Hiking the Homestead Trail
Hiking in Homer, Alaska

Finding Your Path in the Sun

When It's Time To Take A Hike

The Homer area features a variety of trails appropriate for any level of hiker. From the beaches to the hills, hikers have the opportunity to view the surrounding areas firsthand. Kachemak Bay State Park offers trails that lead to glaciers and secluded campsites, while the Homer area features many exciting and educational paths. All these trails share a sampling of nature that is unmatched in beauty. Hikers are encouraged to use caution and safety at all times.

This guide may help you in choosing a trail that suits your level of ability and time limits. Alaska Road and Recreation Maps publishes an excellent map of the Kachemak Bay region that depicts all of the following trails. This can be purchased at businesses in Homer and is essential for avid hikers.

When hiking please respect the environment during your journeys and remember that others will be using these trails also. If you drive to a trail, please park only in designated areas and respect private property. Also, please stay on the paths. Straying from these trails may take you onto private lands or disrupt the natural environment and ecology. Finally, be aware of your trash and make sure to bring back anything that you bring in. By following these guidelines hikers can be assured that these trails will retain their beauty and enjoyment.

Homer Area

Homestead Trail: (est. 6.7 miles/Moderate difficulty)
The most recommended hike in Homer, the Homestead Trail winds from the top of Baycrest Hill, crosses Diamond Ridge Road and follows Crossman Ridge to the Bridge Creek Reservoir. Winding through forests, meadows and over streams, this marked and maintained trail serves as an excellent family outing. Following this path hikers experience a variety of animals, birds and plant life native the the Homer area. The trail begins at Roger's Loop Road, Rucksack Drive or the Bridge Creek Reservoir. Roger's Loop Road is located north of Homer on the Sterling Highway across from the Bay View Motel. A trailhead sign and parking area are situated less than a mile up this gravel road. The trail begins through the Demonstration Forest and on toward the Reuben Call Memorial and Diamond Ridge Road. This 2.5 mile section offers incredible views of Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay, as well as a rest area at the memorial site, named after Homer's beloved hiker.

Another trailhead sign and parking area are present where the trail crosses Diamond Ridge Road at Rucksack. Hikers may drive to this point by following West Hill Road to the Diamond Ridge intersection and turning left. Two miles along, hikers will find this trailhead from which you may hike in either direction.

Continuing across Diamond Ridge Road, the trail drops down into Bridge Creek Drainage passing through both meadow and forest areas. The trail crosses Bridge Creek and takes hikers up to the Crossman Ridge Road. This road follows Crossman Ridge through lush forest and then drops down to the Bridge Creek Reservoir, the endpoint of the trail. If you wish to start from this end, the trailhead is located 3/4 miles east of the West Hill intersection.

Maps of the trail are available at both of the trail head signs and give information about plant and animal life along the hike.

Bishop's Beach Hike: (Variable length/easy)
For people interested in tidal life and incredible views of Kachemak Bay, Bishop's Beach affords an excellent opportunity.

To get to the beach, turn toward the ocean on Main Street from the Sterling Hwy. Turn left at Bunnell Avenue and right at Beluga Avenue where you'll find parking next to the beach and a covered picnic area. From here hikers can walk either east or west down the beach.

At about seven miles due west you'll come to Diamond Creek and up to the Sterling Highway about four miles from Homer. A short walk to the east will bring you to the Beluga Slough, which may prevent you from hiking any further. It is possible to pass during extremely low tides, but is not recommended.

At low and minus tides, tidepools hold a variety of interesting creatures and plant life. Along the beach different species of birds can also be seen.

Be sure to dress warmly, rubber boots are recommended but not necessarily required. Tide pools hold a variety of creatures for the hiker to examine. Snails, lichens, starfish and hermit crabs use these pools as temporary shelters. Sand Pipers and Herring Gulls wander along the tideline looking for edible delicacies. Hikers are encouraged to replace any rocks that they turn over while looking in tidepools so as not to disrupt these delicate environments. Don't forget to stop and take in the view of Kachemak Bay and Mount Augustine, Homer's closest active volcano.

This can be an enjoyable and educational hike that will appeal to small children and adults alike. However, the incoming tide can be hazardous to those who travel very far down the beach. Therefore hikers should keep an eye on the rising water and the distance you have traveled. Before leaving check the tide table on page 4 of the Homer Tribune or pick up a free tide book at local businesses. It is also recommended that you bring an identification book or manual for information about your findings.

Kachemak Bay State Park

The Kachemak Bay State comprises 300,000 acres a is one of the largest coastal parks in the United States. The park's trail system is situated around Halibut Cove and the Halibut Cove Lagoon. There are trails catering to all levels of hikers and campsites for those who wish to stay overnight. A public-use cabin is available to rent near Halibut Cove lagoon and is situated on the bluff above the floating dock. Call 1-800-770-2257, (907) 262-5581 or (907) 235-7024 for reservations or more information. The Southern District Ranger Station is about four miles west of Homer on the Sterling Highway and has maps, brochures and information on hiking trails in the Kachemak State Park. Call 235-7024 or write Kachemak Bay State Park, P.O. Box 3248, Homer, AK 99603. However these trails are generally not maintained and may be hidden or wet in places. River crossings are also possible so plan your hike keeping previous and current weather in mind.

Homer offers multiple water taxi services that will take you across the Kachemak Bay and pick you up at a prearranged time. A map is highly recommended for any hiking done on this system, as is the appropriate clothing and footwear. Difficulty ratings are taken from the Alaska State Parks Brochure.

Grewink Glacier Trail: (3.5 miles/Easy)
This is an excellent scenic hike over primarily flat terrain. There is a campsite close to the trail head and another nearby on Right Beach. In the summer months commercial fishing operations may be seen seining for salmon next to the beach and offer interesting viewing and photo opportunities.

This trail leads across Grewink Creek flats and up to the glacier drainage. Glacier ice may be obtainable but reaching the glacier itself is difficult and hazardous. Hikers will enjoy very close views of the glacier as well as Kachemak Bay.

This trail connects with the other trails in the system via the Saddle Trail (1 mile/Moderate) which leads hikers through a notch, or "saddle" in the surrounding hills.

China Poot Lake Trail: (2.5 miles/Easy to Moderate)
This trail features campsites at its trailhead and along the bank of China Poot Lake. The trail heads through spruce forest and bog as it passes by three different lakes. It also offers hikers a wonderful opportunity to glimpse wildlife wandering around the lakes and fresh water birds that make their summer home here.

The China Poot Lake Trail also accesses Wosnesenski Trail (2 miles/Easy to Moderate) and Poot Peak Trail (1.5 miles/Difficult). Wosnesenski Trail follows the shore of lakes and accesses good camping spots. It ends at the Wosnesenski River which flows west to Neptune Bay. The Poot Peak Trail is a steep climb up Poot Peak trail and can be treacherous and slick. However, once hikers have climbed above the timberline they have views of both Wosnesenski Glacier and Kachemak Bay.

The China Poot Lake Trail also forks into the Lagoon Trail.

Lagoon Trail: (5.5 miles/Moderate to Difficult)
This trail also begins at the head of Halibut Cove Lagoon. It can be accessed from the public dock or from the China Poot Lake Trailhead and heads uphill eight hundred feet. From there the trail follows the forested ridge paralleling Halibut Creek either by finding a shallow point in the river or walking across the delta at low tide. The trail then resumes at the Halibut Creek Trailhead, branching to the North. From here the trail continues along the ridge at five hundred feet until it meets the Alpine Ridge Trail.

Branching off at the Lagoon Trail, both the Alpine Ridge Trail (2 miles/Difficult) and the Goat Rope

Spur Trail (.5 miles/Difficult)
head uphill above the timberline. Both trails offer spectacular views of Kachemak Bay, Grewink Glacier and the surrounding areas. However these two trails cross difficult terrain that can be steep and slick when wet.

Seldovia Otterbahn Trail: (1.15 mi/Moderate)
The Seldovia Otterbahn is a revamping of the old coastal trail of the 1930's. The current trail runs from the Susan B.. English School inland to the salt water lagoon before heading westerly to the surrounding beaches. It then follows the coastline around to the Outside beach and ends at the Wilderness Park RV area. The Outside Beach portion of the hike can only be accesses at low tide along the beach so appropriate footwear and tide information should be on the hiker's list.

The trail offers a look at the city as well as beautiful scenery of the lower Cook Inlet area. Points of interest include the Boat Knee Trees (explained on the trail map) and the Limestone Quarry. Numerous plants and animals are also present for the observant hiker. The bluff section and Quarry areas, while offering particularly good viewing points, involve some dangerous footing and hikers should proceed with caution.

However this trail is a wonderful hike through the Seldovia area as well as a cross-country ski trail for the winter months.

Climbers Conquer Poot Peak- A Personal Account

This guide brought to you by The Homer Tribune. Publisher: Jane M. Pascall. Voice (907)235-3714, Fax (907)235-3716 E-mail: info@homertribune.com, 601 E. Pioneer Ave., Suite 109, Homer, AK 99603.

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