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  1. #1
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    Seward vs. Anchorage...where to ride?

    Hey all...looking for a little local insight...

    Heading up to AK for the first time next June, and trying to get our plans in order. I'm probably going to be lucky to get one day on the bike (wife is a roadie, so I'll be solo)...looking for recommendations on whether trails are better in Seward or Anchorage (I'm an XC guy looking for a nice 30-50 mile day). Also need to take into account accessibility of a rental ride...and POSSIBLY a guide?

    Any input is appreciated!

    Also...we are heading to Denali for 4-5 days...rent a camper and stay in the park or just grab a cabin outside the park?

    Thanks,
    mike

  2. #2
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    What time in June? Early June can be hit and miss. Likely there's something or a few things open, but you may not be able to pick and choose. The ultra-epic (views and trail) Lost Lake will not be open in June, but some other peninsula trails will likely be, like Russian Lakes, Johnson Pass, possibly Resurrection/Devils Pass. Check mtbproject for the descriptions/topo/maps. Most of these are all great trails, but they get over-grown in mid to late summer too. Right now, Johnson and Russian are kind of out of the question due to this, but Resurrection is good and Lost Lake is amazing.

    These trails are long enough to fit your requirements if done out-n-back, a few would be ok one-way, no loops really, unless you want to ride a bunch of pavement, but riding the trail is far better IME.

    No stuff like that around Anchorage, all the good stuff is on the Kenai Peninsula. We have nice trails in some parks around Anchorage, enough to ride for several hours in a few locations, but nothing stretched out and epic.

    Paramount Cycles has some nice rentals. Check the BikeMe Anchorage meetup for ride postings. Check back here too.

    As far as the camper vs. cabin, hard to say. Nothing will be cheap. It's jacked way up in the summer.

    Here's my ride from Sunday, to give you an idea of the caliber of the peninsula trails (yes, it's a little smug):

    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  3. #3
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    SWEET video! We will be there at the end of June...getting on a cruise ship in Seward first week in July to meet up with my family...wife and I want a BIT more out of our vacation than just what a cruise line has to offer.

    Money isn't a huge issue (I'm not extravagantly wealthy or anything, but I have two or three coins rubbing together)...if you had the choice...RV or cabin?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sommerfliesby View Post
    SWEET video! We will be there at the end of June...getting on a cruise ship in Seward first week in July to meet up with my family...wife and I want a BIT more out of our vacation than just what a cruise line has to offer.

    Money isn't a huge issue (I'm not extravagantly wealthy or anything, but I have two or three coins rubbing together)...if you had the choice...RV or cabin?
    Still hard to say IMO. An RV means fighting for spots sometimes, but also means being able to stop almost anywhere. I hope you get some more input on this.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  5. #5
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    cooper landing would be your friend.

  6. #6
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    If you can score driving to mile 15 I'd highly recomend the RV as that would offer the most freedom. Some beautiful cabins through the area as well.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  7. #7
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    I'm just hoping for a good day on a bike before being subjected to the harsh reality of a cruise ship with my family for a week!

    The first week will be just my wife and I wandering about trying to do our best to see the sites...and from an outside perspective...Denali seems to be either only accessible to the "masses" of tourist via bus or completely inaccessible to a couple people from Chicago with no backcountry experience. We want to get away from the crowds, but don't particularly want to be eaten by grizzlies...

  8. #8
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    I'll weigh in on the Denali question, possibly just with information you already know. With respect to the RV in the park, you would be able to stay at one of the following campgrounds (assuming you get reservations): Riley Creek (park entrance), Savage River (mile 13 of park road), or Teklanika River (mile 29). The park road is closed to private traffic at mile 15, but folks with reservations at Teklanika can get a permit to drive as far as the campground. If you are driving in (as you would with an RV), you would need to have a three-day minimum stay. Note once in the campground, you can't drive around the park, and would need to rely on the park buses to explore further.

    The vast majority of park visitors take one of the tour buses into the park, turn around, and come back, hoping to see the mountain, bears, moose, etc. Mind boggling scenery, particularly on a clear day, but it can be a long day on the bus. It is a great park for backpacking, since you can take a backpackers bus, get off on the road anywhere you want, do a loop back to the road somewhere else, and flag down a bus back to the park entrance. Backcountry permits can hard to lock down for the most popular park units, and the system can be confusing at first. It sounds like you might not have much backcountry experience? Might not be the best park to try and learn as complete neophytes.

    Just outside of the park entrance there are a number of hotels/lodges packed into "Glitter Gulch." These offer a range of comforts, restaurants, etc, with easy access to the buses into the park. There are also trails in the "front country," like the hike up Mt. Healy, that are fun and offer tremendous views. Further south from teh park entrance, there are commercial cabins at Carlo Creek. I don't know much about them, but it would be somewhere on the scale between RVing in the park and the crowds of glitter gulch. If you have the resources, there are also backcountry lodges in Kantishna that would be worth looking into.

    If I was heading up to Denali, but felt overwhelmed by the backcountry system and/or wasn't comfortable heading off into the backcountry on my own--and I had and was willing to spend the money--I'd probably look into the lodges in Kantishna. I don't know that I have any recommendation on RV versus cabin/lodging outside the park, other than I would think an RV rental would be a lot of cost/effort if you're only using it for a night or two in Denali. If you're touring around more widely (i.e., planning to use it on the Kenai while checking out the Lost Lake trail or something on a rental mountain bike... see, I haven't completely forgotten why you're here), then why not camp in the park too. But if that is the only reason for the RV, I'd just rely on the buses (which you'll have to do anyway) and settle into a cabin or lodge.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the help so far guys. Rented a cabin outside of Denali, so that part of the trip is secured.

    Looks like I'm only going to have one afternoon in Seward to do some riding, but it doesn't look like any place in that town rents bikes? Seward Bike Shop doesn't have a site...and it's the only option I'm finding. Am I missing something?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sommerfliesby View Post
    Thanks for the help so far guys. Rented a cabin outside of Denali, so that part of the trip is secured.

    Looks like I'm only going to have one afternoon in Seward to do some riding, but it doesn't look like any place in that town rents bikes? Seward Bike Shop doesn't have a site...and it's the only option I'm finding. Am I missing something?
    I am pretty sure they do rent bikes. I found 907 224 2448 as a number for them. Sometimes you have to contact people the old fashioned way.
    Latitude 61

  11. #11
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    Don't forget to come fishing if you're going to be in Seward.

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