On the Kenai Peninsula, the Russian Lakes Trail is a 21 mile multi-use route. There are overlooks of Russian River, panoramic views of mountains. Easy hiking for family outing. Potential multi-day trip using designated campsites at Lower/Upper Russian Lakes or Barber, Aspen Flats, or Upper Russian Lake Cabins. Day hike from Russian River Campground to Russian River Falls (Mile 2) or Lower Russian Lake (Mile 3). From Russian River Campground the first 3 miles of trail are heavily used for fishing access to Russian River and Lower Russian Lake. Along trail, reddish-gray, dead trees killed by spruce bark beetle. These trees are a major fire hazard. Trail to Lower Russian Lake and falls is a wide mini-road which is accessible to people with disabilities.
Wildlife includes moose, bears, wolves, Dall sheep and mountain goats. Hunting for these species is permitted in designated seasons. Fishing in Russian River provides the largest sport fishery in Alaska for sockeye salmon during two runs, starting mid-June and mid-July. Fishing for any salmon species is not permitted upstream of Russian River Falls. Excellent Rainbow trout fishing between and in Upper/Lower Russian Lakes.
North end: At Mile 52, Sterling Highway, turn onto Russian River Campground Road. Trailhead parking is 1 mile further. East end: At Mile 48, Sterling Highway, turn onto Snug Harbor Road, travel 9 miles to Cooper Lake Road, 3 miles to parking. Cooper Lake Road is not plowed in winter. Snug Harbor Road may be icy. Trail is closed to saddle/packstock from April 1-June 30 and closed to motorized vehicles from May 1-Nov 30. Trail is closed year-round to motorized vehicles from the Russian River campground to Aspen Flats cabin.
Overall, Russian Lakes Trail is the 15th most popular hiking trail of all 54 hikes in Alaska.