China Poot Lake Trail

Kachemak State Park
This hike was rated 2 stars.
Moderate; very overgrown trail with limited sight for bears, potential for falling, and can be sometimes hard to find, more so after the lake on the way to the Wosnesenski River Trail. This is not a trail to daydream on. However, there is very little elevation gain.
Connects With
Wosnesenski River Trail
Lagoon Trail
Poot Peak (north route)
Coalition Trail
Moose Valley Trail
Miles One Way
Miles from Anchorage
225; half hour boat ride out of Homer (list of authorized water taxis)
June to September (very rainy in late season)


I’m about to trash this trail and I do it with a heavy heart. I feel bad because I know that the Park is doing the best they can with limited resources. All trail work is being done with volunteers and it is a major uphill battle with all the dead spruce due to the the spruce bark beetle infestation. I need to be honest for visitors, but for residents, let this be a call to us to make our state government give more to our parks. With oil at $60+ a barrel, now is the time to upgrade!

Last year, I did the Grewingk Valley and had a great time. This year, I was very excited to check out the trails south of Halibut Cove. My first day on the Wosnesenski River Trail was not a treat, a endless overgrown trail with very little view. This trail is more of the same. What should be the reward, China Poot Lake, is barely visible and the few campsites that are available are not my ideal spots; no view with limited space to set up camp and relax.

I would recommend this area only with the intention of staying at either the cabin on the Lake or the one at Halibut Cove. Both offer great views and this would be more about hanging out in a cabin with good friends then with hiking. However, it may seem worthwhile to brave the trails to check out the Poot Peak Trails for views of the Glaciers. You don’t have to take the spur to the summit.

Important Information

As stated above, the park is only accessible by water taxi. Due to the extremes in tides in the area, the “driver” will determine when he can drop and pick you up depending on where and when you want to go.

Be prepared that if adverse weather conditions occur, the driver may not be able to pick you up at the designated time. You may even have to stay over one more night. Make sure you pack extra food, etc. There are designated campsites on the beach if need be.

Obviously, you need to pay attention when on this trail. If you feel you went off trail, head back 10 or 20 feet and try again; you can usually pick it right back up.
There was bear scat everywhere! Make sure you hang up your food, don’t eat near camp, and make lots of noise on the trail.

Devil’s club and cow parsnip are all over the the trail as well. Better to wear long pants and if you’re short, you may want a long sleeve shirt as well.


The City of Homer is one of the best towns in Alaska. I absolutely love this place. I would highly recommend spending a few days here before or after your backpacking trip. If fishing, whale and other marine life watching, or road tripping is on your itinerary, make Homer the place to do it. More information can be found here.

Topo Map

China Poot Lake Trail topo map

Comments on hiking China Poot Lake Trail

  1. J Austin — September 1, 2015

    We stayed in the Overlook cabin at Halibut Cove Lagoon in August 2015, and hiked this trail many times during our stay there. This particular trail was in good condition, and was cleared of brush and deadfall at that time, all the way up to the South China Poot Peak trail intersection. It was also full of wonderful berries, like the other commenter mentioned. The area around China Poot Lake seemed well-used and it was clear around the cabin and tent campsites by the lake.

    Most other trails in this part of the park, however, were not cleared at all. For example, we couldn’t hike past the turnoff to China Poot Peak and go all the way to Wosnesenski River Trail, and the Lagoon Trail was very brushy, to the point of being impassable. All the updates were posted at the ranger station, and you can also call the park ahead of time to see what has been cleared. I would HIGHLY recommend calling before heading over.

    In short: we had a great time on this trail, but call ahead for trail conditions in this park as they don’t clear every trail each year.

  2. The following was submitted anonymously:

    I stayed in Halibut Cove from 7/31/09 to 8/2/09. This year, the State Park Services has done a fantastic job on the China Poot Lake Trail. It is clear all the way to the lake, with many bridges made of tree trunks.
    At one spot, there is a short flight of stairs calved out of smaller tree trunks which is quite adorable. The view along the trail isn’t much to talk about, mostly trees and bushes. You will not see the China Poot Lake until you are almost at the end of the trail. If you like berry picking, you will be in heaven on this trail. There are plenty of high bush blueberries, watermelon berries, salmon berries, cranberries, etc.

    However, except for the lake trail, other trails from the Lagoon are mostly overgrown. I took a loop hike routed from the Lagoon to China Poot Bay, China Poot Lake, China Poot Peak and back to the Lagoon. This hike took me about 10 hours and I was soaked most of the way. I took the north route to the Poot Peak to save some time. But it is very steep and slippery. It may take me the same amount of time had I chosen the further gentler south route.

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