First off, a little truth in advertising; this is really only a 4 lakes tour. The trail was cut off due to Skilak Lake Road being built and there were 3 others north of the road. From north to south the 4 lakes are; Kelly, Hikers, Hidden, and Engineer. When I did this trail I hiked it south to north since where I camped was closer to the southern trailhead.
If I were to do this trail again, which I probably wouldn’t, I would only do Kelly to Hidden Lake as these 2 lakes have the most scenery. I didn’t have a good time hiking this trail as it breaks my number one rule for what makes a great hike; too much canopy. While the lakes are nice with great views, they’re not spectacular and there is no real shoreline (except Kelly) to sit and relax. If I lived in this area, I would probably use it for my weekday dog walks.
I’m not sure how the fishing is in these lakes.
About 3/4 of a mile in, I took a wrong fork and came upon a cabin. I have no information on this and whether it’s for rent or not. If so, it’s pretty secluded and looked like it was built pretty recently.
The following was added 12/13/06:
Bill Kent, Supv. Park Ranger for the Kenai Wildlife Refuge provided the following link for information on the cabin: http://kenai.fws.gov/VisitorsEducators/cabin/engineer/engineer.htm. Thanks for the help!
If coming from the southern side (starting with Engineer Lake), you will come across a fork; take the left one. The right fork leads to a cabin and the shoreline.
If you plan on fishing, make sure you are educated on current regulations. Alaska takes wildlife management very seriously.
The Trail can get very muddy in sections if rain and probably should be avoided during breakup.
The entire Skilak Lake area is a great place to hang out, especially for families with small children (under 7). There are several great state campgrounds, easy trails but with great views, fishing, lots of wildlife, and some nice scenic overlooks. Skilak Lake is beautiful!