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Kanatak Trail

Location In Becharof National Wildlife Refuge, on the Alaska Peninsula in Southwest Alaska. The western end of the trail begins at the southern end of Island Arm in Becharof Lake. The trail crosses over the coastal mountains through Kanatak Pass, 1,000 feet in e
State(s) Alaska
Counties Lake and Peninsula Borough, Kodiak Island Borough
Type Backcountry
Length 5.00 Miles / 8.05 Km Loop Trail? No
Allowed Uses Camping
Heritage and History
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Wildlife Observation
Agency U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Entry Fee? No Parking Fee? No




photo: View west from Kanatak Pass
View west from Kanatak Pass

The Kanatak Trail in Becharof National Wildlife Refuge captures a human story in a wild landscape. The route has been used for centuries as a relatively easy connection between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. Other trails existed on the Alaska Peninsula, but few so well known and easily accessible. This unique trail honors the resourceful people of the Peninsula, and provides an unusual educational and recreational experience for today's visitor.

Unlike trails near urban centers, the Kanatak Trail is in a remote and primitive natural setting. No road leads here. Hikers are unlikely to see other people on the trail. The challenges of access, weather, and terrain ensure a unique and wild experience.

Floatplanes or boats can access the western end of the trail from the southern end of Becharof Lake's Island Arm. The route parallels Ruth River up to beautiful Ruth Lake in a glacially carved valley. The trail from there climbs relatively gradually to thousand foot Kanatak Pass.

Views extend to volcanic Mount Peulik, and the Becharof Wilderness bordering Katmai National Park. Many changes in vegetation can be observed along the way, resulting in a diversity of wildflowers. Photographers are often rewarded in this land of constant change.

Summit Lake in Kanatak Pass is a windswept locale. On the eastern side of the pass, a spur trail offers exceptional views from a cliff edge of the ocean and the rugged (Continued...)


Visitor Information

Date Opens: 1/1 - Date Closes: 12/31

Time Opens: Not Available - Time Closes: Not Available

Closures apply to floatplanes during hunting seaso


To reach the trail, a boat or airplane is essential. Boats and floatplanes may access the west end of the trail from Island Arm in Becharof Lake. Boats and wheeled planes capable of beach landings may access the east end of the trail on the Pacific shore; planes must land at low tides only, and boats must have calm water conditions. Floatplanes can land on Ruth Lake for access to the trail on the west side of Kanatak Pass. Local knowledge of weather conditions, landing sites, tides, and other complications is essential: contact the USFWS office in King Salmon or the King Salmon Visitor Center before making plans. (Lat/long or UTM coordinates may be needed for accurate location by visitors)


Additional Information

Width: 18 inches.

Primary Surface: Grass or Vegetation

Secondary Surface: Grass or Vegetation
Rock, boulders
Soil, compacted
Water, moving

Average Grade: 16%

Elevation Low Point: 30

Elevation High Point: 1000

Year Designated: 2012

Date Last Updated: ---


Contact Information

Public Contact:
Julia Pinnix
Visitor Services Manager
US Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 277
King Salmon , AK 99613
(907) 246-3339


Related Webpages and Documents

Title Type Link
Archaeologist Tom Prang at Summit Lake, Kanatak Tr Photo View/Download
Hiking the eastern section of the Kanatak Trail Photo View/Download
Hiking the western section of the Kanatak Trail. Photo View/Download
Clearing the Kanatak Trail. Photo by Student Cons Photo View/Download



Do you see a problem with this trail data? Contact either the trail manager (listed above) or email


NOTE: The information on this web site and/or in this database is provided for the convenience of the public, trail managers, organizations, elected officials, etc. Neither the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, nor American Trails can guarantee that the information is accurate. Trail users are urged to inquire locally about weather, trail conditions, trail characteristics, fees, and regulations! The information on this web site and/or in this database should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government, and any mention of trade names, commercial products, or businesses does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.




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