Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mountain Biking In Alaska

Matanuska Valley, Matanuska GlacierImage via Wikipedia

By PJ Williams

Biking in Alaska isnt for the faint of heart. Theres wildlife to contend with, high altitudes that can make any task seem daunting, and more natural obstacles then you can imagine. However, there is also some of the most incredible scenery as well as a challenging ride to be enjoyed.

For beginners, there's the Eklutna Lake trail, about 14 miles of rolling terrain going around a beautiful lake. Fair warning - it's up in the mountains, so it can still be cold, even in late summer, when the sun goes down (finally). Keep your camera handy for bears and other wildlife, and the lake is gorgeous!

The Gull Rock Trail is a 10-mile track near Hope, Alaska. There are some large rocks and roots to keep you on your toes. Otherwise, its a pretty gentle trail, but you can work up quite a bit of speed at times. The best time to ride is in late spring and early summer. By late summer, much of the trail gets rather overgrown with foliage.

The Centenial Park from Muldoon to Stuckagain is located near Anchorage. There many trails to choose from in this 12-mile section of track. Because of the good variety of trails, theres something here for any skill level. A few things you might want to check out during your ride: the Ship Creek dam and reservoir and an old rope swing off the hill. There is a military training camp near North Muldoon so be careful in this area.

The other major mountain biking locale in the Anchorage area is the Hilltop Ski Area. It's got 9 miles of steep climbs and awesome descents. While it's close to Anchorage, keep an eye out for wildlife and other trail users. Side trails may be better for beginners, but the main trails are great for adrenaline seekers.

The essential long haul, "I can't believe we made it" Alaska biking trail is Resurrection Pass Trail near Hope, Alaska. It's got a 40 mile wooded track at high altitude, with lots of steep, technical sections and some challenging downhill areas. You'll want to keep an eye out for obstacles, as this is not manicured in any way shape or form, and it's worth it to do this one with a buddy or two and some tents and make a weekend camping run out of it.

Going a little farther north to the Matanuska-Susitna valley is Silver Creek Trail, outside of Wasilla. Mostly for ATVs, the trail is 4 miles of challenging course, that will take you over the tree line. It's got a great view, but keep an eye out for inclement weather; like in the Rockies, weather can change fast.

Hopefully you have found something here to whet your appetite for all that Alaska has to offer the adventurous mountain biker. Expect the ride of a lifetime!

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See you on the trail,
--Greg

All Day Energy Runners


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