Donna Lakes

 

ATV Trails

Distance:  6.7 miles round trip to first lake; 9 miles round trip to second lake

Considerations: Some parts of trail are very muddy, please don’t cut it up any worse than you have to

Donna Lake is a very attractive spot, with a shoreline covered in mature forest, a view over the substantial lake to the Alaska Range beyond, and a free public use cabin, recently built by Alaska Fish and Game.  Unfortunately, the trail has some major boggy areas that often make it less than pleasant even on a 4-wheeler, and ruin what would otherwise be a really nice lowland hike.  Hopefully Fish and Game will improve this trail with gravel and geoblock like they did with Lisa Lake Trail nearby.  Such treatment would make this an exceptionally enjoyable recreation area.

From Delta, drive 30 miles southeast on the Alaska Highway, across Gerstle River, and look for the large turnout between mileposts 1391 and 1392.  Park here and find the clearly signed trail.  The first couple miles of trail are mostly dry and in good shape, traveling through a mix of white spruce, black spruce, and hardwood lowland forest types.  Around the two mile mark though, the trail enters rolling terrain and alternates between upland birch forest with good trail conditions and lowland, boggy black spruce with the mud holes described previously.  At about 3.3 miles, the trail reaches Donna Lake and the public use cabin.  Taking a left along the lake shore, the trail continues another 1.3 miles or so, with some more muddy areas, to Little Donna Lake.  Little Donna isn’t quite as nice as Big Donna, but it still makes a good bonus and a longer day.

 

Long Winter Hikes

Distance: 6.7 miles round trip to first lake; 9 miles round trip to second lake

Elevation Gain: About 500 feet

Trail Type: Snowshoeing, snowmachining

Considerations: Trail to first lake gets a lot of winter use, less to second lake

Much like the Bluff Cabin Ridge Trails, for foot traffic, the path to Donna Lakes is best saved for winter.  Like Bluff Cabin and Quartz Lake trail systems, this one has only moderate hills and is mostly protected from the wind in heavy forest, though with a very nice mountain view over the lakes at the end.  This one also gets regular snowmachine traffic, so it makes a good cross country ski.  In addition, Alaska Fish & Game recently built a public use cabin at Donna Lake, making the area even more attractive for winter travel.  

Donna Lakes