Tazlina Lake Trail- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tazlina Lake Trail

    Just got back from riding to Tazlina Lake on the historic trail from mile 153 on the Glenn Highway. The trails are in really good shape and the weather is perfect there this time of year.

    We stayed at the Mendeltna Creek Lodge. They have heated cabin rentals for $50/night, really good food at very reasonable prices, and a full bar with craft beers on tap. The owners maintain a private groomed ski trail system, welcome winter bikers, and there are also groomed trails tying into the Lake Louise trail system so the riding opportunities are many. There is still about 34 inches of snow and the riding should be good until around mid April. It's a nice little getaway and a great place to base out of for late season snow riding.

    www.mendeltnacreeklodge.com

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the update Wildfire, now on my long list of rides to try!

  3. #3
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    Bucket list

    Quote Originally Posted by JordyB
    Thanks for the update Wildfire, now on my long list of rides to try!
    I've been wanting to do this ride for years and thought it would be a big undertaking but it was pretty easy, just 8 miles in each way to the lake on a narrow trail through the woods.. The trail comes out at the mouth of Mendeltna Creek on the north shore of Tazlina Lake where there was once a good-sized native village. The lake is over 20 miles long with a large glacier at the south end. We saw a few snowmachine tracks heading off that way but it didn't appear as if the lake got much traffic so I'm not sure how difficult it would be to get to the glacier. I'll save that for another trip.

    Here's a photo of the Tazlina Glacier and lake by Bruce Molnia from the USGS web site. It's the largest north-flowing glacier in the Chugach mountains.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tazlina Lake Trail-tazlina-glacier-bruce-molnia.jpg  

    Last edited by Wildfire; 03-28-2011 at 12:18 PM.

  4. #4
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    There is usually a fair amount of traffic up to the glacier but things get blown out quickly up there. There is a trail that cuts across the lake and heads into the hills on the east side. Another approach is to take the trail slightly west of Eureka lodge that heads towards Goober Lake and the Heavenly Hills. You can drop down from there and meander to the lake and then come back up the Mendeltna Trail but that requires riding the trails along the road back (if you parked at Eureka) which are not too bad.

    There are so many trails to bike on in the Nelchina (especially north) and this is the best time to ride them. They will be getting rapidly slushy over the next two weeks.

    Sounds like new owners have taken over at the Lodge in the last couple of years?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valhalla
    There is usually a fair amount of traffic up to the glacier but things get blown out quickly up there. There is a trail that cuts across the lake and heads into the hills on the east side. Another approach is to take the trail slightly west of Eureka lodge that heads towards Goober Lake and the Heavenly Hills. You can drop down from there and meander to the lake and then come back up the Mendeltna Trail but that requires riding the trails along the road back (if you parked at Eureka) which are not too bad.

    There are so many trails to bike on in the Nelchina (especially north) and this is the best time to ride them. They will be getting rapidly slushy over the next two weeks.

    Sounds like new owners have taken over at the Lodge in the last couple of years?

    We did see quite a few snowmachine tracks coming into the lake from the west down the Nelchina River so that ride looks doable now. There is an old mining/native route over the hills on the east side of the lake to St. Anne's Lake and then south to Klutina Lake, too although we didn't see any tracks heading that way. You can also do the ride we did but instead of backtracking once you hit Tazlina Lake, you go east along the north shore for a couple miles and then take another trail north back to the highway at the old Tazlina Roadhouse which is about a 27 mile ride.

    The owners of the Mendeltna Creek Lodge are Mabel and Russ Wilmer and they said they have been there for nine years now. We were the only guests there last weekend and this seems to be a slow time of year for them for some reason. We didn't even see any snowmachiners on the trails so I guess most people are getting into spring mode at home.

    I have heard that snowmachiners from Valdez ride up the Valdez Glacier, cross Cashman Pass onto the Tazlina Glacier, then ride down the glacier to Tazlina Lake, have lunch at Eureka Roadhouse, then ride back to Valdez all in one day. Pretty amazing.

  6. #6
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    I know you and I have talked about this area and it's possibilities before. I have been on that trail to St Anne's and Klutina on a snowmachine but I have often wondered if it would be doable on a bike. I think it would depend on the level of trapping activity. The ride downhill to the Richardson from Klutina Lake is a fast little ride(at least in summer). I spent 2 years mapping all of those trails from Eureka to the McClaren and down to Glenallen and Kutina lake - let me know if you need any info.

    Glad to hear Mabel and Russ are still running it. I spent a lot of time in those cabins at 40 below. They closed the Lodge for a winter after after they took over and I wasn't sure if they persevered. She is a good cook and she makes a mean pizza by any standard. Mabel is responsible for those ski trails (and the names) which she was grooming with a drag. I think she had a Mendeltna ski club going too.

  7. #7
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    Cool, thanks for the info. I remember you from VMBaH trail work days.

    I have ridden the Klutina Lake Trail in summer from the highway and back, it's a long ride but fun coming back down. I used to work in Glennallen on and off in the summers so have explored a lot of the summer trails in the area which are pretty limited compared with the winter riding opportunities.

  8. #8
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    Trail questions/conditions

    Was wondering a few things about this trip. IS the trail you took just snomachine packed? HOw much snowcover is there generally? Is there a summer bikable trail that goes to the lake? Was the lake clear of snow or covered, and was the surface smooth enough to ice skate? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  9. #9
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    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by arisjunior
    Was wondering a few things about this trip. IS the trail you took just snomachine packed? HOw much snowcover is there generally? Is there a summer bikable trail that goes to the lake? Was the lake clear of snow or covered, and was the surface smooth enough to ice skate? Any info would be greatly appreciated.
    Yes, the trail was packed down by snowmachine traffic. 3 to 4 feet or more in an average winter.
    I would think the Mendeltna Creek Trail is too swampy to ride in summer. There used to be a summer trail from the town of Tazlina on the Richardson Highway that followed the bluff along the north side of the river all the way up to Tazlina Lake but it may have reverted back to nature. It still shows up on topo maps.
    The lake was covered in snow when we went there, not too skateable looking. Bring a shovel.
    You can float there in the summer by putting in at the Little Nelchina crossing on the Glenn Highway. I hear it's an easy float to the lake and then fast class II-III water down the Taz to the Richardson Highway.

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