Fuller Lakes Trail- Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Fire killed trees near the Fuller Lakes Trail in spring of 2021.

The Fuller Lakes Trail in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is a gem on the Kenai Peninsula, but damage from fire and insects has left many trees alongside the trail dead. Wind and heavy snow has caused many of these trees to fall near or across the trail, making difficult hiking conditions.  The trail is inside the Mystery Creek Unit of the Kenai Wilderness Area, which restricts motorized use and can make trail repair and maintenance more of a challenge when resources are limited. Alaska BHA is looking for volunteers who would be interested in working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help with needed work along the Fuller Lakes trail. Clearing of brush, downed trees, campsite work, and other repairs are needed, the FWS will be able to provide all necessary tools if we can provide the people power. 

Looking down on lower Fuller Lake from a ridge top to the west of the lake.

 Accessible from the highway, the trail provides access to hunting, fishing, berry picking, camping and incredible scenic views. Sheep are occasionally seen grazing on the steeper hillsides and black bears may be spotted feeding on early green-up vegetation in the spring or mowing over a berry patch in the fall. The upper and lower lakes are both stocked with populations of fish, providing excellent opportunities for shore casting or packraft fishing for those willing to hike in the extra weight. Schools of arctic grayling can be found patrolling the shores of the lower lake and dolly varden are found in the upper lake. 

The trail is short, roughly 2.5 miles (and 1,400' of elevation gain) from the trailhead and you're up at the lakes enjoying the views, glassing for bears, and casting for fish. There are several established campsites along the trail as well, giving the option for a day hike or multi-day trip. At the far end of the trail you can hike up to the alpine and follow the Mystery Hills ridge west along an old pack route and connect to Skyline Trail. Don't expect to find much water if you leave the shelter of the valley, and be sure you know how to navigate.

View from a campsite near the lower lake. Skilak Lake in the distance.

If you're interested in participating in trail work along the Fuller Lakes Trail this summer, please email [email protected] or [email protected]. If we can get a group of folks together, we can do some good work and then head to the lakes for fishing and camping. Hope to see you this summer!

About Jacob Mannix

BHA's Alaska Chapter Coordinator. Lifelong Alaskan, angler, hunter, gatherer, hiker, floater and general outdoor lover.

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