Visiting from oz late April early May- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Visiting from oz late April early May

    Hi all,

    Iíve got a bit of time off late April / early May and was after some advice on what a visit would be like then. Iíve been to AK before in the middle of winter and middle of summer, but never on the mid season. Iím looking to go from Fairbanks to Anchorage and maybe Seward. Is there much chance of being able to ride anywhere? Dream ride is lost lake but Iím guessing may is way too early? Thanks for any advice, we may end up just going to Utah but thought it would be worth asking.

  2. #2
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    late April / early May is better known as "breakup" season in southcentral AK. There will still be plenty of lingering rotten snow up at higher elevations of Lost Lake trail and the trails at lower elevations will be a combination of ice and mud that has not yet dried out for the summer. In short, breakup season is probably the worst time of the year to find good biking in southcentral.
    A couple of viable options that time of year might be for a beach ride on the west side of Kenai Peninsula or bike the road into denali park before it it open to car/bus traffic.
    https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/cycling.htm

  3. #3
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    One area that may be ready to ride by early May is Kepler Bradley. This is a trail system out near Palmer (North of Anchorage). Typically this is the first season ride for me (around the first weekend in May) which I do not risk damaging the trails. All the backcountry rides as GrayJay mentioned are not ready yet. For the local Anchorage stuff (Kincaid, Hillside) the trails are usually ready by late May to early June. A lot depends on what kind of early spring we have (ie, mild and dry/cool and rainy). Anchorage has had below average snowfall for the winter but the mountainous areas in southcentral have received a lot of snow. The shoulder season, as we call it, is a time to be out on the road bike until the trails are ready.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies, much appreciated. Denali park road would be cool. I do a lot of Ďgravelí riding-just exploring along fire roads. Would this be much of an option, or are the rural roads generally the same-slush/ice?

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    Other than the ride into Denali Park I don't know of good gravel riding. In the late 90's I rode into McCarthy and Kennicott from Chitina on my mountain bike. This is east of Anchorage (245 miles). If you had the time I would say it would be worthwhile as it is spectacular country. Any of the rurals roads should be fine.

  6. #6
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    James- Most all AK southcentral low-altitude rural roads that are plowed throughout winter will be be clear of ice-snow by early May, it is only the higher elevation passes that would still be snowed-in.
    Oddity of AK is that despite its large land size, there are very, very few rural gravel roads that connect together into any sort of rideable gravel loops or logical routes other than the occasional out-and-back. Most every connecting road in the semi-populated areas within about a 100 mile radius of Anchorage has been paved. The mountains, rivers and sparse private ownership of land outside the population centers seem to prevent the sprawl of rural gravel road networks.

    That said, the one gravel road area around Anchorage I recommend is the JBER Army/Airforce military base;
    http://forums.mtbr.com/alaska/jber-biking-789375.html
    & Green Lake Grinder ‚Äď Speedway Cycles
    However, permit to access the base might be a hassle for a visiting non-US citizen.

  7. #7
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    One other gravel ride is Hatcher Pass/Independence Mine. Again, very beautiful views.

    https://www.alaskavisit.com/things-t...pendence-mine/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatcher_Pass

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the tips everybody. Hatcher Pass looks awesome. Trying to do as much research as I can at the moment as I'm super keen to go despite the time of year!

  9. #9
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    Note- In typical years, the road over hatcher pass is not snow-free and open until July though you can ride gravel at lower elevations if starting from the Willow side.

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    Yes, that is true as Hatcher Pass is around 3,800' and I totally agree about starting from the Willow side for more gravel riding. You can ride in and turn around once you reach the snow.

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