On the Kenai Peninsula, the Johnson Pass Trail is a 23 mile multi-use route. Excellent trail for those seeking spectacular scenery with few extreme elevation changes. (Receives much less use than Resurrection Pass Trails due to lack of recreation cabins) This trail is very busy on the weekends due to mountain bike use; this is an extremely popular bike trail. Excellent family outing for those who can hike longer distances on level terrain. Day hiking from north: five miles up and back along Bench Creek. Good winter ski tours from south end to Johnson Pass except during extreme avalanche hazard. Good skiing also from north trailhead to Bench Creek (Mile 4).
During the steep first half of trail, you will pass through hemlock forests and wetter areas with alder and willow. As trail levels out, vegetation changes to the sub-alpine with lower growing shrubs and multitude of wildflowers. This level terrain offers good camping sites and excellent vistas.
From north end: trail winds through open meadows and forest. At Mile 4 by Bench Creek Bridge, trail enters V-shaped Bench Creek valley which continues to Bench Lake (Mile 9.3) in alpine tundra. From this point one can extend hike into most any direction. Potential campsites at the pass (backpacking stove recommended above timberline) and a designated site at south end of Johnson Lake. South of Johnson Lake enter wooded area until shoreline of Upper Trail Lake is reached at Mile 19.
Wildlife includes moose, black and brown bears, and Dall sheep. Hunting for moose, bear and sheep in designated seasons. Fishing is good for Grayling in Bench Lake and for rainbow trout in Johnson Lake. Review Alaska Department of Fish and Game hunting and fishing regulations.
North Trailhead: At Mile 64, Seward Highway, (east of Granite Creek Campground) turn south on Forest Service signed, gravel road for 1/4 mile to trailhead parking.
South Trailhead: At Mile 32.5 Seward Highway, pull into Forest Service signed pullout for trailhead (west of Upper Trail Lake). Parking areas are not plowed in winter. Trail is closed to saddle/packstock from April 1-June 30 and motorized vehicles from May 1-Nov 30.
Overall, Johnson Pass Trail is the 40th most popular hiking trail of all 54 hikes in Alaska.