Anyone have experience/feedback with trying to either MTB or road bike on Elmendorf/Richardson land? I live in eagle river, and there are relativly few options for biking close by, it would definitly open up my riding oppertunities if JBER has decent biking available. I see that JBER updated to a web based system for thier recreational access pass and you can now sign in-out online so now even easier to use.
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I know there is a lot of training lands on JBER that look like they would be interesting to explore, even if just cruising around on gravel backroads. Looks like there is an designated ORV area too, wonder if it has any decent MTB terrain or if it is all just a 4-wheeler mubdog?
Thanks for any feedback/suggestions.
Just need to know where to look. Through the winter a lot of stuff opens up in there when enough traffic gets on it. Trick is, not a lot of people are over there. The Dome trail is accessible from the southernmost end of the bulldog/tank trail just before it crosses a narrow bridge and heads to campbell airstrip road. Apply for the pass, print it off, and it's good for the year. They are back there a lot more often it seems (I don't see them, just hearsay, and I see truck tracks/ATV tracks on the trails). Not sure what is available on the northern end of JBER though. If you find stuff, hook it up.
"Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."
I got out and spent a few hours exporing around training areas 410 and 411 this weekend. From Eagle river, to access, I just went to the end of Artillary Rd. where it deadends at an unmanned roadblock leading onto base which permits foot/bike traffic and is signed as OK to cross for recreational access (with the online pass), very easy to access. I spent most of my time exploring the area north of the river (Eagle River) and north/south along the railroad. There is a network of wide maintained gravel roads that let you cover milage easy but since the area has been used for troop field manuvers for decades, pretty much all of the land is criss-crossed with old overgrown single wide jeep size trails, 4-wheeler size trails, foot & game trails. Even many of the forest areas are open and brush-free enough that it is not hard to explore around and ride through without an established trail. It was fun to just wander around on a MTB and hunt for interesting trails to follow, and get lost. Plenty of good unsanitized rock and root sections to give your suspension and handeling skills a workout. There is definitly an enourmous amount of land/trails to explore, you could likely ride on Ft.Rich for years and not exhaust the possibilities.
The network of maintained gravel backroads leading to the training areas is also very expansive. Terrain is flat to rolling with short hills, it would be good place to just get out and crank out miles of gravel grinding on a MTB or wider tire road bike, very little traffic to contend with.
I will probably check out the ORV designated area to the southwest of the ER landfill next, increased 4-wheeler traffic likely has created more established trails that will requre less bushwacking.
I've been back to northern portion of JBER biking several times this summer. Biggest disappointment was finding that the Eagle River access at Artillery road has since been gated off to prevent foot/bike traffic from entering there, even when the training area immediatly on other side of the gate was open for use with a recreational access pass.
Riding from Eagle RIver, next closest JBER access point I have found without going all the way back to main post gate is to take the Glen Hwy bike trail about 1/2 mile further toward Anchorage past the the commercial truck weigh station, the base fence there is just a low pipe fence (no high hurricane fence or barb wire) and there are a couple of intentionaly built access point opening gaps in the pipe fence that you can ride a bike through and immedialy get over to the inside perimeter road on base. From the perimeter road, you can quickly get over to pole-line road and the ORV parking lot and trails area. The ORV trails are decent MTB riding, fairly rocky area with not much dirt/mud but has some fairly steep hills that are fun.
The back-roads on the northern poriton of the base are great for gravel-grinder riding. Some sections of the roads are layered with coarse 1-2" diameter gravel/rocks that would be hard on narrow road bike tires but many sections are nice smoothly compacted dirt/gravel and it is all well maintained, no potholes and very, very little traffic. There are two road bridges that cross Eagle River (the actual river) and it is a nice ride to loop and and connect both the bridges. There are almost no roadsigns anywhere throughout the northern base training areas and many small wandering roads so it is very easy to get lost on the roads without having GPS and/or a very detailed map of the roads. I have not yet seen or been approached by the base MPs anywhere but be sure to carry your access pass with you and sign-in/out for each trip and only venture into the training areas that are open to stay out of trouble.
I have not tried it yet, but from maps it looks like it might also be possible to get into the northernmost tip of JBER from the Beach Lake trail system. Anyone know if there are trail connections? Looking at googlemaps, also looks likely that there might be access into northern JBER from end of Eklutna Park Drive (across hiway from Fred Meyer, past Powder Ridge neighborhood development ).
Last edited by GrayJay; 08-29-2012 at 12:53 PM.