Pt. Bridget Park offers trail options

Posted: Sunday, June 09, 2002

Point Bridget State Park was created in 1988 by the state Legislature. This was the culmination of some 15 years of effort by recreationists, conservationists and the Juneau Area State Parks Advisory Board to get a state park for the state capital. Point Bridget State Park trails lead to and through this beautiful and exciting park.

The trailhead for the main trail is at mile 39 Glacier Highway at the fairly large state park sign and pullout for parking. It is 3 1/2 miles to the end of this easy-to-hike trail. The trail may be muddy in spots so boots are advised. It is not much more than 50 feet above sea level at any point along this trail.

The trail begins on a boardwalk in a rain forest muskeg where violets, pink Nagoonberry blooms, white Labrador tea and many other tiny blossoms can be enjoyed in the spring. Approximately one half mile down the trail are several meadows. Beautiful spring flowers carpet these meadows with shooting stars and buttercups followed by lupine, iris, bog orchids, black lilies and then fireweed later in the summer. Bears are frequent visitors in the meadows as are horses from the Echo Bible Camp across Cowee Creek.

The last part of the trail leads along the upper beach overlooking spectacular views of Berners Bay and surrounding mountains. Whales, seals, sea lions and sea birds can often be seen in the bay. In addition, rich intertidal sea life is fun to observe during low tides.

There are two public use cabins in the park. It is 2 1/2 miles to the Cowee Meadow Cabin near the end of the series of meadows. The Blue Mussel Cabin is about another three-quarters of a mile, near the end of the trail. These two cabins can sleep about eight people with proper pads and sleeping bags. They are extremely popular, which makes it necessary to make reservations well in advance. To inquire about availability and to make reservations, visit the Alaska State Parks office, 400 Willoughby Ave., 4th floor in downtown Juneau, or call 465-4563.

Trappers Trail is a beautiful route leading to Camping Cove along the outer coast of the park. Access to this trail is from the North Bridget Cove Trailhead at mile 38 Glacier Highway. This trail and the Cedar Lake Trail, which connects from Camping Cove over the ridge to Point Bridget Trail, and McMurchie Cat Road Trail have not been maintained in recent years because the state Legislature has cut so much of the funding for state parks. However, it is still possible to follow the first two routes. The McMurchie Trail is extremely muddy and flooded by beaver dams.

The Point Bridget State Park trail guide has a good map showing the trails and would be helpful in finding and following these routes. The free guide, with things to see and look for along the trails, is available in the state parks office. The trail guide "90 Short Walks Around Juneau" also has a map and information about these trails and is available in bookstores, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, and U.S. Forest Service office on Old Dairy Road.

Mary Lou King is a trail-book author and a member of Trail Mix, a Juneau-based nonprofit group overseeing trail management and development. This is one in a series of trail columns by members of Trail Mix.

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