By Jason Moore
August 27, 2009
For the recreationalists out there, have you ever pondered what is the most scenic trail in Southcentral Alaska?
Is it a hike in Denali, Bird Ridge or Crow Pass? Well, it could be the Lost Lake Trail near Seward.
Off the Seward Highway just a few miles shy of Seward itself we gear up at the Lost Lake trailhead.
A couple of friends, Steve deAlbuquerque and Jerry Pakonen, join us for the ride. From the trailhead you enter a heavily wooded spruce and hemlock forest.
For mountain bikers, the most challenging ride comes right here in the first mile, courtesy of big roots crossing the trail.
As you climb higher the trail flattens and you start breaking out of the trees. At the trail's edge is a sharp 100-foot drop.
"We're about a mile-and-a-half up the trail now," DeAlbuquerque said. "We just came out of the woods, the trail starts traversing along the side of this mountain. On the right here it drops off pretty good to the left and we got another mile until we break out of the trees and it gets real pretty, like the Scottish Highlands up there. Really nice, you'll be able to see the lake."
It's a seven-mile trek to Lost Lake, and the higher you climb the more rewarding it becomes with views of Seward and Resurrection Bay in your rear view.
"I've run this a couple of times with the Cystic Fibrosis Run," Pakonen said. "And you come up over the top here and you get a look down here at Seward and it's just awe inspiring."
"I'd say Lost Lake rides is the best I've ever done in Alaska, it's by far my favorite," DeAlbuquerque said. "I've been here three times this year. It's a great traverse, about 16 miles."
After six-and-a-half miles of climbing from the parking lot, you crest a ridge and Lost Lake comes into view -- still another mile away, but the treeless scenery is spectacular for the coast down to the shores.
"You've got to start a little slow," Pakonen said. "You've got some climbing, gets you worked up with a nice little sweat and kind of flattens out a little bit there. Nice little grade to it, not anything spectacular, and then you come rolling up over the top and you get this big blast this beautiful lake sitting out here and it's just incredible."
"You could do the traverse in about three to four hours if you stop and have lunch at the lake, maybe five hours," DeAlbuquerque said "The elevation climb is about a little under 2,000 feet."
The traverse would take you to the Primrose Campground on Kenai Lake.
We savor some time at the lake and begin the seven-and-a-half mile journey back to the trailhead near Seward, knowing we just did what may be the most scenic trail in Alaska. And aside from a couple hikers, we had the trail all to ourselves.
Be sure to bring plenty of water and food like energy bars. Or better yet pack a lunch for the lake.
Contact Jason Moore at email@example.com
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