Northeast Kenai Locations:

Hidden Lake and Burney’s Trail

Red-necked grebes breed on small inland lakes. ©Jim Williams

Notable Species

  • Sockeye salmon
  • Pacific loon
  • Common loon
  • Red-necked grebe
  • Gray jay
  • Common raven
  • Boreal chickadee
  • Red-breasted nuthatch
  • Ruby-crowned kinglet
  • Swainson’s thrush
  • Hermit thrush
  • Yellow-rumped warbler (myrtle)
  • Dark-eyed junco

Hidden Lake extends eight miles into the foothills north of Skilak Lake. In June, sockeye salmon smolts gather in the lake by the hundreds of thousands before migrating down Hidden Creek to Skilak Lake. Up to 30,000 adults return to spawn in June and July. Brown and black bears meander through the dense growth along the creek south of the lake. Hike the 1.2-mile (round trip) Burney’s Trail slowly with ears open for the songs and calls of hermit and Swainson’s thrushes, boreal chickadees, and red-breasted nuthatches. Walk along the lakeshore to the mouth of Hidden Creek to catch a glimpse of muskrats and moose, and to watch yellow-rumped (myrtle) warblers snatch insects from the air.


The trail and lake are surrounded by a young mixed forest of spruce and aspen. Pockets of marsh surround the deep, cold lake.

Geological Connection

The lake follows an ancient channel of the Kenai River.

Viewing Tip

Common loons and red-necked grebes often paddle just off the campground boat launch.

Getting There

Sterling Highway milepost 58. Take Skilak Lake Road, Hidden Lake Campground is about 3.6 miles ahead on the right (north).