On the Kenai Peninsula, the Ptarmigan Creek / Falls Creek Trail is a 7.5 mile route. The trail is suitable for day hiking and multi-day trips with backcountry camping by lake. Spending night at campground and hiking first two miles of trail makes a good family outing. Families able to hike longer distances and steeper sections of trail will be rewarded with turquoise reflection of lake.
From trailhead, the trail follows creek upstream but occasionally leaves it to ascend a scenic knoll or rock outcropping. Path is wet in places. Trail leaves spruce forest after second mile and ascends (to the left) through a large meadow and back to wooded area. Many good views of the surrounding mountains and alpine areas. Ptarmigan Lake is at mile 3.5. Trail continues for four miles to east end of lake.
For mountaineering, trail provides access to Andy Simons Mountain which forms southern boundary of lake. For a more arduous, backcountry trip (25-30 miles), follow an old, overgrown, unmaintained trail up the drainage beyond Ptarmigan Lake, but continue to follow the drainage not the old trail, over Snow River Pass to Lower Paradise Lake. This is a very rugged outing. There is a recreation cabin located on this lake. (Boat only provided to those who have paid for the use of the cabin). Follow Snow River down stream along remains of Paradise Valley Trail back to railroad and eventually to Seward Highway.
Wildlife includes moose, bear, mountain goats, and Dall sheep. Goats and sheep can be found on mountains surrounding the lake. Hunting for these species is permitted in designated seasons. Fishing for Dolly Varden and rainbow trout in Ptarmigan Creek, and grayling in Ptarmigan Lake. Excellent viewing of many brilliant, red sockeye salmon from campground to mouth of Ptarmigan Creek during their run upstream in late July and early August. Salmon fishing is prohibited in these areas. Review Alaska Department of Fish and Game hunting and fishing regulations.
At Mile 23, Seward Highway, turn east into Ptarmigan Creek Campground. Begins at south end of campground. Trail is closed to saddle/packstock from April 1-June 30 and motorized vehicles from May 1-Nov 30.
Overall, Ptarmigan Creek Trail is the 46th most popular hiking trail of all 54 hikes in Alaska.