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Upper Russian Lake

 4.3 (6)
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21.7 Miles 34.9 Kilometers



1,379' 420 m


-2,184' -666 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (9°)

1,373' 418 m


491' 150 m


Shared By Leslie Kehmeier



Getting forecast...

A scenic backcountry point to point ride connecting Cooper Lake to Lower Russian Lake.

Leslie Kehmeier

Dogs Off-leash

Features -none-


Upper Russian Lakes is an excellent backcountry ride on the Kenai Penninsula. Expect spectacular views throughout the route. Although long, it's not technical.

Pedaling Russian Lakes Trail from Cooper Lake to Russian River Campground takes advantage of a mostly downhill route with a fun, flowy section to finish.

Russian Lakes trail can also be ridden in the opposite direction or as an out and back.

Need to Know

This ride requires a car dropped at the end of Snug Harbor Rd.

Wildlife - this is bear and moose country. Bells and pepper spray are good options when riding alone. Keep the conversation going if traveling in a group.


From the trailhead at the end of Snug Harbor Rd, Russian Lakes trail travels through a forested valley to start. The route alternates between narrow singletrack and wider winter trail, rolling up and down over small hommocks and across shallow slopes. There are a few open views of the surrounding mountains as well as a few small lakes.

Continue on into an open grassy meadow and stay right to start a short sustained climb. You'll be pedaling up through dense evergreen forest. Enjoy a ripping descent that breaks out into a small canyon with rock walls and open canopy.

From here you'll roll out to an intersection with the Upper Russian Lake Cabin. Stop here if the site isn't occupied, it has a great spot on the lake for a snack.

Roll out through grassy meadow with Cottonwoods to the Aspen Flats Cabin intersection. Along the way you'll start to parallel the Russian River. The trail eventually climbs up the very lower slopes of Cooper Mountain to a viewpoint above the river.

From here there's a quick descent followed by a short punchy climb. You'll descend again through a small gully before breaking into the wide glacial valley above Lower Russian Lake.

The home stretch of the ride is a very enjoyable 5-ish miles of contouring hillside singletrack through a quintessential alpine landscape.

The singletrack jumps out onto wider trail near the very end. This section (crushed gravel) is accessed from the Russian River campground and is frequented by hikers, fisherman and dog walkers.


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Your Check-Ins


Jul 9, 2018
Andy Nager
Trail super flooded out 4mi
Jun 10, 2018
Michael reese
Jul 16, 2017
carey ballard
Jun 12, 2016
Makenzie Jorgensen
Jun 9, 2016
Michael Cameron 1
Trail in great condition. lots of bear scat and a couple prints.
Jun 3, 2016
James Howery
Sep 20, 2015
Aaron Assmann
Jun 30, 2015
carey ballard

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 6 votes


  4.3 from 6 votes
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in Alaska


68 Views Last Month
6,742 Since Jun 9, 2014
Intermediate Intermediate

Decent singletrack, nice variety of trail surfaces, good ride. Jun 4, 2016
Anonymous User
Anonymous User  
Lots of 6 foot weeds obstructing the path for a majority of the way. GPS reported more than 21 miles - more like 25. After 2 weeks of heavy rain, the trail was great, except for where bears are digging up the trail. Aug 10, 2016

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