partner of Bill Dawson in Kenai in the last years of Dawson’s life.
Bill Dawson: The Price of Success, Part 5

Thus ended the sometimes tumultuous Alaska tenure of William N. Dawson.

File
Minister’s Message: Plenty

The Bible story of Joseph in Egypt preparing the harvest in the seven years of plenty teaches us some vital lessons

A still from “Jazzfest.” (Photo provided)
DocFest could be the golden year of documentaries — again

Homer Documentary Film Festival returns for 18th year with solid mix

From left: Lacey Jane Brewster, Terri Zopf-Schoessler, Donna Shirnberg, Tracie Sanborn and Bill Taylor (center) rehearse “Menopause Made Me Do It” on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Applause for menopause

Kenai Performers’ new play takes aim at ‘not the most glorious part of womanhood’