2015  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Denali AKA Mt. McKinley

 

   
 
Runtrails' Web Journal
 
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   VALDEZ HIKES & BIKE RIDES, p. 2

SATURDAY, JUNE 20

 
 

Continued from the previous page.

HOMESTEAD-TO-BAYSIDE TRAIL

I don't know the real name of this trail, which I found on a bike ride while searching for the Shoup Bay trailhead. About a quarter mile from West Egan Dr. on Homestead Rd. is a very nice gravel trail that runs about 6/10ths of a mile through woods to the bay and loops back along Mineral Creek.

After reading the sign at the trailhead for Shoup Bay Trail that said the trail was impassable after a mile, I decided to check out the Homestead Trail. It was easy to cycle from the parking area to the bay:

 


Bench with a great view toward Prince William Sound

 

I sat on this log (above) to eat a Clif bar while watching the dredge (below) in the bay.

The trail loops back along the lower end of braided Mineral Creek to the parking area:

 

 

 


View downstream Mineral Creek from the big bridge on W. Egan Dr.

I loved the forest, pretty little brook I passed (shown below), mountains, and views at the end of the trail so much that I went back later that afternoon to hike the path with Jim and the dogs:

 

 

This is a hidden gem that isn't in the summer trail map guide book we got at the visitors' center. Perhaps it's too new.

MINERAL CREEK: LOWER TRAILS

Mineral Creek flows down from the icefields, glaciers, and mountains to the north and west of Valdez. By the time it reaches Port Valdez the stream is braided and as wide as a river, especially in the spring and early summer.

There are two bridges over the creek; the main one is on West Egan Drive. This view looks upstream from that bridge:

A wide, mostly flat trail runs along both sides of the creek for about two miles to another small bridge farther upstream:

Those are the trails where the next set of photos come from:


Gate at West Egan Drive


Neighborhood adjacent to path on 6-20-15


Near-identical view on 6-16-12, after a bad snow year


The path is quite civilized at the beginning.


The main stream in Mineral Creek was running fast but didn't cover the whole braided stream bed.


The "trail" deteriorates farther upstream.

That day I wanted to walk up the far side to the little wooden bridge, cross the creek, and come back on the other side to West Egan Dr.

However, the trail petered out before I got to the little bridge and I didn't want to ford several braids of the creek:

The brush was too dense to muster my way through it for a quarter mile so I turned around and backtracked to the truck on the same side of the creek.

MINERAL CREEK:  UPPER TRAIL

Above the little wooden bridge a rough gravel road ascends through the creek gulch for 5.5 miles to a gate. Four-wheel drive traffic is allowed on this road but creeks and washouts prevent vehicles from going more than a couple miles.

One day I took Casey for a hike. Here are a few pictures I took along the road:


View of Mineral Creek looking downstream from the little wooden  bridge


Looking upstream from bridge


Several motor vehicles kicked up dust while I was hiking.

 

Beyond the gate, a dirt foot path called Mineral Creek Trail continues another 2.7 miles to an old stamp mill and mine.

I didn't get that far on my hike with Casey because I wasn't having any fun. I couldn't see the creek from the gravel road and there was too much dust from traffic. About a mile up the road Casey sensed a bear nearby. I was carrying bear spray and calling out, "Hey, bear!" even before that because I knew they could be in the vicinity.

Casey and Cody both go ballistic when they smell a bear so I thought it'd be in our best interest to retreat -- hair up on their backs like a Mohawk, noses wildly sniffing the air, loud barking. They don't do that for any other wild critter. Somehow they just know that bears are bad news for dogs.

Continued on the next page:  trail to Solomon Lake

Happy trails,

Sue
"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

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