Another good half-day hike in the Kenai Peninsula area featuring spectacular views of the Kenai Mountains, the Cook Inlet and if you’re lucky, Denali to the north. One of fastest hikes to the alpine zone in the Kenai Peninsula – and your thighs will feel it! The Skyline Trail is STEEP. Good Lord. The average elevation gain doesn’t seem like the steepest, but some of the sections must have been approaching 90 degrees using the powers of guesstimation.

Trip Information

  • Round Trip: 3ish miles
  • Start elevation: 200 feet
  • End elevation: 2,500 feet
  • Elevation gain: 2,300 feet
  • Trail head: located northwest of the Sterling Highway at mile 61. Park in the small lot on the south side of the road. Cross the road and walk ~100 meters west to reach the trail head.

Remember – be bear aware! Make noise around blind corners and carry bear spray or other protection.

The Hike

I found a lot of these Kenai hikes via a trail guide obtained from the public library – 50 Hikes in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula by Taz Tally. As it was a little more difficult to find Alaska trail information online (compared with hikes in Colorado and Utah), this guide was very helpful.

Anyways, the book said this for the hike:

The trail is very steep so keep your body weight out away from the earth of the trail…leaning outward as you climb actually helps you maintain good frictional contact with the slope. You are pressing your body weight down through your feet into the hillside rather than causing yourself to slide parallel with it.

…OK? I haven’t seen too many hikes that tell you how to position your body so that you don’t tumble and slide all the way to the bottom.

Like this except it's me on sharp rocks and the dogs are actually grizzly bears.
Like this except it’s me on loose sharp rocks diving headfirst down a giant hill and the dogs are actually grizzly bears.

The first half of the hike is through aspen groves and stands of spruce and willow. I.e. SHADE. The sun being up for 22 hours of the day makes it pretty hot and humid by mid-morning.

Alaska Kenai Peninsula Skyline trail
Emerging from the Alaskan jungle.

After approximately 1 mile and 2,000 feet of elevation gain we reached the saddle between two peaks on the ridge.

Alaska Kenai Peninsula Skyline trail
Skyline trail ridge line.
Alaska Kenai Peninsula Skyline trail
Hey.

We reached the kind-of summit, as in there is no distinct end to the trail. You can actually continue hiking east for the traverse to Upper Fuller Lake.

Alaska Kenai Peninsula Skyline trail
Kinda near the summit? It was hard to tell.

The 360 degree views were incredible, especially the view south toward Kenai Lake.

Alaska Kenai Peninsula Skyline trail
View toward the south.

We called it good, ate our cheese+cracker lunch, and headed back down.

Alaska Kenai Peninsula Skyline trail
Ready for a good ole tumble down.

We got back to the car with no new injuries. Success!

The end.

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