Gull Rock Trail, Hope, Alaska
A 5.7 mile hiking trail along the south shore of Turnagain Arm from the end of the Hope Highway to a rocky peninsula. This trail has gradual ups and downs with occasional short, steep sections and travels through spruce/birch forest with numerous openings affording views overlooking Turnagain Arm and mountains beyond. This trail usually becomes snow free by early May. At Mile 56.5 Seward Highway turn west onto Hope Highway. Drive 17.8 miles to Porcupine Campground. Trail starts at the far northwest end of the campground. Trail is suitable for family outings and day hiking. The hiker may see evidence of an old wagon road this trail follows. Ruins of an old sawmill site and remains of a cabin and stable can be seen from Johnson Creek. For the first 2 miles cross-country skiing is possible. Porcupine Campground is the best place for camping because there are no good sites near the trail, but there are several at the end. Raspberries can be found along the trail. NOT RECOMMENDED for BICYCLES or HORSES.
Trail is very scenic as it parallels Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet (well above high tide). Trail passes through diverse vegetation: birch-aspen woods; alder-choked gullies; spruce forests; tundra with tiny spruce, mosses, low cranberry bushes, hemlock forests with a carpet of moss. Many breaks in the woods offer views of Turnagain Arm, the shoreline, and Mt. McKinley (on clear days). The destination, Gull Rock, which is on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Land, protrudes into the water and offers many nooks and crannies to explore.
Wildlife in the area includes moose, bear, white beluga whale, and many birds. Hunting in the area is limited. Review Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) hunting and fishing regulations. There are no fishing opportunities.
Do not venture onto the tidal flats. The glacial mud is like quicksand and can trap the unwary hiker. This type of situation has led to drowning as the high tide moves in. During high winds this trail should be avoided due to the large number of beetle killed spruce trees the entire distance to Gull Rock. Fire danger is high at all times because of dead trees.
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge boundary begins at mile 5 and continues to the rock. Though there used to be a trail that continued to the Mystery Creek Road it has not been maintained for many years and travel would be extremely difficult through dense brush and fallen trees.
Use caution with bear and moose. Giardia (a microscopic parasite that can infect warm-blooded animals and humans) could be present in all open water sources, filter surface water before drinking. Winter travel may be hazardous due to avalanches and white out conditions. Winter travelers need to be able to evaluate avalanche hazards. Be prepared for rapid weather changes. Remember to pack out your trash. You can contact a U.S. Forest Service office to receive more detailed information on safety precautions and Leave No Trace outdoor skills and ethics.
2016ACTIVITIESAlaskaChugach National ForestCook InletGull Rock TrailHikingHopeHope AlaskaJuneKenai MountainsKenai PeninsulaNorth AmericaPhotoPhotographPhotographyPhotosPlacesSummerTown of HopeTurnagain ArmUSAUnited States