Oct 30, 2012

Reflection Lake ~ Palmer Hay Flats

One of my favorite walks is the one mile loop around Reflection Lake on the Palmer Hay Flats. You can access from the Glenn Highway exit just north of the Knik River bridge. There's a small parking area with signage for Reflection Lake.
I waddle pretty slowly and I can do the loop in under an hour. I've seen moose, beaver, eagles and squirrels along this trail. The pictures below were taking in late October, 2012. The temperatures have been below freezing, but no snow. This is sometimes the best time of year to be out. It doesn't take too many layers to stay warm and there's no mosquitoes. Those little blood suckers were horrible this summer, so it's a nice to not have to deal with them.
I like to walk the trail in the counter clockwise direction, going to your right as you start the loop.
For more info on the Palmer Hay Flats, you can visit the Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats groups website here.
 There's a restrooms and trash bins right near the parking area... Well, by restroom I mean an outhouse. But they were clean and readily accessible.
 The Rotary Club and Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats were in the process of putting up a covered pavilion. This will be a great place for having picnics.
 The side trails are clearly marked along the loop. Getting lose would take some effort....
 The overlook located between the parking area and the bridge. Sitting on these benches gives you a great view of Pioneer Peak & the Chugach Mountains to the south.
 The sun peeking over the Chugach Mountains. This picture was taken at about 12:20pm. The sun this time of year stays low in the southern sky.
 The bridge over a side channel. From this bridge we've seen beavers working in the channel below during the summer.
 Evidence of the beaver's activities.
 The lake and the mountains beyond.
 The trail is very well maintained. Parts of it are graveled and the rest of it is packed soiled. This makes for very easy walking.
 I love the frost on the trees.
 Looking towards the north over the Hay Flats at the Talkeetna Mountains.
 The lake is frozen over.

 2/3 of the way around going counter-clockwise is a bench overlooking the Knik River, looking south towards the Chugach Mountains.
 The Knik River. The other day I was here just after high tide as the tide was going out. The ice was grinding along the edge.
 Mt. Sustina, also know as the Sleeping Lady in the distance.
 The trail.
 Looking to the north over the lake with the Talkeenta Mountains in the distance. The sun was warming up the lake and the ice was popping and creaking. I tried to getting a recording of the noise, but it wasn't anything like being there....
 Another bench. This is why I recommend traveling counter clockwise along the trail. If you are getting tired by this point, you have a place to relax. But even if you don't need a break, it's a great spot to stop and enjoy the view.
 Pioneer Peak to the south.
 More beaver activity. This was quite a while ago and the bark has grown back around the wound.
 As the trail wraps back around towards the beginning, there's a board walk to keep you up out of the marshy area.
 The board walk.
I've always loved how this type of frost looks.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great pictures. Winter (fall) frost is beautiful. Hope to do that walk with you someday.
Love Mom

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous! Just absolutely gorgeous!

Nancy Adele said...

Thanks for posting these great photos. Enjoyed them immensely.

tbbotts said...

Great pictures Todd! Are there fish in the river/lake? What about bears- any problem with those guys on this trail? If I make it up that way to visit Autumn I'll have her take me to the trail. It looks nice. Love the frost.


AKStafford said...

Fish run up Knik River. The best place to fish for them is at the Eklutna Tail Race or Jim Creek. ADF&G stock the lake with trout.
No bears, but you do have to watch for moose. I walked it last January and counted a dozen moose and had a pretty close encounter with two of them.