You'll love this trail! It has a little of everything, starting in the trees then following a rushing stream to open snowslopes, ending at a high mountain lake. The weather in this part of the Kenai Penninsula seems to be dry and warm for most of the summer but snow can be present until June, so make sure most of the snow and snow-melt water is gone before biking here.
Has some technical challenges, including a few rocky and rooty areas, a couple of hairpin (small) creek crossings. Trail has a climb for most of the way, with a gain of at least 1000' feet. There's a National Forest cabin available to rent at trail's end. Also there's a free rowboat. You can see dall sheep, bears, and moose from the cabin and lake. Suggest preparing for wilderness travel because it is truly wilderness! That means extra drink, food, rain gear, extra synthetic clothes. May want to mount bells on your bike to alert bears and moose on the way up, because the trail goes through thick alder and brush in places (although it is well worn and tracked).
In sum, Crescent Lake trail is a jewel! It's great because of varied terrain...open forest, bridges across creeks, short steep up-hills and downhills, and open alpine slopes. At certain times in the summer you can catch big grayling in Crescent Creek and Crescent Lake but check with AK Fish & Game for regulations.
For more detailed info. & more exact information see "Mountain Bike Alaska", by Larson.
From Anchorage, take Seward Highway to the Sterling Hwy. Travel on the Sterling Hwy. about 15 miles and turn left at Cooper Landing on the road that goes to Quartz Creek campground. Drive for about 5 miles to that road's end, which is the parking area for Crescent Lake.
Summary: This is a great trail for AK. I would not recommend it for beginner riders however. It has varied terrain as described by the other reviews. It is a good climb for the weekend warrior getting up to the lake. I put bear bells on my bike, brought a .40 S&W, and my black lab. My dog definitely out climbed me, but coming back from the lake is mostly downhill and I left her in the dust!! I didn't see any wildlife. I did run into another biker while enjoying the scenery at the lake. Be careful of hikers when bombing back down. The trail has nice flow in some areas going back down, along with the rocks, roots, bridges, creeks, etc. I will plan on riding this one anytime I will be in the area.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Haven't tried any yet.
Review Date July 9, 2012
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 3 of 5
Technical Difficulty 3 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: Tom Woods
Summary: Moderate trail with a few steep sections. Well worn throughout. Well maintained. Beautiful trail with great views. A very nice mountain bike ride.
Summary: Rode this trail on Sept 1. Wasn't badly overgrown at all and most of the bugs were gone. Quite fun and a good easy to intermediate ride. Went with a group of 5 riders. One found it to be quite challenging and had some impressive crashes. Watch out where the trail is eroded on the hill side above the water.
Summary: Cresent Lake trail is one of the better trails that I ride on the Kenai Pensinsula, Alaska. Providing a scenic 6.4 mile climb to Cresent Lake (which turns into an excellent, fast 6.4 mile descent on the way out), the Cresent Lake trail proves technical, stimulating, and quite rewarding. While this single track isn't overly technical, several switchbacks, narrow shale passes, and lots of rocks, roots, and small drops make it fun and tricky nonetheless. The first half or so is usually on hillside, giving the rider a great view and the incentive not to fall! The trail later opens up in a few fields and open-hill areas, often placing the rider in the midst of thick vegetation. Be on the lookout for several small bridges and riverside locations.
A warning for the wise: the Cresent Lake trail is at its prime in mid to late June, but quickly becomes overgrown in mid to late July. August finds the devil's club (cow parsnip) too thick to have an uneventful, painless ride. Falling into a patch of devil's club is a nasty occurance, leaving welts and rashes reminescent of wasp stings. Even in June the devil's club is trailside, daring you to venture off trail or fall.
Other than the malicious vegetation, there are few thing to worry about on the Cresent Lake trail. As always in Alaska, be mindful of bears. Make plenty of noise... Carrying bear spray or an air horn isn't a terrible idea, especially if soloing this trail. Also, keep hydrated. The trail is a bit challenging on the ride in, climbing up 1000 or so feet.
All in all, this trail is solid mountain biking fun. Not too rough, but technical enough to keep you entertained, Cresent Lake trail offers a great route to spend your afternoon on, grinding away.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Resurrection Pass, Russian Lake Trail, Devil's Pass
Summary: Beautiful ride up in the mountains of the Kenai mountains. Six miles up and six miles down. Not a relativly hard trail but it is six miles up. Super fast coming down. Lets be respectful to other trail users folks. The forest service gets enough reports of obnoxious mountian bikers. One of the most rides on the Kenai Peninsula. My type of riding