April 1, 2021 Karen Lewis

Hitting the KMTA Trails this Spring?

By Sarah Schuh

Photo by Paxson Woelber

Spring is at our doorstep, bringing with it longer days and warmer temperatures. There are so many ways to get out and play in the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area, here are a few great spots to check out during this time of the year:

Trails in the coastal areas of the KMTA will be snow-free first and offer the earliest opportunities for hiking and biking. Gull Rock in Hope offers sweeping views of Turnagain Arm and the surrounding mountains and is great for the whole family. To the south, beachcombing and exploration of Fort McGilvray await from the Caines Head State Recreation Area in Seward. Be sure to check your tide book and time your hike accordingly, as some sections of the trail are only passable at low tide. Please remember to always pack out what you pack in, respect and support the local community, and follow current Covid-19 guidelines.

Not ready to put your skis away just yet? Me neither! Thanks to a winter of cold temperatures and high snowfall, we are in for excellent spring skiing conditions throughout the Heritage Area. Whether you like to cruise the corduroy of the local ski areas or earn your turns in the backcountry, in this year of plenty there’s more than enough fun to go around. The Center Ridge Recreation Area in Turnagain Pass is an excellent place to go for all types of spring activities, with a large parking area and bathroom facilities. The following resources are available to help inspire your next outing, and be sure the check the avalanche forecast if you’re headed into avalanche terrain. This time of the year is often characterized by a daily freeze/thaw cycle, so be sure to take that into consideration when heading out- early in the day the snow will be hard and frozen, becoming softer and wetter with sun exposure over the course of the day. Time things just right and you’ll get to enjoy the goldilocks conditions known as corn snow – supportive yet soft with a kernel-y appearance and a golden glow from the afternoon sun.

Check out the local KMTA ski clubs for more info!

Seward Nordic Club

Cooper Landing Nordic Club

Girdwood Nordic Club

Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center (CNFAIC):

Whatever type of adventure you seek, you’ll find it in the KMTA.

See you out there!