Kachemak Bay State Park Off The Beaten Path Tips by karenincalifornia
Kachemak Bay State Park Off The Beaten Path: 6 reviews and 6 photos
Snow fields on Grace Ridge, Alaska
You'll hit snowfields at about 2,000 feet in July on the Kenai Peninsula. On our hike down Grace Ridge, the snow was soft enough that it wasn't icy, but firm enough that you didn't fall through. (I hate it when that happens.) The slopes were steep, so my method required digging my heels in (which comes naturally to me). Or you can slide down on your behind, as so aptly demonstrated by Greg.
Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park
From the top of Grace Ridge are fantastic views of the Tutka Bay State Wilderness Park. It covers 400,000 acres and has 80 miles of hiking trails.
Tutka Bay, shown in this picture is a good example of a fjord carved by glaciers. This is the general area of our "successful" halibut fishing on day 3 of our stay. Somewhere in there are the 3 butt ugly buffalo scuplin that I caught, so ugly they scare you when you reel them up.
Grace Ridge, Alaska
Once we were on top of Grace Ridge, we discovered there was an easier way up on the north side that didn't require scaling up sheer cliffs. In this photo, my husband and son are beginning the descent. More distant ridges separating the fjords in the Kachemak Bay and the Kenai Peninsula are seen in the background.
Peak of Grace Ridge, Alaska
This is a better shot of the victorious mountain climbers at the top.
You might be wondering how crowded this trail is. Not very. This is a very remote area. We saw two other people and one goat/bear.
A goat/bear? No, that is not an animal native to Tutka Bay. It was one or the other. We couldn't be sure. It was about 300 yards away and hid behind some bushes before we could definitely identify it.
Top of Grace Ridge, Alaska
We made it - 3,145 feet!
We didn't have a flag with us, but we did have a camera with a timer.
Approaching the top of Grace Ridge, Alaska
At about 2,000 feet, the trail completely disappears as it gets into the tundra. Just keep heading up. The east face is the steepest, and that was the way we went up, not knowing there was a slightly less steep side to the north.
Here we are taking a break before the final difficult ascent to the peak. The final ascent required scrambling up the side on all fours.
Kachemak Bay, Alaska
Grace Ridge is a 3,145 peak directly opposite the Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge on Tutka Bay. On our first full day in Tutka Bay, my husband, son and I hiked to the top. The trailhead is located at the campground on the beach at the State Park, and the lodge owner's son-in-law gave us a lift by boat to the beach.
The trial is an 8.2 mile hike and the guide books classify it as moderate to difficult, taking about 6-8 hours to complete. We started at 10 am and were back down at the beach shortly after 3 pm. That included a lengthy stop at the top for lunch.
The first part of the trail has switchbacks through an old growth Sitka spruce forest. This photo was taken from about 1,000 elevation. The lodge is located at the very left behind the spruces, and the small islands in the picture are the Herring Islands.
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