Forest Recreation Updates

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useful links:

Cooper Landing Nordic Ski Club  |  Seward Nordic Ski Club  |  Chugach Avalanche Info Center  |  Ski Girdwood

Trail Updates for Glacier & Seward Ranger Districts-Eastern Kenai Peninsula, where the weather is always good.  

June 23, 2014-Seward Trails 

There are a couple open water crossings on the "Primitive" Crescent Lake trail, one closer to the Carter Lake end, and one closer to the Crescent Cabin end. During spring melt and after heavy rains the one closer to Carter may be impassable, the other one you could ford. Once you are on the Lake trail it is easy to follow, it is a cut trail the entire distance. What makes it difficult is the narrow trail tread, many exposed roots, rocks, and alder/grass/cow parsnip in the trail corridor. This trail is only recommended for hiking. The trail is slated to be brushed this summer, most likely late July, early August. 

Seward Ranger District received measurable rainfall this past week, waters have risen quite dramatically. I was barely able to ford Martin Creek on the Resurrection River Trail last weekend before the rains set in, so, until water recedes, the section of "Primitive" trail between Martin and Boulder Creeks will be impassable. 

Johnson Pass Trail is less brushy this year, though the annuals (cow parsnip/grass) on the north will still be there, as the trail brushing started last fall has been completed this month. The rains have made the north 9 miles quite a muddy mess.

May 15, 2014-Seward Trails

I’m so pleased to once again be wishing you a Very Warm, and Sunny Weekend coming up! 

This is a light year for logging out our trails, our Trail crews are working daily and should have most fallen trees removed from the trails within a week or two. As this will be my last trail update for the summer, unless changing conditions warrant, I’d like to give you a basic rundown of what to anticipate for our higher elevation trails: 

Lost Lake-Primrose is usually mostly snow-free by the 2nd week of July, right now there’s snow 26-36” above mile 3.5 on each end. This area will be mostly snow free by the 2rd week of June. 

Travel across Resurrection Pass and upper Devil’s Creek usually snow free by the 2nd week of June will be mostly snow free before Memorial Day weekend. 

Johnson Pass Trail will be mostly snow free by the 3rd week of May. 

Brush/grass is growing rapidly, we have seen new growth on willows between 8-15”, quite remarkable already. It won’t be long before you won’t be able to see the trail tread when passing through willow/alder/grass sections.  

So, now that our trails are drying out nicely and about 2-3 weeks ahead of a normal snow year for melt, it’s still a bit early in some areas for biking, however, if you use good judgment and get off your bike in mucky sections I’ll tell you of a couple places you can get a jump start for riding right now: 

Crescent Creek Trail to Crescent Lake is dry. Larger than normal avalanche to get around at mile 3.5. And   please, stay away from the cabin unless you have a reservation, there are 3 accesses to the lakeshore so there is no need to take the trail to the cabin, (for all of our public use cabins, please be respectful of cabin occupants and do not intrude upon cabins that are occupied); Lower and Upper Russian Lakes Trails, some muddy areas from the Upper Russian T.H., has been logged out; Resurrection North to Caribou Creek and beyond. 

Beginning June 11 parking fees will be charged for the Lower Russian River Trailhead in Russian River Campground through August 20. You will not be charged a fee to park if you have a cabin reservation for Barber, Aspen Flats, or Upper Russian Lake Cabins. The Concessionaire will be charging for parking at Pink Salmon and Grayling parking lots prior to June 11.

Our trails open to horse use July 1, I’ll keep you posted through the CNF webpage for Trail Updates as it appears likely we may open some trails to horse use early. 

During your ventures on our Grand District please give our main office a call (224-3374) if you come across things such as fire extinguishers spent at cabins, broken windows, doors, etc….that we would like to know about so we can get maintenance needs taken care of quickly. 

Have a Safe and Wonderful Summer on your outings enjoying the Chugach National Forest!   

May 9, 2014-Seward Trails

Am I really talking about Seward Ranger District as we head towards another round of sunshine? YES!!! For your recreating pleasure here’s what you can anticipate for the coming weekend besides sunshine on SRD; Mosquitoes, muck holes, leaves opening, sweetly singing birds, critters, etc….. to help you remember what to add to your day pack now that we’re switching gears from winter to spring.

Review last week’s trail update for the drier hikes, you will still want gaiters for Carter Lake, Devil’s Creek, Iditarod (between Bear Lake and Primrose), Johnson Pass (beyond mile 3 to Johnson North T.H.), Lost lake, and Primrose Trails. Ice cleats can be put away until next fall, except for Fall’s Creek Mine Road, (ATV’s would want tire chains if you dare to go up the glacier in the beginning).

In addition to last week’s mention of drier hikes, add the loop of Crown Point Road to Iditarod, to Vagt Lake, this is a new loop hike where you can park your rig and not have to do a shuttle back, see attached map.

Resurrection Pass Trail System: We are about 3 weeks ahead for snow melt on Resurrection and Devil’s Creek Trails. You won’t need snowshoes, they are almost a hindrance since the snow is very rotten, with each step down, you have a step up with heavy wet snow loaded on your snowshoe. Hiking poles are immensely helpful in pulling yourself up when you do fall through to the bottom. Devil’s Creek Trail: Dry ground the first 4 miles with no snow in the avalanche chutes. You start hitting solid snow at mile 5. Then it is a slow, 1-mph snow slog, with occasional mud until the pass. There are some very large drifts where you may sink up to your hips, the attached photo was taken at mile 9.5 of Devil’s Creek Trail. Resurrection Pass Trail South: Cleared of fallen trees. The first few miles from the Trailhead on the Sterling Hwy. are dry, then trail turns muddy much of the way to Juneau Lake. Trail is drier from Juneau Lake to Swan Lake. Lakes are frozen and beginning to open a little at inlets/outlets. Muddy above Swan Lake Grade to Devil’s Pass cabin. Resurrection Pass Trail North: Trees have been cleared between mile 8 and Devil’s Pass Cabin. The remaining down trees are easy to negotiate around. Fairly dry to Caribou Creek, then the trail gets muddy and mucky in sections (especially the flat sections). Substantial snow begins near mile 17, from here it is a snow slog to Devil’s Pass Cabin with some intermittent breaks.
 

May 1, 2014-Seward Trails 

Happy May Day! Yet another gorgeous, sunny, warm day, and all is quiet in the woods as the vrooming of sno-gos is now closed until next winter season. 

Even though it’s been warm and snow is melting at a rate of 2”/day this week, our ground is saturated with water and the trail tread is muck soup in many locations and not too bike friendly. Please refrain from biking on newly snow free trail tread until it has firmed up and you don’t leave a tire channel. A few of the drier hikes right now are: Gull Rock; Lower Russian Lakes Trail to Upper Russian Lake; Ptarmigan and Victor Creek Trails; and any of the south to west facing ridge trails/scrambles.  

Have a fun weekend in the sunshine. 

April 24, 2014-Seward Trails  

Good Gorgeous Morning!!!!! This photo was taken outside my office this morning on yet another Glorious Day. 

As we get closer to the Winter Motorized Closure date of April 30 on Seward Ranger District the only remaining area/trail we anticipate staying open through April 30 is the Lost Lake access via Snug Harbor Road. Sno-gos will most likely be riding on some gravel upon leaving the winter parking lot, as some stretches of road are melting out faster than others.  All areas of Glacier Ranger District are now CLOSED to Winter Motorized use. 

Snow/Ice is melting at a rate of 1-2 inches/day in most locations, this weekend you can anticipate standing water, and mucky trails, gaiters are a good choice of gear. 

Just last weekend you couldn’t launch a boat at any of the boat launches to access Kenai Lake due to ice cover, that has changed for your boating pleasure as all but the Primrose boat launch are now ice free. This morning Primrose boat launch has approximately ¼ mile of ice before open water. 

The entrance gate to Russian River Campground is now open, allowing vehicle access to the Lower Russian Trailhead parking lot. 

The Lost Lake Trail Winter/Summer loop beginning at mile 1.5 either side has 2-3 feet of snow, not too punchy on the well packed winter trail to Clemen’s Cabin, quite punchy on the summer trail. Skiing still good at some of the higher elevations surrounding Carter, Johnson, and Lost Lake areas.    

April 18, 2014  

I think we are relatively safe in saying spring has sprung on Seward Ranger District, though we still have over a month before we’ll be free of the sporadic below freezing night time temperatures and rain/snow precipitation.

Winter motorized use on Seward Ranger District: Through Friday all areas except for Lost Lake, Primrose, Resurrection Pass, West Juneau, and Bean Creek Trails are open through Friday, April 18. Beginning Saturday, April 19 all areas on SRD except Snug Harbor Road access to Lost Lake will be closed to motorized use.

The entrance gate at Russian River Campground remains closed due to ¾ mile of icy packed road before and after the Trailhead parking lot. Exit Glacier Road is free of snow and gates are open to the Park Service gate at mile 7.

Bear Baiting is now open and will continue through June. Even though bear baiting stations are not allowed within ¼ mile of trails, roads, railroad tracks, Kenai River, and Kenai Lake and within 1 miles of Campgrounds, recreational cabins, and houses, you need to be on your toes at all times because you never know when, and where you may encounter a black or brown bear being lured into a bait station.

Alison from Glacier Ranger District has this current report: Snow is going going going fast, set up in the morning early afternoon Winner creek trail is still under snow, Trail of Blue Ice is half snow, half bare. It was 40-45 in the valley yesterday afternoon, light rain. I walked onto the edge of the lake, it was solid, but who knows for how long? Side roads are almost drivable, snow is soft and dirty. Portage lake is a light shade of blue; its ice saturated. Turnagain motorized to the north will remain open while Johnson Pass is closed beginning Saturday.

I’m going to the woods to look for the Easter Bunny, have a Great Weekend!
 

April 11, 2014-Seward Trails

We have closed Resurrection Pass Trail and it’s winter access trails (Bean Creek and West Juneau), Lost Lake, and Primrose Trails early, again to motorized use for the season. Please check this site before heading out this weekend to go vroom, vroom to find out if other trails are closed this week.

April 3, 2014-Seward and Glacier Ranger District 

Not a lot of changes from last week’s update other than a few more patches of bare ground and more icy spots developing on snow packed trails. Take a look at last week’s report and add more icy spots and bare ground.

Carter Lake Trailhead parking will be filled with rigs on Saturday, April 5th due to a local event, you won’t be able to find a spot to park. 

We’ve had another great week of hauling trail/cabin materials out to various locations on Seward Ranger District. Our sno-go tracks are heavily studded for traction on ice, and even then, we do slip and slide a little while pulling heavy loads. 

I discovered it’s much easier to bike the South Fork of Snow River than it is to ski it when there are no snow bridges. Instead of constantly putting on and taking off waders, I was able to wear them the entire time. Over 20 open water crossings (see photo) to mile 8 before the climb up beside the glacier. Sno-gos have been traveling to Nellie Juan Lake, but the icy trail beside the glacier requires the aid of others to help each other up. 

Here’s an update from our Neighbors at Glacier Ranger District: 

Portage Valley Recreation Update – April 3, 2014

Portage Lake is being well used by self, dog and wind-propelled skiers, walkers, bikers & runners, all enjoying the sunshine, snow and spectacular glaciated scenery.  For those of you who prefer to minimize your exposure to the effects of an ice-berg calving into the lake, the snow is fantastic across the valley floor.  All small ponds have smooth snow-covered surfaces.  The Trail of Blue ice is predominantly snow-covered and ski-able.  Some bridges are snow-free, while others have you teetering on a narrow berm of snow.  Skiing out to Skookum Glacier from the west end of Portage Valley is also reported to be excellent.  Looks like our awesome weather will be changing, so get some while you can!   

Enjoy the change in our weather pattern! 

March 27, 2014-Seward Trails 

As we near the end of this most magnificently, sunny week, here is the forecast for Seward Ranger District weather: THERE ARE NO IMPACTFUL WEATHER CONDITIONS ACROSS SOUTH

CENTRAL THROUGH THE WEEKEND. CLEAR SKIES WILL SUPPORT WARMER THAN

NORMAL HIGH TEMPERATURES AND BELOW NORMAL LOWS. 

The below normal lows we’ve been experiencing has allowed our thin snow cover to extend its offering for winter enthusiasts in some areas. Most of our trails at lower elevations will require travel with the aid of ice cleats on your shoes. The colder temps at night is hampering with the development of crust skiing or biking, you would think it would be good with all the sunshine we’ve been having, but it’s not. I found out I can ride my bike with kahtoola spikes on my boots, though it doesn’t help my bike stay upright on the ice, it’s  easy to dismount and walk icy sections. 

Bean Creek trail is mostly icy. 

Carter Lake trail is in good condition 

Johnson Pass trail is filled with moguls the entire distance and is quite the bumpy ride. 

Lost Lake trail from the beginning is icy, the experimental tracks are buried under the ice layer and are just now beginning to appear. Even the summer trail that bypasses the ice chute has several icy sections.  Conditions are good beyond mile 2.5 as you leave the Clemen’s cabin.  

Lower Russian Lake, we did not open the closed gate into Russian River C.G. last Friday, and it is still closed due to a 1-2” packed icy surface. Lots of bare ground and ice on the trail. 

Primrose trail does not sport ice in the normal areas near the beginning, though it does have its usual moguls. 

Resurrection Pass South via Bean Creek trail, park at the bottom of the hill on Slaughter Ridge Rd, this hill looks drivable from the bottom but there is a large glaciated area at the top, see the attached photo. Ice cleats on your shoes, and studded tracks on  your sno-go will be required to get beyond this section, more bare ground showing daily on this road. From the Bean Creek trail junction Resurrection Pass trail is in remarkably good condition for skiing, or fat tire biking to Juneau Lake. Juneau Lake to Swan Lake snow conditions are marginal. Swan Lake to Caribou Creek on the north is skiable. Between mile 3-6 on the north there is a lot of glaciated areas on the side hills, studded tracks, tires, and shoes are necessary for travel in this location. 

Have another sun filled weekend! 

March 20,  2014-Seward Trails  

Happy Spring to all of you on this fine sunny afternoon. 

I have made a new Trail Conditions mailing list, please reply to this email if you want to be removed as I know there are some folks who have not requested to be on the list, I didn’t want to chance deleting addresses I wasn’t sure about. 

It’s been quite the sea saw for motorized use this winter. With our latest round of opening/re-opening this is our 3rd one this winter season, see the end of this email for the run-down of our weather related motorized openings and closures.  

As of March 16, we have a frozen base of 8” in the lower elevations from Moose Pass to Lost Lake, and east to Cooper Lake, just a short couple hundred feet in elevation gain the snow depth increases tremendously, well, compared to what it has been all winter. Snow Depths are between 3.5-4.5 feet at Carter, Johnson, and Lost Lakes. Conditions are quite good on many of our winter used trails for skiing/snow machining except as noted below. We have been able to easily haul bridges and food storage lockers to a number of locations this week. This photo shows 20’ long 4” x 12” treated boards that weigh a gazillion pounds each that we were able to haul up Carter Lake trail on Tuesday. 

The West side of the District to the North, sports a thinner snowpack, but skiing or motorized use is still possible. Traveling Resurrection Pass trail on the south will require some walking with ice cleats on your shoes or studded tracks on your sno-go on part of Slaughter Ridge Road and a short distance on Bean Creek trail, you won’t want to take West Juneau any longer as there are a couple miles of exposed gravel on this south facing road. You can easily drive 8/10ths of a mile beyond the winter parking area on Slaughter Ridge Rd, park at the bottom of the steep hill to avoid sliding on the large glaciated area near the top of this hill. Skiing gets better at Mile 1 of Bean Creek Trail. From Juneau Lake to Swan Lake the snow cover is thinner but skiing/snow machining is still doable. Swan Lake to the trailhead in Hope is fair to good, lots of wind drifted snow through the pass. Note: Resurrection North by sno-go is for the experienced rider to the top of the southern grade at East Creek; from here it turns into easy riding to Devil’s Pass Cabin, Devil’s Pass cabin to Swan Lake Cabin is advanced riding.  

Biking will be good on Resurrection Pass South via Bean Creek to the top of the Swan Lake grade, and perhaps further, depending on how our sno-go tracks have set up. See note about parking and glaciation. 

The steep hill out of the parking lot on Lost Lake is icy, take the hiking trail to the right if you don’t have studded tracks. 

Lower Russian Lake trail is icy with patches of bare ground. We anticipate opening the entrance gate tomorrow afternoon. 

Our usual dates that allow for winter motorized use are December 1 through April 30. We work hard at opening areas/trails to winter motorized use, even though it’s a lot of legal paper work, and time in the field posting and/or removing closure notices, we do our best to provide you with winter motorized opportunities when the occasion arises, so please be patient when we need to work with Mother Nature and close areas/trails early. 

December 20, 2013, first of many openings this winter season to motorized use, except for Lost Lake and Primrose trails.

January 16, 2014, open Primrose trail to motorized.

January 24, 2014, close Primrose trail to motorized.

January 28, 2014, close all of Seward Ranger District to winter motorized.

February 19, 2014, open all of SRD to motorized.

March 1, 2014, close all of SRD to motorized.

March 13, 2014, open all of SRD to motorized. 

Have a fantabulous, sunny weekend! 

March 13, 2014-Seward Trails

The Seward Ranger District is open to snowmachines.  As of now we have a heavy base of 5-8” in the lower elevations, with more snow Just a little higher up.

The West side is a little thin, Take Bean Creek if going up Resurrection Pass South, West Juneau Rd. is Bare. Lost Lake and Primrose Have 8” at the Trailheads but quickly hold more snow higher.

The town of Hope and Resurrection North are a bit thin. Hopefully it cools off some and we get some more snow with the upcoming storm.

Watch for overflow on the Lakes. We need it to cool off. 

March 6, 2014-Seward Trails 

Good grief, yet another clear and sunny day! Last night’s snowfall amounted to  just a couple inches in Moose Pass and not much else anywhere on the District. 

All remains quiet on  SRD as we are still closed to Winter Motorized use due to lack of snow cover to prevent resource damage. Glacier Ranger District has closed Turnagain Pass to Motorized; Placer River and Johnson North remain open to motorized use.

Hiking trails are not skiable, hiking with ice cleats on  your boots is the activity of choice. Biking is possible with studded tires.

Driving our side roads is good in most locations except the last 1/2 mile of Slaughter Ridge road that accesses Bean Creek Trail. The glacier on the steep hill is not passable by a vehicle.

Resurrection Pass Trail is not skiable due to icy conditions and intermittent exposed ground for the first 12 miles on either end. There is a packed trail from Cooper Landing to Hope, we currently recommend hiking with ice cleats and taking snow shoes or skis to get through the pass if that white stuff should inundate the area while you are there.

Have a Great Weekend!  

March 1, 2014-Winter Motorized Closure

Due to unseasonably warm weather, including rain and sustained temperatures above freezing, all of the Seward Ranger District is now closed to over-the-snow motorized use.

Turnagain Pass, Johnson North, and Placer River on the Glacier Ranger District remain open.

February 27, 2014-Seward District 

Old Man Winter is slacking. Seward Ranger District is anticipating closing to Winter Motorized use beginning Saturday, March 1 due to lack of snow to prevent resource damage.

Even with rock skis you won’t want to ski any trails on SRD below 1,000’ in elevation. Skate and classic skiing is doable at Trail River C.G. and Divide, though it is a slow slog when temps are in the high 30’s-40’s. Ice cleats will be needed for travel when the temperature drops below freezing in a day or two, packed surfaces will turn hard and slick. West Juneau Road is down to gravel for the 1st mile and a half. Other side roads are icy but may get down to gravel soon. 

Do you know how to travel on groomed ski trails if you’re not on skis, especially if conditions are soft and mushy? Walkers, runners, snowshoers, bikers, please try and stay towards the side of groomed trails so as to not leave imprints in the middle of groomed trails. Bob A., it was so great to see you last night walking off to the side as I came barreling by ski jouring, thanks so much. 

If you venture to the Lost Lake trail you will notice four snow machine tracks laid out in the middle of the trail on the infamous icy climb from the parking lot. This is an experiment we’re allowing a snowmobile club to try. They’re hoping it will provide safer access over the steep icy sections. The big question is: will we have an opportunity to open again to motorized use this winter season to try the tracks out? 

Perhaps we’ll get an opportunity to ice skate on numerous local lakes once again soon? 

This forecast is for real; it was on the NOAA Alaska Weather site for Moose Pass, Seward:

.FRIDAY...PARTLY SUNNY WITH A CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW. HIGHS 35 TO 45.  

Have a Great Weekend in the Sunshine, or rain, or snow!

February 23, 2014-Seward District 

Good Gorgeous Morning, 

Just a heads up if you don’t have studded tracks on your machines you will not want to attempt going up Primrose or Lost Lake Trails due to the polished icy surface. 

February 21, 2014-Seward Trails and Portage Valley

Who was that woman who sent you a trail condition report yesterday? Anyways, the fat tire biking on the west side of the District that only received 5” of new snow is not too easy, at least for me. When I skied Resurrection South, out West Juneau Rd this week I just knew the fat tire biking would be Great, NOT! 

Some skate skiing opportunities to be had at Upper Trail Lake, access from the Lodge, this is much nicer now than the lung buster race last weekend, Exit Glacier Road, Mile 12 Divide, Bear Lake, and Trail River C.G. You may have noticed there’s been zero news since early January for Cooper Landing grooming, it’s due to lack of snow to adequately run the groomer, though, classic skiing is good (remember to take rock skis if you have them) in the locale. The accessible trail from the Grayling Parking Lot in Russian River C.G. down to the river is skiable. 

Kenai Lake appears to have totally frozen over patching the last open water on Tuesday, February 18. Ice thickness where I measured 15 minutes ago was 2.5 inches. 

Alison Rein sent me this update for your recreating pleasure in Portage Valley: PV Rec Update February 21, 2014, 10 am: 1⁰and calm; 3’ of snow cover, Portage Lake is white…..with overflow and snow drifts.  Plow crews have not caught up with recent snow storms; bring a shovel to make your own parking space off the road.   

Have a fabulous Sun Shiny weekend, preferably outdoors in the fresh air. 

February 20, 2014-Seward Trails 

Greetings on this gorgeous evening, hope many of you were able to get out and enjoy the sunshine. 

Skis are replacing ice cleats, however, rock skis would be the gear choice in many locations.

 The west side of our District has minimal snow cover. I would choose skis over walking, and fat biking over skiing. The ground is frozen and the snow did cover most of the icy tread surface. 

In most locations, except above tree line at Lost Lake and Primrose, sno-gos will be limited to traveling the trails as there is not a lot of snow below 1,500’ elevation on Seward R.D. Carter Lake has 24” of snow. Lost Lake has 36”. 

We restocked Clemen’s Cabin with several full bottles of propane today. The Lost Lake trail has many sled grabbers that tried, (and succeeded a few times) to throw us from our machines. In 2.5 miles I counted 77 obstacles (large rocks and roots) you have to keep a keen eye out for. 

Resurrection Pass Trail North received quite a bit more snow than the southern end, the glaciated areas should be covered in snow, you might need an axe if you’re traveling by sno-go to chip away at river ice that’s on the trail at mile 4. 

February 19, 2014-Seward Trails open to Motorized

Good afternoon on this gorgeous day as I sit at my computer overlooking recently frozen over Kenai Lake. Yesterday while sitting at my desk I spied out of the corner of my eye a lynx, I love my job, especially when I can deliver good news to those of you who like to go vroom, vroom. Seward Ranger District Winter Motorized areas/trails are once again open to motorized use.

February 18, 2014-Seward Trails 

Sno-gos, here’s a little riding for you at Turnagain Pass West Side Motorized and Johnson North via the wagon road, access west side of trailhead parking area. Currently these are the only areas open to Winter Motorized Use. 

We are monitoring conditions for Carter, Johnson South, Primrose, Lost Lake, Res. So, Bean Creek after today’s snow and will let you know what we come up with by tomorrow afternoon.

February 13, 2014-Seward Trails 

In the past week we have received enough snow to sort of halt ice skating, though it’s easy to skate through, there are many cracks in the ice that are now hidden and waiting to catch your blade and send you flying. The next Federal Land Manager to the West of us has areas of very good ice skating at the moment.  

Take a look at last week’s trail report, it’s much the same story today. One change is that the super slick glare ice roads of last week are less slippery, however they are still icy, and walking our trails still require the aid of ice cleats. Backpacking across Resurrection Pass Trail is the name of the game from Cooper Landing to Hope, though you will want to carry snowshoes as there is snow predicted in the next few days. 

Grant Lake mine road has been clear of fallen trees. Grant Lake had 15” of ice on it 2 days ago. 

There is skiing to be had on SRD, check the Seward Nordic Ski Club link, better yet, go to the site, become a member and updates on latest conditions will be automatically sent to your email. 

Alison Rein from Glacier Ranger District has a more promising report, at least for those of you who like to ski: The valley is back to more normal winter conditions with wonderful on-trail skiing.  12-16" of fresh light snow, parking areas plowed, continued light snow and cold temps (highs of 20's at most) should keep the conditions in great shape!  Don't delay, ski portage today! 

Tomorrow is the full moon, not sure if we’ll get to view it because it’s the “SNOW MOON”, and as many of you know, quite often in winter the day of, or the evening before the full moon brings a change in the weather. Before my kids were in school I planned most of our winter camping trips around the full moon so as to avoid winter storms, this worked well about 75% of the time, keeping my fingers crossed.

February 6, 2014-Seward Trails  

Good Clear, Crisp, Icy, day to all of you. The District remains closed to SNO-GOS due to lack of snow cover.

Today (2/6/14) mini glaciers continue to grow on our winter used trails due to lack of snow cover. My favorite piece of gear these past few weeks (besides ice skates) are my Kahootla Microspikes that have enabled me to safely travel over ice on any terrain.  

Gull Rock and Hope Point trails are mostly ice/snow free. All other trails on the Seward Ranger District at the moment will require ice creepers on your shoes. Even though there is no snow in the woods, and in some cases no ice on the trail/road for the first mile, our winter used trails/roads are icy. 

Many area lakes are skate-able; Tern, Bear, Meridian, Lower Russian, Juneau, Lower Trail, portions of Upper Trail, and many are not; Vagt, Grant, Trout. 

If any of you have checked the  http://www.sewardnordicskiclub.org/page5/index.html link I sent you will have gleaned some valuable information on a couple areas that are skiable thanks to the many hours put in by the volunteer groomers. 

Resurrection Pass Trail, as with all of our winter used trails, except Gull Rock and a few ridge trails, will be best traveled by walking with ice cleats until we get snow. Access to Resurrection Pass Trail SOUTH via West Juneau Road, Slaughter Ridge Road, and the Summer Hiking Trail have bare ground for first 1-1.5 miles. Though Slaughter Ridge Road is drivable for the first mile, I don’t recommend travel up the 2nd hill, you’ll notice a large glacier forming that is sketchy to drive, even with tire chains. The last mile to Resurrection Pass Trail North T.H. is icy as well.

Folks, if you travel to any of our Public Use Cabins and notice anything that’s missing or broken (windows, splitting maul, saw, fire extinguisher, etc…) please give us a call and let us know so we can fix it. Our main office number is 907-224-3374. 

February 14-16, 2014 is the 1st annual Moose Pass Winterfest.

February 6,, 2014-Glacier Ranger District-Trails 

Glacier Ranger District, Portage Valley Recreation Update February 5, 2014

There’s no snow on the valley floor, but we have skate-able ice on all the small ponds, and all roads are bare gravel.  Get it while it lasts, there’s snow in the forecast.  Portage Lake is not frozen as of today, so beware if it looks solid tomorrow!  The nearby wetlands in Placer & Twentymile valley’s are also frozen smooth and can take you miles away quickly on a pair of sharp skates.  All our ponds and wetlands have small openings created by gasses released when plants decompose, watch out for these hazards, and for moving water areas (inlets/oulets). 

Bryon Glacier Road is open to travel.  If you choose to hike Byron Glacier Trail, be aware of the snow still piled up above you.  This trail is located at the bottom of a narrow, steep-sided valley.  If the weather starts warming, snowing and/or blowing, the avalanche danger for people using the trail can rise quickly.

January 30, 2014-Seward Trails

Seward Ranger District, January 30, 2014 and all remains quiet in the woods as we are closed to winter motorized use until further notice. Wasn’t it just a couple weeks ago I said you wouldn’t be hearing much from me now because we are in full winter mode? Ha, ha, ha, ha, sorry, I lied.

I’m disheartened to report the Death of a dog just shy of his 1st Birthday; Reuben got caught in a conibear trap on the shores of Kenai Lake near Waikiki Beach last week, his owners were with him but were unable to revive him.

As of yesterday Snug Harbor Road was ice free to the winter parking lot at mile 9; beyond this the road was icy and not drivable. Last mile of Resurrection Creek Rd to the Resurrection North T.H. is a luge run. Slaughter Ridge Rd. is mostly ice free, West Juneau is free of ice for the 1st mile, then icy the remainder. Folks going overnight will do better with backpacks rather than ski pulks until we get more snow cover.

A tad over two months ago on November 22, 2013 Tern Lake had 12” of ice, any guesses as to how thick the ice on Tern Lake is today?

Hiking on any of our winter used trails is doable with ice cleats, biking is difficult until you get beyond the ice, ever try turning on ice while biking? It’s an accident waiting to happen; just trying to ride in a straight line w/o slipping on ice is a challenge, even with studded tires.

Snow depth at Clemen’s Cabin on Lost Lake winter route is a shocking 31”. The winter/summer loop is packed and will be even firmer today with the below freezing temperatures at night.

Lower Russian Lake had 14” of ice as of Tuesday. Take a look at the attached photo of an avalanche that came down twice in 2 weeks. The 1st time it came to within 15 feet of the Barber Cabin Trail and was an impressive sight. The 2nd time it crashed into the lake breaking the lake ice. I’m a bit puzzled as to why only two of the 5 avalanches that normally slide in the mile section (½ mile on L.Russian Lake Trail, and ½ mile on Barber Cabin Trail) came down, there’s still a lot of snow up high, at least in this location.

KTUU is looking for our local Avalanche expert, really, not for his upcoming class, but for his knowledge on Avalanches. Anyways, Alex McLain is teaching a free Avalanche Awareness Class this Saturday February 1st, 1-5 PM at the Seward City Library, 239 6th Ave, Seward AK. Topics covered will include Snowpack, human factors, mountain weather, terrain, and Avalanche Rescue (Beacon Search). If you are interested contact Alex McLain with the USFS, Seward Ranger District for more information at (907) 288-7710 or by email at amclain@fs.fed.us.

Ice skating on some local lakes is back, though, getting to the good ice may prove to be a challenge due to the moats that formed during the 3 weeks of warm weather. Today the moats on Lower and Upper Trail Lakes, and Tern Lake had refrozen to ½” thickness. Currently Tern Lake offers the most promising ice skating from the Day Use Area; access the lake from the second or third picnic site. Access from the Sterling Hwy. may be possible in a few days. The inlet has opened tremendously wide; as always with any inlets or outlets on frozen bodies of water use caution when traveling near them. Ice thickness today at 12:30 on Tern Lake was 14” and mostly clear with numerous methane gas formed bubbles.

To be added or removed from Seward Ranger District trail updates please send an email to: ilindquist@fs.fed.us

January 28, 2014-Seward and Glacier Ranger Districts

January 28, 2014 and all is quiet, Chugach National Forest shall not have the zooming of sno-gos as all areas normally open to winter motorized use are now closed. 

We will monitor all areas on a daily basis and when we receive adequate snowfall to prevent resource damage we will re-open to winter motorized.

January 23, 2013-Seward Trails

Tomorrow, January 24, 2014 Primrose Trail will be closed to winter motorized use, Lost Lake Trail remains closed due to lack of snow to prevent resource damage, and, Turnagain Pass Motorized side on the Glacier Ranger District is closing to winter motorized use today. 

January 23, 2014 brings yet another wet, warm, day on the Seward Ranger District. You will need ice cleats on  your shoes, and ice studs on your sno-go track if you choose to venture outdoors on the Seward Ranger District from sea level to about 900’ in elevation, if you don’t have these I don’t recommend travel until you get them or until we get snowfall. Above 900’ elevation you get out of the ice and into heavy, wet snow that is difficult to stay on top of, even with snowshoes.  

December 12, 2013 Crescent Lake had 7” of ice, any guesses as to how thick the ice is as of yesterday? 

To give you an idea of just how wet it is out there, Divide Ski area (Mile 12 Seward Hwy) snow moisture content at the moment (3:26 PM) is 43.5%, though Summit Lake is quite a bit drier at 25.5%.  

The Dale Clemen’s Cabin on Lost Lake trail is out of propane. Small BBQ style propane bottles in the 11-20 lb. range will work with the propane stove at Dale Clemen’s Cabin. When we open Lost Lake trail to motorized use we will restock the propane. 

There is an overabundance of overflow in many locations on frozen ponds and lakes. Yesterday Carter Lake had 12” of overflow. Crescent Lake had 1” of ice on top of 5” of water on top of 9” of ice. 34” of snow at Carter Lake. 

January 10, 2014-Seward Trails 

Seward Ranger District trails that are open for winter motorized use are hard packed still………..The lovely snow storm predicted last weekend arrived warm and delivered a lot of rain. Good news is that we have ice skating once again!!!! Tern Lake and parts of Upper Trail Lake out of the Ball Diamond are good for ice skating.

Lost Lake and Primrose trails remain closed to sno-gos.

Though there is little snow for off trail travel, on trail travel is good. Not much ice except at elevations below 700’ elevation. Above 700’ you get into decent conditions to sno-go, ski, or Fat Tire bike to cabins and lakes on packed trails.

Though you can travel by sno-go through Resurrection Pass via the North trail from Hope, you will still want to take a chainsaw, or at a minimum a hand saw. We’re working on hauling bridge materials, bear food lockers, etc…. while conditions are good and don’t anticipate going on Resurrection North for a few weeks.

Clemen’s Cabin is low on propane,  you can try one of the mostly MT bottles, hold it horizontally and shake the contents then hook it up. You can also try taking a barbeque style propane bottle with you. If anyone does this let us know how it works. Our first priority when we open Lost Lake trail will be to refill the 17 bottles of propane at the Clemen’s Cabin.

January 10, 2014-Portage Valley

Portage Valley has lost most of its snow on the valley floor; trails are better walked (with cleats) than skied.  Portage Lake has ice that has broken and partially re-frozen.  All side roads are ice-covered.  Ponds are frozen, but not smooth.  Wear your cleats and have a nice, quiet stroll in Portage before the next storm changes everything again!

December 31, 2013-Seward Trails 

Travel today, December 31, 2013, on Seward Ranger District trails is good on the following trails for sno-gos, thanks to a large number of people who have taken their chainsaws on first rides. Though, we anticipate these conditions to quickly change as we get closer to ringing in the New Year if we receive the predicted snowfall. Also please note that even though I mention travel is good, it’s only as good as the ability of the rider, many of these trails I mention are “more difficult”. 

Carter Lake to Crescent Lake. 

Johnson South to Johnson Lake via Johnson Creek winter route, Thank you Corey for going back with a chainsaw!

Johnson North to Johnson Lake via the Wagon Road, access from West Side of the parking lot.

Resurrection Pass Trail South to Swan Lake via Slaughter Ridge Road(limited parking for rigs w/trailers, or West Juneau Road.

Resurrection Pass Trail North to Devil’s Pass, limited parking for rigs w/trailers.

Upper Russian Lake via the Snug Harbor Road Trailhead. Travel via Cooper Lake is rougher due to exposed willow/alders. 

Still closed to winter motorized due to insufficient snow to prevent resource damage are Lost Lake and Primrose Trails. So many phone calls from folks wanting to sno-go in these locations. We don’t have a magic formula of how many inches of new snow we need to open. We’re hoping for wetter, dense snow that will adhere to the thin, packed icy trail surface.  

Grant Lake Portage trail has been logged out, we anticipate logging out the mining road this Thursday. 

Ice thickness on Upper Russian Lake on 12/30/2013 was 11”, and Cooper Lake had 12” of ice. We’ve been experiencing over flow on all lakes in various locations.

At the moment, snow depth in Resurrection Pass is 18”. Snow depth at Cooper Lake is 14”. Snow depth at Lost Lake is 24”. 

Continue to check the links I sent out last week for up to date conditions in areas that are being groomed for skiing. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

December 24, 2013-Seward Trails 

Thanks Cliff for the update on Johnson North (see the end of my report). I talked to some guys who made it to Johnson Lake from the Southern end via Johnson Creek Winter Route. Some trees to go around, most were easy, though some were not, they didn’t have a chainsaw, can’t ride off trail due to exposed alders/willows.

Resurrection Pass South sno-gos have made it to Swan Lake this past weekend but couldn’t get above the Swan Lake grade, skiers are going through to Hope.

For those of you venturing out further please send me your observations so I can forward to our recreating public.

Lost Lake/Primrose Trails remain closed to winter motorized use as we still do not have adequate snow to prevent resource damage.

Yesterday we rode in the wagon route (North Johnson Pass) and logged out about 1.9 miles…there were two of us so we worked until dark. You can get up to the lakes by riding up the first creek to the first bridge but there are detours around trees after that. The wagon road side is very brushy (alder) but we took out at least 10 big spruce across the trail. We made it past the fist slide path but did not get to the second (big field) before darkness.

Have a Very Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2013-Seward Trails-Sno-gos need Chainsaws 

If you are traveling in the following areas by use of snowmobile you will want to take a chainsaw with you as there will be down trees across the trail, some you will be able to negotiate around but there will be others that will require cutting.

Resurrection Pass Trail North from the Trailhead to M-17.

Johnson Pass Trail entire distance.

Grant Lake mine road.

Russian Lakes Trail from Upper Russian Trailhead to Upper Russian Lake (remainder of this trail going north towards Cooper Landing is closed to snogo).

Resurrection River Trail

We will begin working on these trails when we can after the Holidays. Unfortunately, our Winter Program has been cut 50%, instead of three 2-person crews we now have 1.5 two person crews.

December 19, 2013-Seward Trails

Good welcome to awesome winter conditions in many locations on the Seward Ranger District!!!

Seward Ranger District opens to winter motorized use on trails/areas that allow motorized use EXCEPT for LOST LAKE and Primrose Trails on Friday, December 20, 2013. We will continue to monitor conditions daily and will open these areas when there is sufficient snow to prevent resource damage.

Great skate skiing on groomed trails in Russian River and Trail River C.G.’s, Exit Glacier Rd, Divide Mile 12, last mile of Quartz Creek Road before Crescent Creek Trailhead from Cooper Landing, and Bear Lake, though last night Bear Lake area received 7” of snow, Divide 2”, and a skiff at Trail River and Russian River C.G.’s.

Plowed side roads (Last mile to Resurrection North Trailhead on Resurrection Creek out of Hope, Snug Harbor, Slaughter Ridge) are currently are in good condition for driving if you have a high clearance vehicle.

Winter access to Resurrection Pass trail south via Slaughter Ridge Road to Bean Creek trail has been plowed by the contractor removing beetle killed trees. If you choose to drive beyond the winter parking area keep alert for logging trucks and heavy equipment coming down the road. This contract is estimated for completion in approximately 2-3 weeks, until then the last mile of this road from the winter parking lot will be plowed making for a rougher ski. 

Now that grooming has begun across the District please bookmark these two sites for updated information on what’s current so I don’t send repeat information to you the rest of the winter.

http://grooming.cooperlandingnordicskiclub.org/  

http://www.sewardnordicskiclub.org/page5/index.html

For current Avalanche information please bookmark

http://www.cnfaic.org/advisories/current.php?id=

This website has a wealth of information from Summit Lake to Girdwood. Also, for more in depth information on Avalanche information please call Alex McLain at 288-7710.

Have a Fantabulous Winter Solstice Weekend!

December 17, 2013-Seward Trails 

Lots of calls on Winter Motorized Access opening on Seward Ranger District Trails. So, at the moment we are anticipating opening some areas this Friday, December 20, but not for Lost Lake/Primrose Trails, unless we receive quite a bit more snow before then. 

I’ll send a note out to the Trail Conditions mailing list and also will have it posted on the Chugach National Forest web page under Quick Links Thursday late afternoon. 

You may notice I say “at the moment”, or “currently” a lot in my trail updates because conditions can change quite rapidly in the out of doors. Let’s hope my anticipation for Friday’s opening is a go.  

December 13, 2013-Seward Trails

Happy Friday the 13th, may this day be eventful to you in many good ways!

Chugach National Forest is still closed to snow machines due to lack of sufficient snow cover to prevent resource damage. When we do open for winter motorized use this winter season, 2013/2014 motorized use is allowed on the Resurrection Pass Trail system, note: the first 3 miles of Devil’s Creek Trail from the Seward Hwy is closed year round to motorized use, as is the Summit Creek trail.

Ice skating is good in many locations of Seward Ranger District, anticipate this to change this afternoon as we will hopefully see the influx of several inches of snow.

Despite the lack of snow, classic skiing is good across the Seward Ranger District from Mile 12 Divide north, it’s strange though to be skiing amongst tall grass and cow parsnip, stranger to not be able to take our usual short cuts in various locations due to exposed willow and alder, regardless, it’s all good.

The slim skate skiing we had in Trail River C.G. last week is no more after the warm up that changed the rolled surface to hard icy conditions, can’t even gently push off w/o sliding. Skate skiing on edges of Lower Trail Lake is good.

What is unusual about our weather on SRD is that we don’t have much snow at our highest elevations 1,500’+. And, what snow 14”-24” is on the ground is sugary with no base layer making it very difficult to snowboard or ski down the mountain. Though, you can skin up and not hit the bottom, it’s not a good trip down.

While we don’t have much at the moment for snow cover, you will want the aid of skis or snowshoes if you are traveling above 1,200’ in elevation on SRD winter used trails/areas.

Russian River C.G. entrance road gate is now closed, it is 1 mile further to the Lower Russian Lakes T.H.

As of yesterday, December 12, 3013 ice thickness on the following lakes measured:

  • Upper Trail Lake: 7 ¼”  under 2” of snow. In areas of no snow cover the ice measured 9.5”
  • Carter Lake: 14”
  • Crescent Lake: 7”
  • Cooper lake: 6”

You saw the note I forwarded yesterday from Glacier Ranger District and the unethical trap sets, well, I’m very sorry to report that on the Seward Ranger District we have come upon numerous traps adjacent to roads, trails, parking lots.

Enjoy the weekend Blizzard?

December 9, 2013-Seward Trails

Good gorgeous morning to Everyone on this Monday. Though it appears there aren’t too many outdoor activities available, don’t let Mother Nature fool you. 

  • Ice skating on Tern Lake is FABULOUS!!!!!!!
  • Skate skiing on Lower Trail lake is good.
  • Classic skiing on Seward Ranger District is good.
  • Fat Tire biking on packed trails is good. 

December 5, 2013-Seward Trails  

Well, it is warmer outside, but boy did we get wet today in the rain and wet snow. Chugach National Forest is still closed to Snogos due to lack of sufficient snow to prevent resource damage. 

With our well below freezing temperatures this past week, any guesses as to how thick the ice is on Upper Trail (November 22 U.Trail Lk had 4” of ice) and Grant Lakes?   

Anticipate more slick and icy surfaces on packed trails/roads once again as our temperatures are above freezing. The snow off trail in most locations north of Seward is packing well and classic skiing is good.

Trail River Campground has been rolled and skate skiing is fabulous and fast, anticipate it to get hard and faster when temperatures hit 32 degrees or less. 

Russian River C.G. entrance gate is still open at the moment, however, we plan to close it at the next snowfall regardless of amount. 

The loop trail from Resurrection Trail South and out the West Juneau Road has been packed. This 8.6 mile loop is a fun ski and is best skied up the hiking trail and down the logging road. West Juneau road is 100 feet west of the trailhead so you won’t need to shuttle your rig. From Resurrection Pass trail the West Juneau road is on  your left 1,000 feet beyond Juneau Falls, if you go over the bridge across Juneau Creek you’ve gone too far. 

The Grant Lake Portage Trail has been packed and logged out, there is 12” of snow. The first 100’ of Grant Lake has 4” of ice, further out it looks as if other parts of the lake began freezing a couple days ago, there are many areas of open water on the lake. 

Upper Trail Lake had 4” of ice on November 22. We received 5” of snow on November 23, temperatures were well below freezing this past week. Today the ice thickness 150’ to the north of the ball diamond was 6.5”, the power of snow for insulation is amazing.

December 4, 2013-Seward Trails  

There are many variables for winter travel on Seward Ranger District trails that include numerous not recommended areas, numerous beware locations, numerous winter routes that by-pass summer routes to avoid avalanche paths, switchbacks, etc………These are all listed in the trail ROG (Recreational Opportunity Guide) sheets that include a basic map, they are available at the Seward Ranger District office, Supervisor’s Office in Anchorage, and soon the Glacier Ranger District office. In addition, the Chugach National Forest Web Page has a link to each Ranger District for information on cabins and trails. Though these are not as detailed as our ROG sheets, the basic information is there. Also, we post notices with maps for alternate winter routes at trailheads and bulletin boards in these locations; winter parking on Slaughter Ridge Road, Resurrection Pass trail south, and Lower Russian Lakes trailhead. 

For additional information and help in planning an excursion on Seward Ranger District trails/areas please call the following people: 

Avalanche Information:Alex McLain, 288-7710 

Cabins/Backcountry Treks:  IreneLindquist, 2887748                                                        Mike (Fitz) Fitzpatrick,  288-7714                                         John Eavis, 288-7701                                                        Seward Ranger District Office, 224-3374  

November 30, 2013-Glacier District Updates

All side roads and parking areas are snow-covered ice. Drive cautiously and watch your footing;

The Trail of Blue Ice, Byron Glacier Road and campground roads are great for skiing.  Most ponds in the valley are frozen and have at least 4” of snow cover. 

Parking is available at Moose Flats, Five Fingers, or the Portage lakeshore area.     

It’s Trapping season, remember to keep dogs under control to avoid getting caught. 

November 27, 2013-Seward Trails

Due to lack of snow on Seward Ranger District (also Glacier Ranger District) we will not be able to open to motorized use on December 1, see attachment. We will monitor our conditions daily and will open as soon as we have adequate snow to prevent resource damage. 

11/26/2013 Trout Lake had 7” of ice.; Upper Trail Lake to the west of the Ball Diamond a few hundred feet out had 6” of soft ice. 

Most of our trails beginning from the trailheads have between 4”-8” of snow at the moment, 4” near Seward, 6” near Moose Pass, 4” in Cooper Landing, and 8” in Hope. All trails have an ice layer on the ground topped with packed snow for a good base. 

All areas have glaciation at lower elevations, ice grippers are recommended. 

Skiing is possible on Resurrection Pass Trail South via Bean Creek trail. The 2nd large hill on Slaughter Ridge Rd. is glaciated, recommend either parking at the winter parking area, or if you choose to drive this road, park at the bottom of the 2nd hill. 

Folks traveling over Resurrection Pass Trail will want to have snowshoes or skis. 

Pulling a pulk is feasible on Lower Russian Lakes trail, the gate is still open into Russian River C.G.

November 27, 2013 Portage Valley 

All side roads and parking areas are snow-covered ice. Drive cautiously and watch your footing!

The Trail of Blue Ice, Byron Glacier Road and campground roads are great for skiing.  Most ponds in the valley are frozen and have at least 4” of snow cover. 

Parking is available at Moose Flats, Five Fingers, or the Portage lakeshore area.     

It’s Trapping season, remember to keep dogs under control to avoid getting caught.

November 22, 2013- Seward Trails 

Good Glorious Ice to Everyone! Though snow would be nice, we’ve got lots of ice on plowed and packed surfaces, in addition to various lakes. 

When our temps were in the single digits area lakes were adding between 1-1.5” of ice in a 24 hour period.  Prior to this when temps were near freezing the lakes were adding ¼-½”of ice in 24 hours.  

Here is what we have for ice thickness on a few of our lakes, please keep in mind this is just where we drilled.
Ice thickness on most bodies of water will vary depending where you measure due to currents, depth of water, organic matter, inlet/outlet flows, springs, etc… . If you choose to venture on any frozen body of water you should educate yourself as to the various quirks (potentially dangerous areas), and as with any outdoor activity be prepared with appropriate safety gear. 

  • Carter Lake: 10” of ice on Wednesday, anticipate it to now be around 12” with 20” of snow cover.
  • Lower Russian Lake: 8” on Tuesday, anticipate it to now be around 10.5”.
  • Lower Trail Lake: 11” of ice and 1” of water as of noon today.
  • Summit Lake: 5”-11” and 5” of snow as of 11 A.M. today.
  • Tern Lake: 12” of ice and ½” of water as of 11:30 A.M. today.   
  • Trail River Campground main entrance road gate is now closed for the winter season.

November 18, 2013-Seward Trails

Most of the land on the Seward Ranger District is public land, managed by the Chugach National Forest, and is open to trapping fur-bearers. Trapping seasons vary, but for many animals it runs fromNovember 10 through the end of March. 

Bait and odors used to attract fur-bearing  animals to traps may attract your dog.

Please keep your dogs on leash or under voice control to avoid having themget caught in a trap. 

Tampering with traps is against the law. For more information on trapping regulations,  contact AK Department of Fish & Game, Wildlife Conservation: (907) 267-2344  or online athttp://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=trapping.main

November 15, 2013-Seward Trails

Good Snowy Trails to you on Seward Ranger District, from zero inches in Seward, to over 12” at Summit Lake we have skiing! Snow is packing well for cross country skiing north of Mile 12 Divide to Hope. West side of the District received a couple inches of snow at 400’ elevation. 

Lower Trail Lake at 10:30 A.M. today (11/15/2013) had 3.5 inches of ice.

Jerome Lake at 11:00 had over 8”, as deep as the bit I had could measure.

Tern Lake at 11:15 had 6.5” of ice. 

Herman Leirer Road (Exit Glacier Rd) is now closed at mile 1.4 for the winter. No snow on this road behind the gate makes for a good bike, skate w/o vehicle traffic.

Russian River C.G. road is open and will continue to remain open until more snow accumulation. 

The last mile of Resurrection Creek Rd. to Resurrection North Trailhead is currently icy. This section is not gated, conditions vary quite a bit in winter, use caution if you choose to drive to the trailhead.

If you would like additional information on recreating on Seward Ranger District please call the following people: 

Avalanche information: Alex McLain 288-7710

Backcountry and Cabins: Irene Lindquist 288-7748; Mike Fitzpatrick 288-7714; John Eavis 288-7701. 

Enjoy the Wonderful Sunny Weekend ahead!      

November 7, 2013-Seward Trails

Amazing how quickly water freezes when the temp drops below freezing. Tern Lake froze over, again, yesterday. This afternoon the ice thickness was ¼”. 

At the moment (11/7@3:42 P.M.) snow on Seward Ranger District in most locations begins around 3,500’. While we don’t have much snow, we do have great conditions for grand exploring in areas that are normally difficult due to extremely brushy terrain that is now easy to navigate, and, an added bonus, many mountains don’t have the snow in avalanche terrain to cascade down upon you, this wasn’t the case earlier in the season but it is now that all the snow melted during the flooding rains. 

Gates are still open, back country trekking is a cake walk, and trail tread is frozen and easily biked or hiked. 

Seward Ranger District - November 4, 2013

Seward Ranger District's route for Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT) when completed will travel from Nash Road to Johnson Pass North T.H. where the Glacier Ranger District INHT segments begin. Eventually there will be one route known as INHT (with bridges across major drainages) that a person will be able to travel from near Seward to Girdwood on National Forest Service lands. Here is a brief description of the Seward Ranger District portion. 

Nash Road to Bear Lake INHT: There is a trail, several creeks do not have bridges. This trail is primarily for winter use, though you can hike it when creeks are fordable. Several junctions may confuse the person who is not familiar with this area and the network of trails leading to subdivisions and private homes in this location. 

Bear Lake to Divide: This segment of INHT is constructed with bridges, at mile 12 of the Seward Hwy. cross the highway and travel south 800' to the west side of the Highway for the connecting INHT trail to Primrose trailhead. 

Primrose T.H. to Mile 18: Not constructed. 

Mile 18 to Victor Creek: A 2 mile INHT segment is constructed and ends on the south side of Victor Creek, no bridge.   

North side of Victor Creek to Ptarmigan Creek: Not constructed, no bridge across Ptarmigan Creek. 

INHT from Ptarmigan Creek trail to Fall's Creek:is constructed, no bridge across Fall’s Creek. 

North side of Fall's Creek to Vagt Lake: INHT is constructed. 

Vagt Lake to Johnson Creek trail: is not constructed, no bridges across Grant or Trail Creeks. 

Johnson Creek trail to Johnson Pass trail north trailhead is constructed and will be part of the connection for the INHT.  From here the Glacier Ranger District has constructed several miles of INHT, again, no bridges, yet on much of the route.

Seward Ranger District - November 4, 2013  

Tis a good time to get out and enjoy snow free trails/areas. Trails are quite muddy in many locations, some trees are down across trails (take a handsaw if you're biking) yet it is still quite nice out in the woods.

Gates are still open on the following roads: Palmer Creek, Russian River C.G., all of our campgrounds for that matter; all of Herman Leirer Road (Exit Glacier Rd), and also the last mile of road into Exit Glacier NP is currently open. 

Forest Service gates begin to close when snow depth is such that a vehicle will get stuck, so, keep an eye on the weather and you’ll know when the gates are closed.

May 24, 2013- Seward Trails Update

Where snow has recently melted anticipate muddy conditions, Gaiters would be a good item to have.
North and East aspects have lots of snow at all elevations.
This has been an easy year for lack of downed trees impeding travel, replaced by deep snow instead in most locations. Most lakes are still frozen.

Carter Lake Trail: Snow free 1st ¼ mile. 3-4 feet of snow at Carter Lake.
Crescent Creek Trail: Snow free for 1st 3 miles, then snowshoes recommended to Crescent Lake. Crescent Lake is frozen and beginning to thaw at the outlet.
Devil’s Creek Trail: Snow at the beginning, snowshoes needed beyond mile 4.
Johnson Pass Trail: South end snow free for first 3 miles, then snow shoes needed as the trail leaves the lakeshore and heads north. North end anticipate snow all the way to the southern end.
Grayling Lake Trail: Patches of snow, travel w/o snowshoes is possible.
Gull Rock Trail: Snow free, trees have been removed.
Lost Lake Trail: Ice layer then snow from the Trailhead. Snowshoes required after mile 2.5.
Primrose Trail: Snow shoes needed beyond mile 2.
Ptarmigan Creek and Lake: Mostly snow free.
Resurrection Pass Trail South: Snow free first 3 miles then packed snow. Snowshoes not needed to Swan Lake. Beyond Swan Lake through Resurrection Pass to Caribou Creek snowshoes needed.
Russian Lakes Trail: Lower Russian Lake free of snow for first 6 miles (except avalanche paths) then snow. You won’t have to pay parking fees to park at the Lower Russian Lakes trailhead until June 10.
Upper Russian Lake T.H. add 3 miles to get to the T.H. Snow on the road begins ¼ mile beyond the winter parking lot at mile 9, snowshoes needed.

Have a Wonderful Safe Memorial Day Weekend.

May 23, 2013 - Spring Update

Open Campgrounds Memorial Day weekend:
Crescent Creek Cooper
South and North
Porcupine Primrose
Ptarmigan Russian River
Quartz Creek Trail River
Williwaw-Right loop only. The gate will be open late Friday afternoon.

Water systems are being tested and there will be no water service at the campgrounds for Memorial Day weekend.

Be aware of ice and snow conditions before heading into the backcountry. Using the backcountry involves risk anytime of the year. Avalanche conditions still exist even in the summer. Take a look at the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center website at www.cnfaic.org for Springtime Avalanche Tips. People aren’t the only ones eager to be out and moving around, be cautious, bear are awake and active.

Closed Campgrounds-due to snow conditions:
Bertha
Black Bear
Coeur d’Alene
Tenderfoot

For those of you just wanting to take a quick trip out-of-town, the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center opens for the season on Saturday, May 25th. The Visitor Center hours are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, 7-days a week.
 

May 3, 2013 - Seward Trails

Don’t shoot me, I’m only the messenger here to tell you we still have some good skiing in various locations on Seward Ranger District.

Skate skiing is good at Trail River C.G. and Mile 12 Divide, and the Old Sterling Hwy (there are a few glaciated areas towards the Crescent Creek side). Classic skiing is good from Nash Road to the Bear Lake subdivision accesses for Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT), Divide, and INHT from Divide towards Long Lake (wouldn’t recommend going through to Primrose, last 3 miles are difficult). 

Though we have extended the winter motorized opening through the weekend on Seward Ranger District, it will be tough to find much good riding. Access to Lost Lake from the Lost Lake and Primrose Trailheads is extremely icy, if you don’t have studded tracks you will not want to travel on either of these. Carter Lake trail is in good condition. 

 Have a Great Weekend!

 

April 30, 2013 - Extending Winter Motorized

We are extending the season for winter motorized use on Seward Ranger District through next weekend. We will reassess next Monday. In addition,  Glacier Ranger District will extend the opening through next weekend for Turnagain Pass and Johnson Pass (access from the gated Rd. on the West side of the parking lot). 

Skiing remains very good in all areas, even on Exit Glacier Rd. which has been plowed down to the ice layer. This past weekend we finally got conditions for crust skiing, this has improved skate skiing at Mile 12 Divide. 

April 25, 2013 - Seward Trails

Oh my, does it get any better than this for enjoying winter activities without winter? Yes, if it weren’t for the moguls on many of our winter used trails, despite this, conditions are fabulous for getting out and enjoying the snow. With the sunny days, below freezing temps at night, and not too icy conditions, you can anticipate a fantastic weekend for getting outside to ski or snowmobile. 

Russian Riverand Trail River C.G.’s have fabulous skate skiing especially around noon-2 P.M. after the hard crust has softened a bit, this timing may be a little later come the weekend as temps will be dropping into the 20’s Friday/Saturday. 

The Old Sterling Hwy. was groomed wider and is a good skate ski, more icy conditions on the Crescent/Qtz. Creek side but not bad it you hit this area from 1 P.M. on as it does get a lot more shade than other areas.

 The Iditarod from Bear Lake to Nash Rd. is a good classic ski, though the first ½ mile from Bear Lk doesn’t appear too good, it gets much better.

 Bear Lake has been a good skate ski if you get out during the early morning hours before the sun softens it too much, the east shoreline  to the end is a better ski than going around the whole lake due to less snowmobile traffic. But don’t be too late in the day for this as there is a fair amount of overflow that may impede travel after the noon day sun. 

Divide is a good classic ski after noon on, skate skiing is more difficult if you rely on poles much, even on the packed surface skate ski poles on the up hills punch through 12”+. 

Lost Lake trail is in amazingly good condition, not too much ice. Other winter used trails/areas for snowmachine travel will be good for the weekend on the Seward Ranger District. 

As a reminder, our trails that are open to winter motorized close May 1, unless we extend the season in some areas, we’ll send a message. 

Enjoy the sunny weekend!

April 19, 2013 - Seward Trails

And yet another Good, Glorious, Sunny Day to all of you!!!! Though we have the sunshine, we also have had very few hours each day of well above freezing temps. The freeze/thaw has affected only the top 2” of snow in most areas on Seward Ranger District. This has turned all our winter used packed trails into hard, slick (not icy, but fast for skiing) surfaces. Even so, skiing remains good especially if you can get out between 1-5 P.M.

Walking on the trails may be easier than skiing, but skiing is definitely faster and a good skill builder right now. Not much for crust skiing, the most promising location is the South Fork of Snow River. Other areas are hit and miss and not consistently good. Groomed trails have been very good for skate skiing.

Mile 12 Divide is a bit treacherous on the down hills, but still loads of fun. Snowmobile access to all winter used trails/areas are good, minus the moguls. A few calls from folks wanting to launch boats on Kenai Lake.

It’s going to be a few weeks before Primrose is useable, and 1-2 weeks before Quartz Creek launch is ice free. Have a Great Weekend.

April 4, 2012 - Seward Trails

Good glorious sunny day to all of you! It’s been several weeks since the last winter update meaning we have had wonderful conditions for getting outdoors, and those conditions continue. 

We’re in the freeze/thaw mode  that has produced hard packed, slick trails in the early morning hours and slower travel in the afternoon on packed surfaces. Off trail travel on a hard crust is good in most locations until around 1 p.m. 

Groomed trails in the following locations allow for good skate skiing: Russian River & Trail River C.G.’s; Bear Lake; Road to Exit Glacier. In addition, these trails/areas have a packed surface wide enough to skate ski:  Russian River Falls, Old Sterling Hwy, Snow River.

Snug Harbor Rd is in good condition to the winter parking lot, after that the moguls are rock hard. 

Travel to Lower Russian Lake/Barber Cabin is still good via the winter route, though anticipate using the summer trail beginning mid-April.   

“Don’t call us, we’ll call you”, re: when snow is gone, it’s going to be 3-4 weeks out at the earliest for our lower elevation trails. In the meantime, keep those winter toys maintained for continued snow outings in all the usual winter used trails/areas.

March 1, 2013 - Portage Valley

The snows have continued, improving conditions for winter travel throughout the valley, except for the initial climb up and over snow berms at the plowed parking areas. 

Earlier this week, a large avalanche at Five-Fingers crossed the road and left a huge debris field across the Trail of Blue Ice.  Snow continues to fall and this slide path and others could send additional snow to the valley floor.  The Trail of Blue Ice crosses many avalanche slide paths between Five Fingers and Portage Lake, but none in the other direction – between Five Fingers and Moose Flats. 

It’s a good time with longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures to enjoy winter in Portage Valley, but be wary of the avalanche hazards lurking above.

February 21, 2013 - Seward Trails  

Appears to be a good weekend for all modes of winter travel on Seward Ranger District Trails.

Lost Lake Trail, normally I’m saying  “ Please don’t make me, please don’t make me haul propane to the Clemen’s Cabin”, but as of late, I’m telling Fitz we need to haul more propane. What this means is that at the moment we have good conditions,  (Minus the moguls, Primrose has 4 miles of moguls,  Lost Lake has 2 miles, and Snug Harbor access to Lost Lake has 3 miles). Anticipate good conditions on all our winter used trails. 

Keep in mind however, there are always obstacles that make some areas difficult, such as the mud hole we almost got stuck in on the Johnson Pass Winter Route, or that windblown side hill where we couldn’t keep our machines going where we wanted.

Large holes in the ice on Snug Harbor Rd between mile 5 and 6 may impede travel for rigs pulling large trailers.

Classic skiing is great in most areas, skate skiing Russian River C.G., Old Sterling Hwy, Trail River C.G., Exit Glacier, Divide Ski area is good.

Anticipate fewer updates unless conditions warrant mention. If you would like more specific area/cabin/trail information please call:

Fitz: 288-7714

Pat Cook: 288-7711

Irene Lindquist: 288-7748

John Eavis: 288-7702 

February 15, 2013 - Portage Valley

Our recent snowstorms have brought enough snow for skiing on the Trail of Blue Ice, although areas with dense tree cover have just the bare minimum.  Byron Road is well covered, and makes a great first time “off-track” cross-country ski adventure.  All winter parking areas are plowed.  Weekend weather forecast call for temperatures to stay below freezing and more snow on the way!

The trails and highway in Portage Valley cross avalanche run-out zones.  There were many recent slides visible today.  Minimize your exposure to this hazard by staying away from un-forested mountain slopes, especially during or right after snow storms.

February 15, 2013 - Seward Trails 

Carter Lake to Crescent via Carter Lake Trailhead: Trail is in good condition! Keep an eye out as always when traveling over frozen bodies of water, didn’t appear to be much over flow, but that can change quickly. 

Johnson Pass South Trail via Winter Route, or Johnson Pass Wagon Rd on the North (gated road on North side of parking lot at Johnson Pass North T.H.) travel is good. Though, getting to Johnson Pass South Winter Route may take a little figuring out if you can’t safely cross the open channels, once on the right side of the Rail Road Tracks, travel is good all the way through. 

Guess how thick the ice is on Upper Russian Lake?

Currently travel to Lost Lake via all access points is fair. The Lost Lake area has received over 4’ of new snow in the last week. From Lost Lake Trailhead ice on the trail is non-existent and has been replaced by large pools of water. Travel via Primrose or Snug Harbor Rd is fair, there are lots of moguls, 2.5 miles on Snug Harbor, and 4.5 miles on Primrose. I found out why I’ve never wanted to ski to the Clemen’s Cabin, even with skins on, it’s a tough ski. Just had to try it when I saw 8” of new snow this week and no icy chutes.

Classic skiing is very good in all areas. Glaciation and ice are currently buried under several inches of heavy wet snow on the trails. Currently our access roads to winter used trails are in good condition, however, anticipate icy conditions to return on these roads sooner than later as our well above freezing temps are turning these plowed surfaces into ice rinks. 

Travel to Upper Russian Lake is good Snug Harbor Rd access (except for the road portion which is very bumpy). There is an active trap line on this trail. Ice thickness on U.Russian Lake on Tuesday was 12”.

Sunday is the 3rd Annual Seward Nordic Ski Club Luminary Ski/Walk/Snowshoe, 6-9 P.M. at Mile 12 Divide, please open the attachment above for more information. 

Continue to check the Seward Nordic and Cooper Landing Nordic Ski Club web sites for conditions on grooming.

February 6, 2013 - Seward Trails

Hello to 3-5” of new snow at lower elevations today that quickly sent our ice skating out the door.

Access roads are a little less slippery, but be careful on those inclines with corners, still slick under the snow.

Classic skiing is good everywhere, and skate skiing is good where the trails were packed, but not icy.

Access to Lost Lake via Primrose trail will be good, minus the moguls, for the first few groups of snowmachines, then anticipate the icy tread to be reappear.  Access to Lost Lake via Snug Harbor Rd is good.

Travel across Resurrection Pass trail is good for skiers. A number of calls regarding fat tire bikes and how would that be. On the south end to Swan Lake would be good, and on the north end to East Creek would be ok. Travel from East Creek over the pass to Swan Lake would  be difficult in deep and drifting snow with no packed trail.

Alex McLain’s Avalanche Awareness Class is Saturday, February 9, in Seward. Call him for details: 288-7710.

February 1, 2013 - Portage Valley

A cold blast last weekend froze all the snow cover, then rain this week exposed more ground.  There's green ground cover showing between patches of rock-hard snow, and the sun is creeping further into the valley daily.  Trails are firm enough to walk on, but uenevn snow, ice and bare ground will make skiing difficult.  All winter parking areas are plowed but very icy.  

January 31, 2013 - Seward Trails

The good news at the moment is that winter used trails/areas on Seward Ranger District are quite nice for skiing. We received a few inches of new snow, most of it melted from yesterday’s thaw, however, enough of a skiff remains and has bonded well to the ice layer making for some good skate, or classic ski conditions where snowmobiles haven ‘t traveled. Anticipate this to change to a hard surface when our temps go below freezing.

Access roads to winter used trails/areas are in good condition. Check  weather forecasts if you choose to drive and leave your rig overnight on Resurrection Creek Rd (Hope) or Slaughter Ridge Rd beyond winter parking areas.

Icy conditions remain on those steeper sections of trails that receive snowmobile use.

Alex McLain is teaching another Avalanche Awareness class on Saturday, February 9 at the Seward Library from 10 AM to 3 PM. For more information call Alex at 907-288-7710.

January 24 - Seward Trails

 Wasn’t it  a couple weeks ago I mentioned you wouldn’t hear much from me now that we’re in full winter mode? Well, guess what, you get yet another weekly update as conditions warrant mention sooner than later.

 Access roads to Resurrection North, Bean Creek, Snug Harbor Rd mile 9 winter parking, Lower Russian, Lost Lake, and Exit Glacier are slippery.

 Lost Lake Trail is not recommended for travel due to icy conditions. Access to Lost Lake should be via Primrose Trail or Snug Harbor Rd, though, beginning around mile 5 Snug Harbor Rd is icy and glaciated, rigs pulling larger trailers may run into difficulties. Snowmachines have been successful climbing the hills to Lost Lake.

 Russian River C.G. access Rd. is icy and grippers should be worn. Lower Russian Lakes Trail at the moment is a better hike than ski. Though skiing for the more experienced is worth a try, I was able to skate ski to the lake, I would recommend metal edges/skins until the next snowfall. The trail to the Falls, and the summer and winter trails to the lake/Barber Cabin are packed and in good condition, the avalanches on the summer route have not come down and there appears to be a lot of snow up high. The lake surface is frozen with a thin crust layer and is easy to travel on the winter route.

 Travel off trail is much easier now and will be hard and fast when we get the below freezing temps forecast for the weekend. There are many areas of Seward Ranger District that are closed to motorized winter use around Seward, Summit Lake, Johnson North where closure boundaries can be difficult to recognize. Visit the Chugach National Forest Web Page for 2012/13 Winter motorized closure maps http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5399387.pdf

 if you will be snowmachining in these areas. For additional information on closed areas please call: 

John Eavis 288-7702; Alex McLain 288-7710; Mike Fitzpatrick (Fitz) 288-7714; Irene Lindquist 288-7748.

 Information on Grooming of ski trails in Cooper Landing: http://grooming.cooperlandingnordicskiclub.org/

Note that there’s not been much activity in the past month on this site due to folks being  away over the Holidays, and upon return, nothing to groom.

 Grooming between Moose Pass and Seward: http://www.sewardnordicskiclub.org/page5/index.html

Skiing at Divide and Trail River C.G. has been very good.

 Avalanche Information continue to check in with Alex McLain and the Chugach NF website: http://www.cnfaic.org/advisories/current.php?id=

 Depending on upcoming snowfall, we may get a chance to ice skate. Check large puddles around your yard, if you can walk on 1” of refrozen water you will probably have some good ice skating on Bear Lake, 2” of ice w/o cracking you might be able to skate on  Upper Trail Lake, and 2-3” of refrozen water w/o cracking Lower Trail Lake.

 Have a Great Weekend!

January 22 - Portage Valley

The last few days of over-freezing temperatures have melted away areas of snow cover on the Trail of Blue Ice, and made parking areas very icy.  The trails have snow in areas without tree cover, but expect gravel surfaces in forested area and no snow on boardwalks. Byron Road is closed with a snow berm, creating a nice wide trail.  Portage Lake ice appears to be one solid mass, but has a wet surface.  Temperatures are expected to remain warm through the week increasing the likelihood the lake will break up again.  

January 17 - Seward Trails

Quite a mix of conditions across Seward Ranger District at the moment. 

Lost Lake Trail:NOT RECOMMENDED for travel unless you have studs on shoes or tracks, lots of ice, even on the summer trail that bypasses the steep trail out of the parking lot. Primrose Trail is fair, though very bumpy.

Slaughter Ridge, Resurrection Creek (Hope), West Juneau, Russian River C.G., and Snug Harbor Rd beyond mile 5 are difficult to travel due to slick ice. The 2- 4 inches of new snow has not helped the icy conditions. 

Carter, Johnson North and Southare in good condition, standing water is frozen, though overflow varies from day to day and is a constant concern to be aware of when traveling over frozen water, including muskegs/meadows that are used as winter trails.

Resurrection North and South, Bean Creek, and Lower Russian Lake Trailsare a little better for skiing with the few inches of new snow on top of the hard packed surface, though access roads are icy getting to all of these areas.

Exit Glacier Roadis in good condition and does not sport the icy conditions at the moment.

Trail River C.G. RD  is in very good condition for skiing.

Here is link to an article of the sled dogs caught in traps. Also today’s issue of Turnagain Times will have an article.

 http://redoubtreporter.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/dog-owners-snap-over-traps-conflict-brews-in-recreation-areas-of-cooper-landing/

To be added or removed from these updates please reply to these emails. 

January 16, 2013 - Seward Trails and Trapping

Quite a few dogs have been caught in traps on Seward Ranger District. A dog was caught in a trap directly off West Juneau Road on Monday. There are traps on Snug Harbor Road that are also catching dogs, one dog had to have his foot amputated. Many areas/locations used for winter recreation sport active trap lines that are directly off a road or trail.  

There are some trap lines where the trapper is  a fair distance off a road or trail, but these are also a hazard to a loose dog who is lured by strong scents to the trap. Our current conditions allow for easy and fast travel off trail for a critter to get into trouble quick.

The Alaska Trappers Association is offering it's 'Shared Trails' presentation at the Cooper Landing Community Hall on Friday January 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm.  This consists of a DVD presentation for dog owners on traps and trap lines and how to avoid getting your dog caught in a trap or snare and what to do about it if it does happen.  The DVD covers how to recognize you may be on a trap line, various types of traps, how they operate and how they can be opened to release a dog.  Attendees are then offered the opportunity to try their hand at setting and opening various types of traps with the assistance of one or more ATA members who will be present to give tutoring assistance. The main purpose of this presentation is educational and not to debate individual views of trapping. I also have copies of the DVD if you would like to borrow it please get in touch and I can mail it to you.

January 10, 2013 - Seward Trails

Two days of below freezing temps has helped some overflow issues on lakes, trails, and meadows, though it looks as if this too shall change sooner than later. Overflow, glaciation, and standing water on trails  change rapidly depending on location, snow cover, temps, etc….best to take the extra time to carefully check conditions before full throttle ahead. Another report of a snowmobile going through the ice on Crescent Lake two days ago, luckily it wasn’t too deep.

Resurrection Pass Trail: Travel is good from the North end to just above East Creek, and on the South from all access points to just above Swan Lake, anticipate no packed trail for the 10 miles in between these two locations. This is the norm especially in a no snow machine season as there are fewer people traveling over Resurrection Pass. Allow plenty of time to gather firewood at cabins. Recent snowfall has covered most of the glaciated areas. NOTE: Plan your travels well by checking weather patterns if you choose to drive the last mile of Resurrection Creek Rd to the North Trailhead, or if you drive the 1.3 miles beyond the winter parking area on Slaughter Ridge Rd. What today is drivable may tomorrow be an ice slick, or snowed in. Both roads are currently packed and drivable.

Lost Lake:Currently 6’ of snow on top.  Travel from the Lost Lake T.H. is icy in the 1st mile. If you don’t have studs on your tracks you will not want to shoot straight up the hill, instead take the TRAIL to the right that begins 150 feet from the parking area. Bumpy ride up to Clemen’s Cabin. Propane has been restocked. Travel via Primrose Trail now sports the usual bumps. Snug Harbor Rd in remarkably good condition, anticipate glare ice if we receive the warm up predicted for the coming weekend.

Exit Glacier Road:Conditions at the moment are good and void of last week’s glare ice.

Now that all areas of Seward Ranger District are in winter mode, I don’t anticipate weekly updates unless there are news worthy conditions to report. Continue to check the websites for grooming and avalanche conditions. Please feel free to call the following people with your questions, comments, and trip planning needs.

AVALANCHE INFORMATION: Alex McLain: 288-7710

TRAILS/CABINS: Mike (Fitz) Fitzpatrick, 288-7714: Irene Lindquist, 288-7748: John Eavis, 288-7701

December 31, 2012 - Seward Trails 

It’s been quite warm across the District this past week. The last two days also brought a lot of rain to all our areas below 800’elevation, and wetter snow higher. Summit Lake area saw the greatest change in %water in our snowpack. Three days ago it was 16% moisture, today it is 26%. Exit Glacier has the highest water content today at 37% and Divide at Mile 12 is at 32%. What this will do when it freezes will make for a rock hard snowpack and slicker trails. Currently off trail travel is difficult, anticipate this to change once our temperatures drop below freezing overnight. Many of our lakes have little snowpack and lots of standing water, those at higher elevations with snowpack are bothering folks with overflow. Ice skating may return after temperatures go below freezing for a couple days if we don’t receive snowfall.

Currently Snug Harbor Rd is a good drive, but the snow machine access to Lost Lake is not, need more snow to cover the alders on the first hill climb. Lost Lake trail, though soft and slushy has many icy sections from the start to about a ½ mile beyond the winter jct. Use the “Trail” to the right at the beginning for an easier climb up the first hill, after this there are icy sections but not as difficult to get around as the first 1,000 feet, expect this to get icier when temps go below freezing. Primrose trail is fair. Carter Lake trail is in good condition. 

The websites for grooming information has been slim due to the lack of conditions allowing for grooming, as conditions change keep checking for updates. Skiing on packed trails will be hard and fast until the next snowfall. Resurrection South around mile 5 there is a lot of overflow through the meadows.  

Alex McLain is teaching another Avalanche class next week, please give him a call at 288-7710 or email him: amclain@fs.fed.us if you are interested in attending.

Happy New Year and we’ll talk to you next year!

December 27, 2012 - Seward Trails 

Deep, heavy, wet, and drifting snow, parking lots still to be plowed, access roads now in winter mode, bent over alders obstructing your path, Welcome to Winter!  

At the moment, Snug Harbor Rd is in fair condition, access to Lost Lake via all 3 trailheads (Primrose, Lost Lake, and Snug Harbor Rd) is good, and these parking lots have been plowed, though folks as of late yesterday had not been able to make it all the way to the Lake, they are having fun and getting a major workout trying. 

Be prepared for a lack of parking at many Seward Ranger District trailheads/parking areas as the trucks are plowing main roads first.  

You may notice I use the wording “at the moment”, or “currently” quite a bit as our weather conditions may change quite rapidly. I’d like to revisit a blurb I send out as a sensible reminder to people to think about before they venture to the woods. 

“Please keep in mind the changing conditions that may occur after trail/area/water/ice/avalanche condition reports are sent. What one moment is good/bad may change in a matter of hours due to the extremes in weather we experience. Many of the treks we mention as great fun may work well for one person, yet be a death trap for another. Each individual adult needs to decide for themselves if they have the knowledge, skills, equipment, and physical ability to safely venture to the various locations we give current information on”. 

We like having the public call us for information on recreating, and also to share information with us. Please feel free to contact the following people with your questions, comments, and concerns in the following areas: 

Avalanche Information and Mountain Skiing:

Alex McLain – 288-7710 

Trails, Cabins, Backcountry Treks:

Irene Lindquist – 288-7748, Mike (Fitz) Fitzpatrick – 288-7714, John Eavis – 288-7701 

For all other topics regarding other resource areas please call our main office at 224-3374 for assistance.

December 26, 2012 - Seward Trails

Between Lower Russian Lake and Aspen Flat’s cabin there are numerous  avalanche slide paths. With the weather pattern we have had since  early November I would not recommend venturing to this cabin from Lower Russian Lake, (In general, we do not recommend travel beyond L.Russian Lk in winter). We received 21” of new snow in this location over the last two days, and more snow is forecast for the next couple days, this on top of the very weak layer of facets/sugar snow will bring down avalanches that will be difficult to get over. In addition to the avalanches you can anticipate difficult travel due to overhanging, bent over trees, and down trees. This is also an expectation for all areas of Seward Ranger District winter used trails until you reach tree line. 

Travel from  Upper Russian Trailhead is an option, however, you still have avalanche paths, though most of these you travel the run out zone. This route can be difficult to travel in winter also, especially after a recent snowfall of this measure. It is  15 miles from the winter parking lot on Snug Harbor Rd to the Aspen Flat’s cabin. 

We have cancelled our plans at work this week for back country travel  in avalanche terrain.

December 20, 2012 - Seward Trails

Skiing is the sport at the moment on Seward Ranger District winter used trails. Lots of grooming going on (refer to the Seward/Cooper Landing Nordic websites for updates). 

The Old Sterling Hwy. has been packed with a drag, thanks to Lou on the Moose Pass side, and Erik on the Cooper Landing side. This 5 mile (when we get more snow it will be a 6 mile ski as the last mile of the Quartz Creek Rd is not maintained in winter) ski is a good one to skate for the more advanced skier, or an easy ski on classics.

Other access roads  usually not plowed in winter (though occasionally some of these will be plowed):

Russian River C.G. Rd, add 1 mile to your trek to reach the Barber Cabin.

Resurrection Pass North, the last mile before the trailhead.

Quartz Creek Rd, the last mile before Crescent Creek trailhead. Though we don’t recommend travel to Crescent Lake via this trail, it is currently a good ski as glaciation and avalanche dangers are minimal.

Resurrection River trail add 5.5 miles to your travels.

Upper Russian Lake trail, add 3 miles.

Bean Creek trail, add 1.3 miles, however, currently the road is plowed. 

Resurrection Pass Trail South:  Winter used trails are generally the better option than the summer trail if you are hauling a load for overnight travel, we have two trails that are easier, (See attachment for map) they are:

-West Juneau Rd at mile 53.2 of the Sterling Hwy (100’ west of Resurrection Pass Trailhead). Travel 2.6 miles up West Juneau Rd, then turn left at the winter marker and follow orange markers for 1.7 miles to Resurrection Pass Trail. This will bring you to mile 4.3 of Resurrection Pass trail which is above Juneau Falls before the bridge over Juneau Creek.

-Bean Creek Trail: Mile 47.7 of the Sterling Hwy. turn right onto Bean Creek Rd, travel 1 mile, turn right on Slaughter Ridge Rd. Drive ½ mile to the winter parking area. It is 1.3 miles to the Bean Creek trail. Take Bean Creek trail 1.8 miles to Resurrection Pass Trail, this will bring you to mile 4.6 of Resurrection Pass trail.

If you are traveling on a day trip the loop from Resurrection Pass summer trailhead and out the West Juneau Rd  is a fun ski of a tad less than 9 miles, no need to shuttle a rig. 

Snowmobiling is limited in most areas on Seward Ranger District to the trails. Travel is not recommended to Lost Lake via the Lost Lake T.H., there are exposed rocks, roots, and  frozen ground making for a rough ride. Winds have blown away much of the snowfall up high. Primrose trail is ok, though riding off trail is not good due to lack of snow, exposed bushes, and sugar snow that takes you to the bottom. Hard to believe how easy it is to get stuck with so little snow, same goes for Carter Lake and Johnson North. There are trees down on the wagon road to access Johnson North we will remove next week.

Travel on Carter Lake trail is good if you’re not pulling a heavy load, the sugary texture of the top 4” of snow on the packed trail makes travel with a trailer difficult, we had quite a yard sell along the way this week.

Snug Harbor Roadhas many sections of glaciation that may make travel with a low clearance rig not possible due to 12”+ deep holes in the ice, and travel pulling a trailer may be challenging depending how the ice/water holes form from day to day.

Johnny has re-plowed the ice rinks and paths on Upper Trail Lake for ice skating.

Happy Winter Solstice!

December 17, 2012 - Girdwood Trails

Trail of Blue Ice: 12” new snow over ice crust.  Currently parking only at Byron Rd, lake shore and Visitor Center, all other areas will be plowed ASAP.  

People are skiing across Portage Lake.

It’s Trapping Season, remember to keep dogs under control or leashed so they do not get caught!

8-12” new snow in Girdwood.  Conditions: Girdwood Nordic Ski Club @ skigirdwood.org or Alyeska Resort @ alyeskaresort.com/snow-report.aspx.

December 16,2012-Seward Trails

 Motorized Use opened December 15 on Seward Ranger District. Though snow is marginal on the Lost Lake trail near Seward and folks who have ridden there won't go back until we get more snow.

The Winter Trail to the Barber Cabin has been packed and is in very good condition, this trail skirts the main avalanche path on the summer trail.

In addition to the groomed trails (keep checking those websites I mentioned) the classic skiing on winter used trails is very good. Rock skis are no longer needed, snow is packing well and rocks are covered, with the exception of a few areas closer to Seward (1st ¼ mile of Lost Lake trail, Iditarod near Bear Lake).

For those of you looking at venturing on the mountains please continue to check the Chugach NF Avalanche Information Center at:

Cnfaci.org  Sorry my hotspot link is not working on my new computer. 

Have a Great Weekend!

December 11, 2012-Seward Trails 

Seward Ranger District received between 4-10” of new snow this week.  We are heading out today to check on a few more areas.

Reminder: RESURRECTION PASS/BEAN CREEK/WEST JUNEAU is closed to Motorized this winter season, except for qualified subsistence users.

An Avalanche Awareness Class will be offered December 15, 2012 at Providence Seward Mountain Haven Facility starting at 9AM—3PM in Seward (2203 Oak Street, Wesley Commons, at mile 2 of Seward Hwy take a right on Hemlock Ave, left at Y onto Ash Street, left on Oak St.  This class is FREE!  Contact Alex McLain at 288-7710  for additional information.

Grooming of Russian River C.G., Trail River C.G., and other local areas has begun, skate skiing in these areas is fantastic!!! In an effort to not repeat postings by others, please book mark these websites for information on grooming in Cooper Landing, Moose Pass, and Seward. Join the Seward Nordic Ski Club and receive up to date information from winter enthusiasts on many areas of Seward Ranger District.

www.sewardnordicskiclub.org

www.cooperlandingnordicskiclub.org

December 7, 2012-Seward Trails 

Good Cold, and Clear Morning again. Enjoy these last couple days of snow free ice??? 

Motorized use on Seward District (and Forest wide for that matter) is still closed due to lack of snow to prevent resource damage. We will monitor this closely as snow begins to fall this weekend. 

After considering ice travel  precautions here are a few lakes on Seward Ranger District that currently have fabulous ice for skating: Grant Lake, Crescent Lake, Cooper Lake, and Bear Lake. Though use caution as there are local hazards (in addition to general ice travel)  to consider for safe ice travel: Bear Lake has areas of warm springs, there was open water a few days ago in the middle of the first quarter;  Cooper Lake intake for power plant, stay clear of area in front; Grant Lake near the islands  keep any eye out for thinner ice; Crescent Lake around the islands and the inlet in front of the Saddle Cabin that has swallowed quite a few snow machines and at least one skier (and these are only the ones we have heard of).

Though you can travel right now on all our trails w/o skis or snowshoes, it’s time to have these items with if you’re traveling overnight. 

Many trails have areas of glaciation. If you’re doing the summer/winter loop at Lost Lake consider going up the summer route to be sure you can get around the large glaciated area, this is 1/3 mile beyond the winter jct. There is no safe way to get around it if you can’t cross, there is steep rock above and below with nothing to hold onto.  

For more information on Back country travel, avalanches, cabins, please call the following: 

AVALANCHE: ALEX MCLAIN-288-7710 

CABINS/BACKCOUNTRY TRAVEL:

MIKE FITZPATRICK: 288-7714

PAT O’LEARY: 288-7702 (GIVE PAT A CALL THIS MONTH, HE’S RETIRING DECEMBER 31).

IRENE LINDQUIST: 288-7748

JOHN EAVIS: 288-7701 

Enjoy the arrival of snow!

November 27, 2012-Seward Trails

Good Glorious Moonlit morning to all of you!!!  

In anticipation of December 1 winter motorized trails/areas of Seward Ranger District will not be opening (unless there’s major snowfall before this date) due to lack of adequate snow cover to prevent resource damage, this includes subsistence users.  We will monitor conditions daily when snowfall appears and will open as soon as possible. 

Skiing on many lakes is good. Skiing on most trails with rock skis at lower elevations is possible. Ice skating on the cleared paths on Upper Trail Lake is good. 

Trails traveling over passes have 12-15” of snow. Pulling a pulk is feasible.

Hiking our trails in all areas is very good if you wear gaiters or can keep what little snow there is out of your boots. 

Most of our cabins with wood burning stoves have no wood. With this being a non-motorized winter for Resurrection Pass Trail, except for subsistence users, allow plenty of time to collect firewood. 

Trail River C.G. gate will be closed December 1.

Russian River C.G. gate will remain open until more snow arrives.

Exit Glacier Road is closed 1.5 miles from the Hwy. Add 5 miles to your trip length if you will be hiking Resurrection River Trail. 

Slaughter Ridge Rd. (winter access to Resurrection Pass Trail South) is drivable beyond the winter parking area, though use caution as there are logging trucks transporting logs the entire distance of this narrow Rd. 

Ice on! Now for some interesting, at least for me, ice condition changes: A week ago Summit Lake had 8” of ice under 5” of snow, the previous ten days had 8” of ice under 8” of snow, temps were in the 20’s, low 30’s. Ice thickness did not change for 11 days due to the insulating snow cover and warm temps.  When temps changed to around 0-20 degrees F the ice began adding 1/3”/day. Ice thickness on Summit Lake is now 11”. 

Cooper Lake and Grant Lake are freezing and adding about 1” of ice/day with no snow cover. Cooper Lake has 6” of ice, and Grant Lake has 2”. 

In the interest of not repeating old news, if you don’t receive an update in the next week, it’s because conditions have not changed much.  

November 8, 2012-Seward Trails

Carter/Crescent Lake area currently has 12” of light snow.

10” of ice on Carter Lake.

Palmer Creek road gate is currently open. 

Resurrection/Devil’s Passes currently have 12-15” snow. This is the winter season Resurrection Pass Trail System is closed to motorized use, except for qualified subsistence users. Other areas of Seward Ranger District allowing motorized use opens December 1 if there is adequate snow cover to prevent resource damage. 

Summit Lake area has 6” of snow. 8” of ice on Summit Lake. 

Most trails have very slippery icy sections, ice grippers would be a good addition to your winter gear. 

It’s time to add snowshoes to your equipment if you will be traveling over passes on Seward Ranger District Trails, though snow is only 12” or so, it’s time to be prepared for conditions requiring snowshoes and skis (once a good base is packed). 

November 10 begins trapping season for furbearers.  Many areas/trails/roads you may travel with your dogs are also used by trappers. If you would like to borrow a DVD presented by the Alaska Trappers Association with information on how to recognize trap lines and release various traps please contact: ilindquist@fs.fed.us

November 6, 2012-Glacier District

Glacier Creek Hand Tram on Winner Creek Trail closed for winter. Thank you for continued assistance from Girdwood Parks & Recreation folks!

Byron Glacier, Crow Pass, and Winner Creek Gorge Trailheads get snowed in; outhouses locked for winter at Crow Pass and Winner Creek Gorge.

>The last few snowfalls accumulated 6-10 inches on ground in Portage Valley; crusty conditions for skiing and skating have been reported.

Williwaw, Granite, Black Bear, and Bertha campground gates are closed for the winter = no fees, no services & walk- in camping available.

Winner Creek Gorge Trailhead is not maintained for winter use. The trailhead, at MP 2.9 Crow Creek (just before Crow Creek Mine) is not maintained for winter use.

October 23, 2012-Seward Trails

Trails across the district are frozen with snow cover from a trace at lower elevations to a few inches through the passes. No snowshoes needed yet, this will change rapidly when the next snow moves in. 

Tern Lake has 6” of ice.