Manley -> Rampart -> Tanana -> Manley bike and packraft loop.-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Manley -> Rampart -> Tanana -> Manley bike and packraft loop.

    A few friends and I recently did a bike and packraft loop starting and ending in Manley, and (mostly) had a great time. On the off chance other folks would be interested in replicating this trip, I thought I would post the details.

    The basic plan was to take the Elliot highway to old town site of Eureka, then take the Eureka to Rampart road (trail?) to Rampart, float down the Yukon river to the Tanana road, and bike back to Manley. The total milage was about 100 miles of biking, and 60 miles of floating on the Yukon.

    Details on the road to Eureka to Rampart were a bit spotty, but I was told by a musher based in Eureka it should be fine except for a few "wet" spots.

    The trip started after work, when Tom, Heath, and I loaded up into Heath's truck and headed to Manley. *Manley is small town with a nearby privately owned hotsprings and a small roadhouse. Alas, the roadhouse was closed, but we wandered the town a bit, seeing the sights.

    In the morning we headed out on the Elliot Highway to Eureka. Eureka was once a gold rush town, but now appears to be mostly inhabited by a few mushers and some smaller gold mining operations.

    After Eureka we slowly climbed up and over a pass, heading down to Minook Creek, which we were to follow all the way to Rampart. The "road" was in great shape and we had high hopes of zooming off to Rampart.


    Alas, the road turned into a muddy trail ended near Granite Creek, and things slowed down.

    Five hours, four deepish stream crossings, and around 10 miles later we neared Rampart, and were finally back on fast, firm roads again. *

    We did a short tour of Rampart, which was a very quiet town, talked to a few locals who were a bit surprised to see someone arriving on bikes, then camped on a out of the way gravel bar.

    The next morning we loaded up onto our boats, and headed down the Yukon. *

    Bikes on boats junk shows..

    I was a bit worried about the "bike rafting" part of this trip, as I had only done one short test float with a bike on my boat, *but it turned out to be much easier than I expected.

    We spent the rest of the day floating down the Yukon, until mid afternoon, when the wind picked up, and camped just before the "Rampart Rapids", a short section of faster water about halfway to our takeout point. I had been told it was only a rapid in name, and was just some slightly faster water. Our campsite was on a little fresh water creek named Bear Creek, and was a great spot except for a swarm of stink bugs that found our tents and Heath's gloves fascinating.

    The next day we continued down the Yukon, bobbing down the Yukon until we arrived at the Tanana road.

    The Yukon was much more scenic than I expected, with beautiful bluffs and big hills in the distance.

    We arrived at the Tanana road early afternoon, and switched back into biking mode. *

    Alas, the Tanana road ends at the Yukon, about 8 miles or so upstream of Tanana on the other side of the Yukon, so we didn't visit the village, instead biked 13 or so miles and camped in a wonderful mossy spot on a hill. While we were sitting in camp that evening Heath and I had a bit of a panic after we convinced ourselves the maps we had contour intervals in meters, and noticed we had a handful of bigger than 500 meter climbs on the way to Manley. Fortunately we figured out our mistake, mainly that they were actually in feet, and went to bed happy we didn't have thousands of feet of climbing ahead of us.

    The Tanana road was in great shape for biking, but maybe a bit rough for vehicle traffic.

    Most of it was in great shape, but it was very soft in a few spots, and the surface had lots of the sort of gravel and rock pieces that are hard on car tires.

    The next morning we rode the remaining 30 ish miles into Manley, enjoying a few hot climbs (that were not thousands of feet tall) and dusty downhills.

    This trip was pretty fun, but folks interested in replicating it should be aware that there is a lot of muddy soft trail after Granite Creek (mile 12 or so of the road/trail from Eureka to Rampart).

    Gear wise, I did this trip with a Surly Ice Cream truck with some "normal" wheels with three inch tires. I don't really like the way the ICT handles in snow, but I do like how it rides on dirt with 29+ wheels. This setup worked fine for this trip, but I was a bit surprised how little extra grip I got on the mud, and by how much the air pressure varied as we passed though cold creeks and hot sun. Tom's boat has the "cargo fly", zippers that let him store stuff inside the boat, which worked fantastic. I was jealous, and I think I have one of those in my future.

    Alas, my hope rear hubs bearings seem to be pretty rough, which is sad, as the hubs are almost new, and "only" got submerged a "few" times. The I9 front hubs are fine though, as are the rest of the bearings, so perhaps it was just bad luck.

    A map can be found here if folks are interested in the exact route.

  2. #2
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Nice write-up, looks fun!
    "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
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    That looks like a great trip. One of these years I'd like to bike the new road to the Yukon that starts a few miles from Manley off the Elliot. It ends at the river a few miles uptstream from Tanana which is where I'd like to visit. Thanks much for the story and photos. t

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by awinterbiker View Post
    That looks like a great trip. One of these years I'd like to bike the new road to the Yukon that starts a few miles from Manley off the Elliot. It ends at the river a few miles uptstream from Tanana which is where I'd like to visit. Thanks much for the story and photos. t
    We took that road to get from the Yukon back to Manley. It is a pretty nice ride, definitely worth biking.

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