Kachemak Bay State Park - near Homer, AK, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 59° 33.654 W 151° 11.733
5V E 601970 N 6603895
Quick Description: Kachemak Bay State Park is the first state park for Alaska and the only wilderness park, and can be access only by boat and (sea) plane.
Location: Alaska, United States
Date Posted: 10/18/2010 8:46:26 AM
Waymark Code: WM9YQ5
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member wilkintj
Views: 4

Long Description:
In Kachemak Bay along the south coast of Alaska is Kachemak Bay State Park and Wilderness Area, which has over 400,000 of pristine, coastal-mountain landscape across the bay from Homer.

This state park is Alaska's oldest state park, and the only wilderness area. The landforms are dramatic! From Homer, you can see the great peaks of the Kenai Mountains holding back the icefield behind them. Glaciers glisten from the slopes, and trails lead to the Grewingk Glacier. Literally, wildlife will parade in front of you, whether it is in the lagoon or in the woods. If you want to get a wilderness experience - this is the place!

But, don't expect to be catered to! The public use cabins and campsites don't have electricity or plumbing - save outhouses. The wildlife - well, bears are around and can be quite close - as we had experienced! With that also note that there are few facilities at all. There are few ranger stations, one of which is at Halibut Cove.

The mark is at the ranger station at Halibut Cove, since this is considered the 'main' entrance to the park. There are many other drop-off locations, but there are no other official entrances. There are no road gates since there are no roads to the park. Access is only by boat or sea plane. Most people take the water taxi from Homer Spit (there are several services there), though you could take your own motor boat over. The bay is a few miles across and has the second highest tides in the world - and the water temperature is cold - so, don't plan on canoeing or kayaking across unless you are experienced and prepared for the journey.

Though there are many locations where there are camp sites and public use cabins, this paragraph focuses on Halibut Cove. There are three public use cabins and a few campsites in Halibut Cove. At the top of the stairs is the ranger station, which is staffed from May 15 to August 31. Firewood and water may be available when the ranger station is open, but it is best to haul some in. In the case of water, streams are nearby, but you should always boil it before consuming (we did!). Hiking trails spider out from the Ranger Station. All of them go over varied land and can be challenging. The Lagoon Trail meanders around a couple ravines before going up a steep slope. China Poot Lake Trail goes south and links to the China Poot Peak Trail (very steep). The Coalition Trail goes to China Poot Bay to the west. At the mouth of Halibut Cove, there is a drop off for the Saddle Trail, which leads to other trails, and the Glacier Spit Trailhead, which can lead to the Grewingk Glacier lake and the glacier itself (challenging).

The fee listed is the price for an off-peak public use cabin, as listed in the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation site. There are camping sites, but the page for fees by location did not list a camping fee for this park. The range is listed, below. You could take a water taxi, or canoe/kayak to one of the landing locations and walk a few trails, and then come back the same day (keeping the tide schedule in mind), but you really wouldn't get that far, and the park is best enjoyed by staying there.

Wildlife seen (partial list): sea otters, bald eagles, porpoises, black bear (one less than 50 ft from the cabin!), squirrels, stellar jays, and puffins (out in the bay).

The state park is bordered by the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Kenai Fjords National Park to the north and east. The park itself is in three sections. The main section is centered at Halibut Cove. Another section is on the south coast of the Kenai Peninsula, and a small section is across Kachemak Bay.

This park, along with Chugach and Denali, were established in 1970 as the first Alaska state parks. They are still considered one of the most used and loved state parks in the system. Today, the system has 123 parks, from the half acre - Potter Section House State Historic Site, to 1.6 million-acre Wood-Tikchik State Park, the largest state park in the U.S.

Public use cabins - $50 for off peak/$65 for peak times.
Night camping - $10 to $28/night.

Source:

Anchorage Daily News (Alaska's State Parks are Fantastic at 40, June 28, 2010):
(visit link)
Park Type: Overnight

Activities:
Cabin, camping, picnicking, groups, trails, fishing.


Park Fees: Not listed

Background:
This park was one of three established as the first state parks in Alaska. Today, the park, along with the wilderness area, cover over 400,000 acres of mountainous terrain that include the Kenai mountains, several glaciers, and coastal bays.


Date Established?: 1/1/1970

Link to Park: [Web Link]

Additional Entrance Points: Not Listed

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