Emerald Lake Loop & Mallard Bay Trails
Guide to Emerald Lake Loop and Mallard Bay Trails at Kachemak Bay State Park and State Wilderness Park (SP & SWP) in Alaska. Published by Alaska State Parks.
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Guide to Emerald Lake Loop & Mallard Bay Trails in Kachemak Bay State Park Trail Access: Humpy Creek, Mallard Bay, or Glacier Spit Trailheads Allowable Uses: Hiking Distance: Emerald Lake Loop: 12.6 mi Mallard Bay Trail: 0.6 mi Mallard/Emerald Connector: 1.1 mi Elevation Gain: Emerald Lake Loop: 2800 ft; Emerald/Mallard Connector: 500 ft Mallard Bay: 200 ft in, 100 ft out Difficulty: Emerald Lake Loop: Easy (flats) to Difficult (long steep climbs); Mallard/Emerald Connector: Difficult; Mallard Bay: Easy to Moderate (long switchbacks); Emerald Lake: Moderate to Difficult Hiking Time: Emerald Lake Loop: 5 hrs; Emerald/Mallard Connector: 45 min; Mallard Bay: 30 min Emerald Lake Loop Trail: This loop accesses beautiful Emerald Lake and its alpine surroundings. Starting at Humpy Creek Trailhead/Campsite, head South, crossing Humpy Creek (known for its pink “humpy” salmon). Then Mallard Bay Trail: This trail climbs over a ridge from the Mallard Bay Trailhead/ Campsite to the Portlock River. cross a flat, mostly open, outwash plain before passing Mallard/Emerald Connector Trail: This trail connects the Emerald Lake Loop several blue ponds. The trail then threads a narrow rock Trail with the Mallard Bay Trail. From the Mallard Bay Trail junction, the trail as- “flume” where Grewingk Creek once flowed, past the cable cends switchbacks to the Emerald Lake Trail junction. tram that crosses Grewingk Creek. While camping is good here, remember that black bears frequent the area. From Grewingk Creek, the trail climbs over Foehn Ridge, offering views of Grewingk Glacier and outwash flats. Descending the ridge, the trail crosses flatlands to Grewingk Glacier Lake. Look for glacier ice floating in the lake. From Grewingk Lake the trail climbs up exposed rock, then along a lateral moraine into the forest. A bridge then crosses Humpy Creek before reaching treeline. A 0.2 mile spur leads to Emerald Lake and campsite at a junction (a small stream may be difficult to cross during spring melt). The trail then climbs to Portlock Plateau where there are fantastic views of Kackemak Bay. Look for bears and mountain goats high on the ridges. Alpine portions of the trail are marked with rock cairns and white spars. The trail then descends a ridge (follow cairns and spars carefully) into alders then a spruce forest plagued by spruce bark beetles and wind storms. The trail then descends past the Mallard/Emerald Connector Trail junction to the tidewater flats of Kachemak Bay. Continue South along the tidewater flats (area floods at extreme high tides) to return to Humpy Creek Trailhead/Campsite. Camping: Developed campsites at Humpy Creek, Grewingk Glacier Lake (undeveloped) Emerald Lake, and Mallard Bay. Undeveloped camping on small beach north of the Mallard Bay trailhead (extreme high-tides flood the trailhead beach) Water Availability: Humpy Creek, Grewingk Glacier Lake, Emerald Lake, Portlock River (glacial), Grewingk Creek (glacial) & nearby ponds, and seasonally at Mallard Bay Trailhead Special Features: Humpy Creek offers good fishing and wildlife viewing. Emerald Lake is very remote and scenic. ADVISORY: Black bears frequent the mouth of Humpy Creek during the months of July and August, when salmon are spawning. Park Access: Kachemak Bay State Park is accessed via boat from the Homer Harbor. Local water taxis can provide transportation to most park trailheads. Park Rules: For a complete set of park rules visit: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/kbay/kbay.htm Alaska State Parks, Kenai Area Office PO Box 1247 Soldotna, AK (907) 262 - 5581