Trails in Point Bridget State Park
Point Bridget Trail
3.5 miles one way - allow 7 hours hiking time for round trip. There are two public use cabins for rent along this trail. Click here for more information.
1. Point Bridget Trailhead is on the ocean side of the road at mile 39 of the Glacier Highway. The planked trail first passes through a rainforest muskeg. Look for shore pine trees, sphagnum moss, sundew (leaves are covered with sticky substance that traps insects), violets, Labrador tea and many other interesting and beautiful plants. Sparrows, swallows and woodpeckers are frequently seen here. In the fall, tiny brightly colored leaves carpet the muskeg.
2. Beaver House Meadow is approximately 2 mile from the trailhead. The old growth rainforest along this section of the Point Bridget trail has some of the largest and most beautiful old Sitka spruce trees in the Park. High bush cranberry, devil's club, crab apple, and whole hillsides of lichen can be found here.
Watch for porcupine and squirrels in the woods. There are a number of places to walk out into the meadows where Vancouver Canada geese can frequently be seen in and along the sloughs. They live year-round in Southeast Alaska with more than 700 wintering in the Juneau area. In the middle of the meadow a very large beaver dam and lodge can be seen. Look in the meadows and along the trails for black bear scat and tracks. During the spring, bears feed primarily on sedges, skunk cabbage roots and horsetail in the meadows.
Starting in late July when pink and chum salmon are spawning in Cowee Creek, bears are drawn from a large area to this stream. It is particularly important to make noise and not surprise bears intent on fishing in noisy water. Coho salmon spawn in September and October further upstream. Late in the fall before denning, bears feed heavily on berries and are more apt to be seen in the woods.
3. Horse Meadow - Horses from Echo Bible Camp are often seen grazing in this meadow or resting under the trees. A spectacular wild flower show starts in mid to late May. There are shooting stars and buttercups followed in a few weeks by lupine, iris, wild geranium and then fireweed. There are also patches of Alaska cotton, black lilies, and fragrant bog orchids. Bald eagles live here all year. They are most abundant when fish are spawning in Cowee Creek in late June to October. They are particularly fond of perching in the trees along the edge of the meadows above the trail where several dozen might be observed. There are approximately 30,000 bald eagles in Alaska, more than in all the other states combined.
4. Echo Bible Camp and Smavely Dike - Echo Bible Camp buildings can be seen from the meadows to the northeast across Cowee Creek. The camp land was claimed as a homestead in the 1940s by Allen McMurchie, homesteader and logger. The McMurchie's donated their land to the Gospel Missionary Union for a camp in 1973. Merle Smavely was a partner in the McMurchie logging operations in the 1950s. He had planned to homestead in this area. The dirt dike he built to make a pond can still be seen running straight across the meadow.
5. Intertidal Meadow - The lower part of this meadow is flooded with sea water twice daily during high tides. If you are hiking out in the meadow, you may have to make a long detour around flooded sloughs. The plants here have had to adapt to salt water. Look for goose tongue with its rosette of long tapered leaves coming from the base (no stem) and in late summer a pretty white flower, one to a stem, called Grass-of-Parnasus.
6. Cowee Creek is partially fed by glaciers, making it a milky color in the summer. This is not a safe stream to cross. The water is deep and swift and the milky color makes it impossible to see the bottom. The level of the creek changes with each tide as well as from heavy rain or hot weather that speeds the melting of glaciers. During the early spring and in the winter when the glacier is not melting, the water is beautifully clear.
7. Cowee Meadow Cabin - The beautiful public use log cabin was built in the fall of 1992. It was a joint project with Taku Conservation Society, State Parks, Serve America Youth Corps, and other volunteers in the community. Judy Cooper donated the logs.
8. Berm Beach - A short planked trail leads from the cabin to the berm. The berm is believed to be a natural accumulation of sand. It is a great place to sit among the black lilies, buttercups, and wild geranium to have lunch and enjoy the view of Berners Bay. Directly across Berners Bay high on the ridge at the base of Lion's Head Mountain was the site of several gold mines in the early 1900s. Exploration work is being done today to determine whether the mines will once again be opened. The water body to the left is Lynn Canal, and the Chilkat Mountains are to the west of this body of water.
9. Beaches in this part of the park are rocky and not easy to walk but they may be traveled, except during extremely high tide. Minus tides expose a wealth of intertidal sea life. Consult the South East Alaska Tide Table for the time and dates for the Juneau area minus tides. Tides lower than minus one foot make for exciting critter viewing at the water's edge.
10. Blue Mussel Cabin was built in the summer and winter of 1995-96 from money, materials, and services donated by over 35 individuals, companies, and organizations. The Juneau Area State Parks Advisory Board worked for over a year to solicit the donations, and the Alaska State Park Foundation assisted in holding the funds as charitable donations. The cabin is very popular because of the views and location along the ocean.
In the spring, thousands of white-winged and surf scoters can frequently be seen swimming in the water, wing to wing, in a great raft. The birds feed by diving, almost all at the same time, to the bottom for sea life. Blue mussels swallowed whole are one of their favorite foods.
Sea lions are grouping animals and are frequently seen frolicking near the shore. If you see two eyes peering at you from water level with a small round head above, it is probably a very curious harbor seal.
Beginning in late April through September the sight of a spout on the water usually signals the presence of a humpback whale. It feeds on herring, smelt, capelin and krill in the waters around Point Bridget. Adult humpbacks can be 45 to 50 feet long and possibly live as long as 25 years. If you are lucky you may see a whale breach (the whole body hurls out of the water and comes back with a great splash), or a tail lob. Scientists believe this kind of behavior has something to do with whales communicating with each other.
When the whale dives to feed it frequently stays down 6 to 8 minutes, however if the fluke comes up (tail out of water) on the dive they usually stay down longer and have been observed to stay down 20 minutes or more and come up far away. Whales and other sea mammals often come close to shore in this area to feed in the tidal rips around Pt. Bridget. During winter storms the cabin is an exciting place to see northerly winds and waves crash in on the exposed shore.
11. Point Bridget - The panoramic view of Lynn Canal, the Chilkat Mountains and mountains north and east of Berners Bay is one of the most exciting you will ever see. At your feet are beautiful wildflowers and there is always the possibility of seeing deer and other land-based animals as well as those in the sea. Great place!
Cedar Lake Trail
2 miles from Cowee Meadow Cabin to Camping Cove. The trail begins in front of the Cowee Meadow Cabin and ends at Camping Cove on Lynn Canal.
12. Cedar Lake - This pretty little lake at about the 400 foot level lies on the Cedar Lake Trail approximately 2 mile from Cowee Meadow on the east and 12 miles from Camping Cove on the west. There are a few cedar trees near the lake that are part of a grove that extends for a mile or so to the south and west. Look for Alaska yellow cedar trees that are distinguished by scale like leaves on slightly drooping branches, the gray or purplish shredded bark and a distinctive cedar odor. This slow-growing tree can be 200-300 years old when only 15-20 inches in diameter.
While this tree grows along the coast from Yakutat to California, these trees on this ridge are a rare sight in the Juneau area. Beavers have been busy at the outlet of the lake, eagles can frequently be seen in this area, and there is reported to be a few small trout in the lake. Leaving Cedar Lake on the Cedar Lake Trail toward Camping Cove, the trail rounds the top of the 500 feet in elevation ridge then starts down the west side. As you walk down the trail a series of very pretty meadows can be seen through the trees to the left.
13. Camping Cove - The protected cove with a nice pebble beach is frequently used as a picnic site for those using small water craft as well as hikers and folks who like to fish from the rocks for salmon and char from April through October.
2.5 miles from Camping Cove to North Bridget Cove
14. This unmaintained route begins at Camping Cove and goes south along the shore to Akiyama Bight along the beach then through the woods at the south end of Akiyama Bight to North Bridget Cove. This route also runs north up the outer coast from Camping Cove for another mile or so towards Point Bridget where cliffs prevent continuing along the shore to the point. As you walk along the route old blazes, probably made by trappers many years ago, can be recognized as very dark spots on trees. The beach is very rocky with steep cliffs. However, it is possible to occasionally work ones way out to the top of the cliffs for very rewarding views. It is difficult if not impossible to get to the waters edge along much of this route.
Historic McMurchie Cat Road
From Akiyama Bight 1.2 miles to Upper Cowee Meadow and the Point Bridget Trail (unmaintained - not recommended for summer use)
15. Early in the century, this route was used by miners to go from Bridget Cove to mines up Cowee Creek. Then in the 1940s and 1950s, Allen McMurchie drove his Caterpillar tractor from his homestead near the mouth of Cowee Creek to his logging operations in Bridget Cove. He also walked this route when he wanted to go to Juneau in the winter. When he raised a flag in Bridget Cove the ferry would stop and pick him up. The road leads up over a small pass in the ridge then down to a beaver dam. Be looking for pointed stumps that are a sign of beaver activity (or in some cases boys needing scout training). It's hard to imagine a beaver chewing down a tree, but food supply as well as home building material must make it worthwhile. This old road to the meadow is not maintained for summer use, but may be skiable when the snow is deep.
North Bridget Cove Trail
1/4 mile to beach
16. This is a Juneau City/Borough beach access trail beginning at a signed trailhead on the beach side of the road just before mile 38 on the Glacier Highway.
Click here to see a map of Point Bridget State Park. The numbers on this page corresponds to the numbers on the map.