Lisa Lake, Craig Lake
Distance: 1.2 miles round trip to Lisa Lake Cabin, .6 mile round trip to Craig Lake
Elevation gain: very little
Trail type: Hiking, 4-wheeling to Lisa Lake
Considerations: In summer 2016, parts of Lisa Lake Trail were under water. Bring rubber boots
Though this trail used to be an awful muddy mess, the Department of Fish and Game has done us all a great favor by gravelling this one mile walk to a pretty little lake in the foothills of the Alaksa Range. Aside from pretty views, the lake has a public use cabin (must be reserved through ADF&G), a rowboat, and is stocked with fish.
From Delta, drive a little over 40 miles and look for a large double ended pullout shortly before the Johnson River Bridge. There is a sign for Lisa Lake Trail. You can drive the initial portion to another parking area.
The gravel trail winds through black spruce woods 2/3 of a mile or so to the lake. The shortest way to the cabin is to cut off to the right on a non-gravelled trail, as soon as you see the lake, and go around the right hand shore. Unless the water level is very high though, the lakeshore is easily traveled all the way around. A trail leads from the far end of the lake into the woods, and can be used to access the huge gravel bars of the Johnson River, but it’s a muddy mess and probably not worth it to many.
Craig Lake is another nearby option for a short walk. Before the Lisa Lake pullout, a road marked “Craig Lake” leads off to the west. Look for the Craig Lake trail sign and park well off the road. The trail leads through pretty, rolling birch woods about a third of a mile to the lake, also stocked with fish.
Moderate Winter Hikes
Distance: 2 miles round trip to Lisa Lake Cabin; .7 mile round trip to Craig Lake
Elevation Gain: Minimal to Lisa Lake; 100 feet to Craig Lake
Trail Type: Snowshoeing, Skiing and snowmachining to Lisa Lake
Considerations: Trails are generally used heavily enough to be packed down
The parking area for Lisa Lake is plowed regularly by the state. The trail gets quite a bit of heavy use in the winter, enough that snowshoes aren’t always necessary. The cabin at the lake makes it easy to turn this into an overnight trip.
It’s free, but must be booked in advance through ADF&G. The road to the Craig Lake trailhead is generally plowed by someone who lives back there. There is usually room to park at the trailhead, but be aware that it’s a tight turnaround for a large vehicle. Take care not to block the local resident’s driveway. They’ve been very courteous to plow it wide for trail users. The trail doesn’t see a whole lot of use in winter, but makes a very pleasant, if short, snowshoe walk.