The hike to Tonsina Creek, a scenic 3 mile trail that takes about 1 hour in each direction, is a local favorite. Locals and visitors alike walk out to the creek itself, and some continue on to Caines Head State Park.
From the trailhead, a gradual climb takes you along the shoreline of Resurrection Bay where you’ll have occasional views of the water through the spruce and hemlock trees. Across the first section of Tonsina Creek, you’ll find a beautiful metal expansion bridge. If you’re here from late June through September, stop and look for salmon spawning in the waters below. And if it’s late June, you can’t miss the blooming irises that take over the surrounding marsh and meadows. The trail then leads you into a beautiful forest with large cottonwood, hemlock, and spruce. And look for the typical rainforest feature of sphagnum moss hanging from limbs, commonly found in wet northern environments. You’ll then come to a long wooden expansion bridge over another section of the creek, which leads hikers an easy-to-reach portion of the shoreline. Enjoy the coastline and beach before heading back.
Note: The parking lot for this trailhead is near the community of Lowell Point. Watch for the state park sign and be ready to pay for parking.