Denali AKA Mt. McKinley


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"Explore the area on a bicycle. See more of the town and get some exercise while taking in the   
views. Lutak Road north of town offers a wide bike lane-shoulder and impressive views."
~ 2015 Haines Visitor's Guide, "Things to Do In a Day," p. 11
In addition to driving out scenic Lutak Road three or four times in the truck, we also rode our bikes there several times because the views of glaciers and snow-covered peaks above the inlets and Lynn Canal are so beautiful.


Traffic was fairly light each time we went out Lutak Road and it was easy to stop to take pictures. I took a ton of them along the 10-mile stretch of road that follows the shores of Lutak Inlet, Chilkoot Inlet, then Chilkoot River, from Haines to the Chilkoot Lake State Recreation Site.

Pullouts and overlooks along Lutak Road also offer great views of Haines, the inlet, and surrounding mountain peaks.

View of Ft. Seward and Haines just out of town on Lutak Rd.

Chilkoot Inlet is to the left, the Lynn Canal (arrow) to the right.

View south to Battery Point and Coastal Range

Looking east to Coastal Range across Chilkoot Inlet

Above and below:  two views looking south


View north toward the end of the inlet

The road passes the Alaska Marine Highway ferry terminal (fun to watch the ferries come and go), a small waterfront RV park, and a few houses with spectacular views.




Some of the best views of the mountains, water, and waterfalls are around the curve at the far end of the inlet:


Dilapidated boat in "dry dock" at end of the inlet

Above and below:  I love this red-roofed house in contrast to nature's blues and greens.

Lutak Lake Road ends about half a mile from where I took the last two pictures above. Some nice houses overlooking the end of Chilkoot Inlet are located there. Before the road ends, gravel Chilkoot Lake Road branches off to the left and follows the Chilkoot River for about a mile to the state recreation site. The park road ends at the lake, dock, and campground.

In addition to all the fantastic scenery, Lutak and Chilkoot Lake Roads are both excellent places to view wildlife.

Lutek Inlet is fairly narrow and more sheltered than the nearby Lynn Canal -- which stretches 15 miles up to Skagway -- making it easier to spot river otters, Steller sea lions, harbor porpoises, and harbor seals in the water.

Chilkoot Inlet is fairly narrow here.

According to an Alaska Department of Fish & Game brochure we picked up, a few humpback and killer whales swim into the inlets in May and June but we didn't see any of those.


The Chilkoot River flows only a mile from Chilkoot Lake to Chilkoot Inlet but it's an impressive mile. The glacier-blue water is gorgeous and this is one of the more easily reached bear-viewing places in Southeast Alaska. 

Several species of salmon swim up the Chilkoot River between mid-June and October, drawing brown (grizzly) bears and lots of spectators. The peak months for bear viewing along this river are July and August.

View of river where it flows into Chilkoot Inlet; I love the glacial blue color.


The area of the river near the totem pole is a Native Allotment that is not open
to the public but anyone can fish farther upstream.

Above and below:  note the little trees growing on top of the boulders in the river.

Although we didn't see any bears or salmon on our treks out Lutak Road this week, the salmon have begun to return to their birthplaces in Chikoot River and Lake to spawn.

The Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game operates a fish weir on the river to count the returning salmon each summer. There is a sign board at the road that gives each day's count. This week about a dozen salmon have been noted each day.

The short river and lake are also reported to be great places to catch fresh-water fish. We saw people fishing along the river and lake shore each time we drove or rode our bikes to the recreation site.


This is a beautiful lake with mountains on three sides. It's scenic even on cloudy days:



Lake outlet = beginning of Chilkoot River

There is a picnic area, dock with rental boats, and 32-site campground.

I rode my bike through the campground one day and was impressed with how nice it is. Sites are well separated by tall pine trees and some have lake views. There are only a few pull-thru and back-in sites suitable for big rigs. There are no hookups. The campground has vault toilets and hand pumps for water.

One day I drove Cody to the lake to hike several miles on an old trail along the lake. When I couldn't find the trailhead, I stopped to talk to the campground host.

I learned that avalanches closed that trail several years ago and it's never been repaired. The only trail he could point me to was a short loop of less than a mile through the forest and a wetland area so Cody and I hiked that:


Ferns and dogwood

Lutak Road was our favorite place to ride our bikes in the Haines area. It would be even more fun later in the summer or fall when the salmon are running stronger and more bears and eagles are present.

Next entrymore water, mountain, and wildflower photos from two hikes on the Battery Point Trail

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil