Story last updated at 8:49 PM on Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Diamond Creek Trail The little trail with the huge payoff



By Aaron Selbig
Staff Writer

So what's a Homer beachwalker to do when the summertime hustle bustle of Bishop's Beach, which sometimes plays host to loud parties and even louder four-wheelers, gets to be a little too much?

Just head on up the road a little ways, as I did on a recent sunny Sunday afternoon, for a peaceful walk down the Diamond Creek Trail.

The trail, located about four and a half miles west of town off the Sterling Highway, is a perfect day hike for families -- even little kids should have no problem with the well-maintained mile and a half path -- and offers stunning views of Kachemak Bay on its way down to Diamond Creek Beach.


 

Photo by Aaron Selbig

The short hike down Diamond Creek Trail pays off quickly with panoramic views of sandy beach wedged in between lupin-covered foothills and the open sea.

To get there, pull left off the highway directly across from Diamond Ridge Road on the unmarked Diamond Gulch Road, an old subdivision road that meanders a mile or so down to the trailhead. Some folks prefer to park at the top and make the gravel, tree-lined road part of the hike but it is drivable all the way to the end, where there is ample parking available.

The Diamond Creek Trail heads into the forest from there, following a bluff along Diamond Creek through alders, high grass and wildflowers. The beginning of the trail is hard-packed gravel and, but for a couple of muddy spots, is in good shape this time of year. After a short stretch through the woods, glimpses of the open water and the beach below offer plenty of awesome spots to snap a photo.

The trail is closed to motorized vehicles but open to just about everything else, as my dog found out when she bounded around a blind corner and was stopped cold by two horses, their riders grinning as she whimpered in fear and slowly backed away.

A short while later, just as I was beginning to imagine how the return trip up the bluff might get the old heart rate going, there we were -- emerging from the woodline into a sandy oasis of pristine, peaceful beach.

It's a quick hike, to be sure, but the Diamond Creek Trail is loaded with natural beauty, sweeping vistas and the payoff of a lovely, off-the-beaten-path stretch of beach.

The beach itself stretches in two directions -- southeast about four and a half miles to Bishop's Beach or northwest all the way to Anchor Point. Either way would make for a fantastic longer range hike, as long as the hiker was mindful to depart on an ebbing tide in order to avoid being trapped along the surrounding cliffs.

The dog and I walked along the beach for about a mile or so toward Homer, stopping to eat lunch and take some photos of the eroding, lupine-covered cliffs to our left and the shorebird-laden rock outcroppings on our right.

On the way back up the trail, my heart did indeed get going and the sweat started to pour, but in a mostly good way. It's a short hike, after all, and the dog and I were back at the car in a matter of minutes.

Next time, we're bringing the rest of the family and enough supplies for a nice picnic on my new favorite beach.

Aaron Selbig can be reached at aaronselbig.@homernews.com.

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