“Singletrack through forest, farm roads around the fields. Nice diversity of conditions.
— Dot Helm
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
It's seldom closed, BUT around breakup or after heavy rain, please respect the trails so as not to leave footprints for others later in the year.
Most of the trail is non-technical and flat, except for a bit at east end. This is multi-use non-motorized. Be aware of mountain bikes, esp. fast moving ones, although many will be on other trails. They may have bear bells on them so you can hear the bikes coming.
Most people access this trail from Matanuska Lake Trailhead, then take one of a number of connectors up to reach this trail. The south part of the trail is relatively flat through forests of the Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area. You'll pass a short segment to the left where you can access Long Lake. Most visitors will take the trail counter-clockwise, so head left at the intersection, though there's not a sign posted. You'll soon come to a junction with a trail to the left (steep downhill to lake, usually for fishing) and right (to Long Lake Trailhead, including outhouses).
Further along at the east end of the trail, there's an option to take the newer, gentler switchback or the old steep portion (labeled as such on the directional sign). Many will prefer the newer, more sustainable trail, but they rejoin at bottom of the hill (if you opted to head clockwise, you'll have your pick as to how you'd like to climb the hill instead). As you work your way up the other side, you may be able to catch glimpses of Long Lake again. Eventually you'll hit a major intersection with Long Lake Connector
and State Park picnic table. This is a great place for a lunch break!
Continue straight on singletrack until you enter the UAF Matanuska Experiment Farm fields. Continue along the trail at edge of fields. Where you reach a wide area between fields, go east (left) , and that will take you back to the trailhead via the same series of connectors that brought you to the trail.
While the Long Lake trailhead is closer to the trail proper, it may be a little rough and may not be plowed in winter. Many people use the Matanuska Experiment Farm trailhead to reach the trail. Please respect the university fields and stay on trails so as not to interfere with their research.
Flora & Fauna
Vegetation consists of birch, aspen, and white spruce with low shrub understories. Keep an eye out for moose. Bears are rare but have been seen in the area.