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Upper Russian Lake



21.7 mile 34.9 kilometer point to point
100% Singletrack


Ascent: 1,379' 420 m
Descent: -2,184' -666 m
High: 1,373' 418 m
Low: 491' 150 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)


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Trail shared by Leslie Kehmeier

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

Leslie Kehmeier

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

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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Jun 22, 2019
John Jeppson
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

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 8 votes


  4.4 from 8 votes
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in Alaska


209 Views Last Month
7,781 Since Jun 9, 2014



Rolling along the Russian River
Jun 9, 2014 near Bear Creek, AK
Riding the Russian Lakes Trail.
Aug 7, 2016 near Bear Creek, AK
The valley opens up heading north towards Lower Russian Lake.
Jun 9, 2014 near Sterling, AK
Russian Lakes trail on the eastern end near Cooper Lake
Jun 9, 2014 near Bear Creek, AK
Cool waters along the Upper Russian Lake Trail
Jun 24, 2015 near Bear Creek, AK
Pushing - at least the scenery is good!
Jun 24, 2015 near Bear Creek, AK

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