Peterson Bay Trail System
Peterson Bay Field Station is located on a narrow peninsula between Peterson Bay to the north and China Poot Bay to the south. Several miles of trails provide access to the coastal forest land that belongs to the Seldovia Native Association (SNA). The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies leases the land from SNA with the understanding that we will be caretakers of the land and guide visitors to respect and honor the land that has been used by their ancestors for thousands of years.
Rich intertidal areas in both bays and the coastal forest are a short hike from the Field Station.
Coastal Forest Trails
The coastal forest ecosystem is a magical place to visit, engaging all of your senses. The smell of decaying wood, false azalea and damp moss permeates the air arouses all our other senses as well. Northern 3-toed woodpeckers drum and Varied thrushes sing from the canopy and squirrels chatter from snaggly branches as you walk along soft forest trails. Cool breezes blow from the surrounding bays as you ascend the Island Peninsula ridge, and, in late summer, tart blueberries dazzle your taste buds.
Just 5 minutes from the field station, this fascinating area contains the sundew carnivorous plant, colorful flowers in June and July, and a variety of small evergreen plants. Guides interpret bog ecology and the bog/forest edge often provides glimpses of a variety of songbirds. A boardwalk runs throughout the bog for easy access.
Lost and Found Lake Trail (1-2 hours, ~1.2 miles, 200 foot elevation gain)
A moderate hike on a loop trail visits the bog, climbs the ridge of the Island Peninsula for stunning views and descends to a small lake. The trail meanders through the coastal forest where your guide will point out the flowering plants, mosses, lichens, shrubs and trees that grow in a northern coastal temperate forest and interpret the ecology of this dynamic ecosystem.
Earthquake Point Trail (3-4 hours, ~2 miles round trip, 300-400 foot elevation gain)
Visitors interested in a more challenging hike may elect to hike to Earthquake Point, an overlook with beautiful vistas of Poot Peak and China Poot Bay.
Beach hikes provide opportunities to view marine life, stunning Kachemak Bay, and unique geological formations including twisted sea cliffs and distant volcanoes.
Trails to China Poot Bay
Rich intertidal areas and a spectacular view of the Chugach Mountains is a Kenai Mountains are just a 20-30 minute walk from the Field Station. The low tide trail crosses a salt marsh and ghost forest meadow and an upland forest trail is used when the tide is in.
Peterson Bay Outer Beach Trail
Boats arrive at the CACS dock opposite the Outer Beach or may land directly on the beach when the tide is extremely low. The gravel beach provides easy hiking to is an easy hike from the Field Station and Otter Rock's diverse intertidal community. The beach is an excellent place to enjoy a relaxing picnic, explore natural rock formations, play games, or skip rocks. Depending on the tide, a slough crossing requires footgear that is either waterproof or can become muddy.
A visit to the Wynn Nature Center provides an opportunity to compare forest ecology of the coastal and boreal forest "edge" communities.