We arrived late Friday night to this quiet campground and couldn't really see what we got ourselves into. A tent from a neighboring site was fairly close to our space so we built a quick fire, pitched our tents on semi-level areas, and turned in early. When we awoke the next morning, we were pleasantly surprised!
Our site was very well maintained, with a wide parking space and solid picnic table. There were no tent pads, but flat ground could be found fairly easily for our small tents - though this would have been a struggle for anything much larger. The fire pit's movable grill was very handy. We found water spigots close-by that had clear, cool water running through them. Trash was centrally located, though no recycling was indicated. Restrooms had vault toilets that were smelly, but maintained, just remember to bring your own hand sanitizer!
Though our site (#21) was close to road noise, the sounds didn't bother us, even in the quiet campground. Firewood can be purchased onsite for $6 a bundle. Mosquitos stayed away and our fellow campers were very respectful.
Sunset Cove is right off of Odell Lake and water access was easy to find. A trail marked with blue arrows took us from our campsite and brought us to a day-use area with a jetty, multiple picnic areas, and a beach! We enjoyed dinner and sunset there on our last night. We also found great activities nearby during the day like Crescent Lake and Moon Falls. Protip: the closest store is the Odell Sportsman Store though it felt like a convenience store for us. If you can take a little drive, we recommend Rays in Oakridge for food and supplies.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. For the last few weeks, I have been testing the Tracker FG hiking boots from Vivobarefoot.
Even before I made my choice of which Vivobarefoot shoes would be best for me, I was apprehensive. I have flat feet and their "Firm Ground" barefoot sole didn't seem like it would be very helpful for me. But after encountering toe pain and shin splints from a high-arch boot, I decided to give the Tracker FG's a try.
On first impression, the look is great. The red detailing and age-friendly, waterproof vegan leather made me really excited. I did notice that my feet look a little different in these shoes, though that's normal. The wide toe is meant to allow room for your piggies to move around and get strong on their own, but it looked a bit like I had slippers on at first. I quickly got over this. More than anything, I was curious how long it would take for me to feel the benefits of this new shoe style.
Vivo recommends working with the shoes to build foot strength for long hikes in the future, so I did just that. I wore my shoes around town, to work, and on trails close to home. I never felt the need to do any extra breaking in however - in fact, I actually felt ready to wear them on my longest hikes because they made my feet and legs feel that much better. Within days of walking at least 4 hours in the shoes, my shin pain was almost completely eliminated. The long-term pain in my big toes and balls of feet was gone within 3 weeks. After a month of use I was able to complete a 12 mile hike over rocks, fallen trees, and streams with ease.
The Tracker FG boots fit me like a cozy sock from the start, and provided all the support I needed in every environment. Their smooth thermal insole came in handy on cold morning hikes yet weren't too stuffy when I wore them for 18 hour days while camping in and around Sunset Cove. The sole's lugs gripped terrain of all types while also keeping me steady in the mud. Though I did find my footing less secure when descending on ultra-smooth surfaces, I experienced less slippage than my friends when hiking beside a powerful waterfall. My feet stayed nice and dry as well!
Quick tips and full disclosures:
If you asked me where my favorite spot in Alaska is, I might just choose the Russian River. Whether you're into the RV life or are looking for a more rugged experience, this campground can satisfy your desires.
A quick 2 hour drive from Anchorage takes you to the campground, a well-paved and serviced series of loops that you'll always feel safe in. We personally preferred the outer edge of the Silver Salmon Loop, though we enjoyed them all. If you're a big fisher, the Red Salmon Loop is your go-to spot for easy access to the river. It isn't hard to find yourself standing with dozens of anglers in the peak season, but if you're not too competitive, theres usually a secluded spot to be found - just watch out for bears trying to swipe your catch of the day!
The grounds have easy access to a number of trails in the Chugach Forest. Try the Russian Lakes Trail if you are interested in a short hike to see salmon jump into the Russian Falls. The Angler's Trail will take you right to the Kenai-Russian River Confluence - one of the most unique sights in the world! And there's both a boat launch and Kenai River ferry nearby if you're willing to go big.
Overall, the Russian River Campground's extra amenities (parking lots, covered bathrooms, provided drinking stations) are a real perk, but you don't have to worry about losing the natural, wild beauty of the Chugach Forest and all of the wildlife that comes with.