This hike was rated 2 stars.
Moderate; 2/3 is uphill, but if you're in decent shape, you shouldn't have a problem.
Miles One Way
Miles from Anchorage
110; 110; on the Sterling Highway just past the Russian River Trailhead/Campground
May to October


Before I begin my description, I should let you know that my judgment on this hike may be clouded due to the fact that my damn (at least on this day) dog rubbed into a dead fish in the parking lot and stunk to high heaven. I was really pissed at her and we did the hike real quick so I could get to Soldotna and buy some vinegar to wash it out.

This is a nice uphill hike to 3 sub-alpine lakes. Most of the trail is in spruce and aspen forest with one quick skirt of Mystery creek and one quick open view of Skilak Lake.

You’ll hit the 1st lake after about 2 miles. Notice the beaver dam as soon as you reach the shore. As you wind around the lake, you’ll see Round Mountain on the other side. A little ways up is the second lake, which is really more of a pond. Beyond that is the upper lake surrounded by marsh and open views.

There are a few areas scattered here and there to set up a camp but I believe you would not get a lot of privacy.

Verdict: if you’re in the area to fish or camp, it’s a nice summer evening hike, especially if you have small children, but not worth the effort to drive any length of time to get to.

Important Information

I’m noticing on some of the topos that the trail is marked differently than the actual walk. However, the trail is clearly marked and you shouldn’t have a problem.

If you plan on fishing, make sure you are educated about licenses and regulations.


Just a little tidbit here on the extremes in weather up here. I did this hike on Friday, September 24. It was beautifully sunny and in the 50’s. I planned on spending the whole weekend in hopes of hiking a bunch of these lake trails off the Sterling Highway for the website. While I was camping overnight, it started to snow and was already a couple of inches when I woke up. Since I didn’t have my snow tires on yet, I had to hightail it out of there.

If you love to fish, the Sterling Highway is a great place to hang out. There are lots of lakes and rivers, especially the beautiful Kenai and Skilak Lakes. There are numerous public campgrounds and lots of small hiking trails.

Topo Map

Fuller Lakes topo map

Comments on hiking Fuller Lakes

  1. Karen Lakey — August 12, 2019

    August 11th, 2019. The 2 of us started this hike about 11:30 am. As many have stated, the elevation gain is mostly in the first 2/3 of the hike. And thankfully nearly all of that is in the shade of mixed trees. We saw bear scat on the trail twice, about a day old, but we also saw fresh urine in the dirt of the trail that was not visible when we came back down. ( had dried up) So even though the salmon are in the rivers, there are still bears roaming up in the hills too. We hiked to the end of the first lake, and since it was 80 degrees, rested in view of the lake and then hiked back down. The beavers had been busy in the first lake and had dammed a couple of spots on the low side and had a nice lodge on the opposite side of the lake. In the spots where you come out of the trees, the path was overgrown, and the fireweed was over 6 feet tall. Otherwise the trail was in good shape, and easy to find your way. In a couple of spots before you reach the plateau, you have small glimpses of Skilak Lake. There was a small amount of smoke in the air, and on the next ridge there was some smoldering, residual from the Swan Lake fire. All in all, a pleasant hike and a gorgeous day.

  2. Patrick Perry — June 12, 2019

    This hike was one of the first hikes I’ve ever done, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I am so glad I did it, it was absolutely gorgeous and I will probably do it again this summer. And every summer after

  3. georanger — June 10, 2018

    I’ve hiked this trail twice now. First time was 8-10 years ago in mid-July. We’d hiked up to the upper lake and camped on a knoll just beyond the lake. Wildflowers were in full bloom at the time and gorgeous. This hike was on June 9, 2018, on another spectacularly sunny day. We encountered a portion of trail between the lower and upper lakes that was flooded, probably from snow melt still coming off of Round Mountain. We managed to skirt it somewhat by bushwhacking through the thick brush but got wet feet anyway. Another person in our group said she’d turned back once before on this trail because of flooding, so if you are planning on going beyond the lower lake and don’t want wet feet, you may wish to wait until July or later, when the snow is gone. Everyone in our group of 12 agreed the hike was well worth the drive from Anchorage.

  4. Keith Mantey — August 24, 2016

    These lakes are known for good Grayling fishing. A neat photo opportunity tree is on the left not far up from the start. Keith

  5. The following was submitted by Bill Lawson on June 5, 2006:

    The bridge across the stream coming out of lower Fuller Lake by the beaver dam is out and it was sketchy walking across on the bridge remains. We saw the bridge was out, and continued on what we thought could be a trail around the right side of lower Fuller Lake. This trail leads to a good camp spot but dead ends in bog not much further past the camp spot. Lesson learned; follow the main trail across the stream around the left of the lower Fuller Lake. The trail became very boggy and swamped out not much past (~300 yds.) the far end of the little pond below Fuller Lake. We turned around and camped at the pond.

  6. The following was submitted anonymously:

    Rating: 4 moose hooves
    Difficulty: Somewhat Difficult

    Nice hike. Trail in good condition except for a few muddy spots. Had been brushed and blow downs removed. Had several view spots of Skilak Lake.

    Just got to Lower Fuller Lake and found it strenuous but I’m out of shape. The bridge is fixed so no problem there. Good views of lake and mountains and watched the fish swimming around as well as a grebe, some golden-eyes and a sheep.


    A smelly dog is rather unrelated to the goodness of the trail 🙂

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