Visiting Anchorage next week - where to rent and ride?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Visiting Anchorage next week - where to rent and ride?

    Hello,

    I'll be in Anchorage for ten days and have a few days for some fun. I'm thinking of riding trails for a couple of days. I have read a bit about Kincaid but am wondering where else I should ride? I'm staying at the Sheraton downtown. It looks like the bus goes reasonably close to Kincaid. Can I take a bike on the bus?

    Also, where should I rent a bike? I'm looking for a FS 29r, preferably. Are there any group rides going on Thursday-Saturday, May 15-17.

    I'm also interested in doing a guided kayak tour, so if anyone has recommendations for those, I'd love to hear about them.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Oh, and this all assumes the trails are dry enough to ride. I'm coming from Maine where things are just starting to dry out. If some areas are likely to be too wet to ride next week, please let me know.

  3. #3
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    Pretty likely to still be too wet, June 1 is sort of the unofficial starting date for the STA trails. It's been hot and dry though so there might be some that are dry enough.

  4. #4
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Rent a fat bike, go do Gull Rock trail. May or may not need the fatbike, but you'll have it if you need it for soft areas. Based on my trip two weeks ago, I'd think it's about prime.
    "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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    Thanks all. Any recommendations for a good rental shop? Fat bike or otherwise?

  6. #6
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    Google Maps tells me it's a 153 miles around to Gull Rock trailhead. Am I missing something? Is there a boat to get across the bay?

  7. #7
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    You would need to rent a car or get a ride for this one. It's about a 2 hour drive (but a really gorgeous one) to Hope where the trailhead is. I may make another trip out there if you would like to get a ride.
    To answer your other questions - The buses have bike racks that will hold 2 bikes, but I don't think Kincaid will be quite ready, probably still pretty muddy over most of it. There's a section that is closest to the "bluff" -nearest to the inlet that is in decent shape.
    It also might be a little early for the Kayak tours, but there are good ones out of Whittier and Seward.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, it is still too early for just about all the trails around. There may be one or two as people have mentioned above that are okay to ride, but not a lot. You can probably ride most of what is dry right now out at Kincaid in under an hour, but you would have to know the trails a bit to know which ones they are.

  9. #9
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    I went out to the hillside ski loops and there are still big muddy areas, a few where I simply had to turn around to avoid putting in ruts, and these are 10 foot wide ski-trails. Trails in ANC are not ready. I'd day drive out to Gull Rock. As peninsula rides go, it's not all that far away. And yes, I think you are missing something. Says 80 miles from where I live in Anchorage to Hope.
    "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.

  10. #10
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    There are tourist oriented bike rental operations (not bike shop) downtown at corner of 5th and Lst, and another on 4th Avenue inside the Sunshine mall. The 5th ave rental conex does have fatbikes. From downtown, you can also ride the paved Knowles Coastal trail all the way to Kinkaid. The trail is not difficult but is a very nice scenic ride.

  11. #11
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    Is there a boat to get across the bay?[/QUOTE]


    Damn well should be
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  12. #12
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    Excellent, sounds like a day on Gull Rock and maybe one in Kincaid (if it's dry later this week) or Matanuska Lake (I read a report elsewhere saying it's in good shape) would be a lot of fun. I'll be riding Thursday and Friday, I think. If anyone is looking to do any of these and wouldn't mind showing an out-of-towner around, let me know.

    Thanks!

  13. #13
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    The recreational division of Arctic Bike Club has a casual ride starting downtown on Thursday night. See it here:

    Railroad Ride - Arctic Bike Club/Rec - Bike Me Anchorage! (Anchorage, AK) - Meetup

    It isn't mountain biking but you could maybe rent one of the bikes downtown to do this ride with other folks. They usually go for food and beverage afterwards.

    The closest bike shop to downtown to rent a bike would be the Trek Store in Mid-town if you want something other than a 'comfort cruiser' type.
    Last edited by AKPeach; 05-12-2014 at 09:53 PM. Reason: additional info

  14. #14
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKPeach View Post
    The recreational division of Arctic Bike Club has a casual ride starting downtown on Thursday night. See it here:

    Railroad Ride - Arctic Bike Club/Rec - Bike Me Anchorage! (Anchorage, AK) - Meetup

    It isn't mountain biking but you could maybe rent one of the bikes downtown to do this ride with other folks. They usually go for food and beverage afterwards.

    The closest bike shop to downtown to rent a bike would be the Trek Store in Mid-town if you want something other than a 'comfort cruiser' type.
    If you have a car and want to try fat biking on snow up here, there's a fairly good chance that some stuff in Hatcher Pass is still decent for fatbiking in the morning hours. Check, or ask at, http://www.crosscountryalaska.org/trails/ about conditions on Gold Mint. Probably ok to ride up by the mine as well as I doubt they're still grooming for xc ski. Fat bike rentals available through Arctic Cycles and possibly others.

    One of the best parts about the valley is break up. When it's too muddy to ride the singletrack down low, Hatcher Pass probably still has good fatbike singletrack, and while Hatcher Pass is drying out, the Crevasse Morraine - Keppler Bradley trails are usually in great shape.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach View Post
    One of the best parts about the valley is break up.
    Ummm.....
    "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.

  16. #16
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Ummm.....
    Compared to break up in Anchorage. There's almost always decent riding to be had in the valley, either high or low.

  17. #17
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    I'm salivating in the couple of days before my trip. The Gull Rock sounds very nice but maybe very similar to the forested stuff I ride here in Maine. Is there any riding on Kenai that gets above the trees this time of year or is all that still snow-covered?

    I'm thinking of an itinerary something like:
    Thursday: pick up bike in Anchorage and head to Kenai (maybe Gull Rock Trail or something else) for an afternoon of riding.
    Friday: Kenai Fjords kayak trip
    Saturday: biking at Kepler-Bradley trails

    Are any of the trails listed on the following page ready to go this time of year?
    Mountain Biking Trails in Alaska | Kenai River Mountain BikingKenai Fishing Guides & Cabin Rentals

    Also, should I be carrying bear spray in these areas?

  18. #18
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Bear spray would be highly recommended. People do go without, but it's not that heavy and if you need it, you'll be glad you have it. You might be able to get above treeline on some of the Kenai Singletrack before hitting snow or too much mud. I haven't seen any reports though. I would guess that Crescent Lake is one of the early ones to dry out.

    Interesting that they're recommending Skyline Trail for mtb. It's in a wilderness area.

  19. #19
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    I'm thinking of trying a Johnson Pass as-far-as-we-can-go ride on Saturday, that might be a nice way to get the experience you are asking for?
    "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.

  20. #20
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    That's a great offer, Jayem! How long of a route might that be? If you aren't afraid of having a new-to-Alaska rider along, that would be awesome.

  21. #21
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    From the May 8 report

    This is from last week.
    Am I really talking about Seward Ranger District as we head towards another round of sunshine? YES!!! For your recreating pleasure hereís what you can anticipate for the coming weekend besides sunshine on SRD; Mosquitoes, muck holes, leaves opening, sweetly singing birds, critters, etcÖ.. to help you remember what to add to your day pack now that weíre switching gears from winter to spring.

    Review last weekís trail update for the drier hikes, you will still want gaiters for Carter Lake, Devilís Creek, Iditarod (between Bear Lake and Primrose), Johnson Pass (beyond mile 3 to Johnson North T.H.), Lost lake, and Primrose Trails. Ice cleats can be put away until next fall, except for Fallís Creek Mine Road, (ATVís would want tire chains if you dare to go up the glacier in the beginning).

    In addition to last weekís mention of drier hikes, add the loop of Crown Point Road to Iditarod, to Vagt Lake, this is a new loop hike where you can park your rig and not have to do a shuttle back, see attached map.

    Resurrection Pass Trail System: We are about 3 weeks ahead for snow melt on Resurrection and Devilís Creek Trails. You wonít need snowshoes, they are almost a hindrance since the snow is very rotten, with each step down, you have a step up with heavy wet snow loaded on your snowshoe. Hiking poles are immensely helpful in pulling yourself up when you do fall through to the bottom. Devilís Creek Trail: Dry ground the first 4 miles with no snow in the avalanche chutes. You start hitting solid snow at mile 5. Then it is a slow, 1-mph snow slog, with occasional mud until the pass. There are some very large drifts where you may sink up to your hips, the attached photo was taken at mile 9.5 of Devilís Creek Trail. Resurrection Pass Trail South: Cleared of fallen trees. The first few miles from the Trailhead on the Sterling Hwy. are dry, then trail turns muddy much of the way to Juneau Lake. Trail is drier from Juneau Lake to Swan Lake. Lakes are frozen and beginning to open a little at inlets/outlets. Muddy above Swan Lake Grade to Devilís Pass cabin. Resurrection Pass Trail North: Trees have been cleared between mile 8 and Devilís Pass Cabin. The remaining down trees are easy to negotiate around. Fairly dry to Caribou Creek, then the trail gets muddy and mucky in sections (especially the flat sections). Substantial snow begins near mile 17, from here it is a snow slog to Devilís Pass Cabin with some intermittent breaks.

    Irene B. Lindquist
    USFS-Seward Ranger District
    Moose Pass, Alaska

  22. #22
    Anchorage, AK
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    Hiked part of the Resurrection Trail (near the Gull Rock trail) this past Saturday and the conditions were pretty good. The weather has been warm(for us) and dry. I've biked Gull Rock before and it's a great trail, just very rooty. The Bird Creek trail is a good one also, but the last time I did it, I saw more bears than I usually care to see in one ride. Definitely buy bear spray!!
    two wheel livin'..

  23. #23
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    Well, I'm through the MTB [fun] part of my trip and it was stellar! Thanks to all of you friendly locals who had suggestions, especially Jayem, who took me on a terrific ride on Johnson Pass, and the staff at the Trek Store in Anchorage (especially Mike and Timely) who hooked me up.

    It went something like this:
    Day 1: ~16 miles at Kepler-Bradley. Highlights included the Mooseberry figure 8, Bearbottom and Bearberry trails, and the eagle that buzzed about 8 feet over my head on one of the trails.
    Day 2: ~7 miles on Lost Lake Trail (hit snow ~3.5 miles in); sea kayaking with Adventure 60 North, and a short around Exit Glacier.
    Day 3: ~16 miles with Jayem on Johnson Pass Trail (from South trail head). This ride was humbling and Jayem was a good sport about waiting for me and not complaining when I was ready to turn around (even though we hadn't hit snow yet at 8 miles in). After I rested up on the ride back to Anchorage I did another 18 miles including Kincaid (Tower Power, Bowling Alley, Mighty Bike) and then the Coastal Trail back to my hotel.

    I never did see any bears (bear bell, duh!) but did see a cow and calf moose hanging out on the Coastal Trail.

    Thanks Alaska - you have some wicked trails and friendly people...

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