If you are an outdoor enthusiast with a need for speed, Mountain Biking might just be the perfect sport for you to enjoy on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground! Whether you are new to the sport and considering a new hobby or you are a seasoned pro that carves down mountains and gets air at any foreseen opportunity, the Kenai Peninsula is (hands down) the place for you to be. Throughout this post, we will give you just a tiny appetizer into the feast of trails that are excellent for all of your future mountain biking excursions on Alaska’s Playground!
Devil’s Creek Trail
It is named Devil’s Creek, but the sights that you can experience along the way are absolutely angelic. A 10 mile trail from mile 39 Seward Highway to Resurrection Pass Trail. The first 3 miles have gentle up and down grades through spruce/ birch and hemlock forests with occasional open meadows. The trail then climbs steadily but gradually up narrow Devils Creek valley high above the creek for the next 5 miles through areas of brush and open meadows. The trail levels off entering the alpine valley of Devils Pass. Snow can persist at higher elevations until mid June.
And the flora is absolutely stunning along this devilish trek! Thank you to MTB Project for the excellent photos!
Crescent Creek Trail
This 6.2 mile trail climbs gradually up the narrow valley of Crescent Creek through spruce/birch forest to Crescent Lake. Frequent openings afford views of nearby mountains. Snow can remain on the upper part of the trail until early June.
To get to this beautiful trail, follow these simple directions: At Mile 45 Sterling Highway turn south onto Quartz Creek Road. Drive past Quartz Creek and Crescent Creek campgrounds to trailhead (Mile 3.5 Quartz Creek Road). Last mile of road before trailhead is not plowed in winter.
There are some restrictions here to keep in consideration. The trail is closed to motorized vehicles May 1- November 30. Closed to pack/saddle stock April 1- June 30. Not recommended for snowmobiles due to narrow sidehills. Winter travel not recommended past mile 3 due to avalanche hazards.
Johnson Pass Trail
23 mile multi-use trail from mile 64 Seward Highway in the north to mile 32.5 Seward Highway in the south. Trail is mostly forested for the first 4 miles on the north end and first 10 miles on the south end. The higher middle section is mostly open subalpine terrain of meadows and brushy areas with views of nearby mountains.
Elevation gains are gradual with a few steep sections. Snow can remain at higher elevations until mid June. The snow tends to add a very mystic, magical feeling to any mountain biking excursion. It is always refreshing to ride into the mountains just pondering thoughts about how the trails look in the middle of the snowy, cold Alaskan winters.
And as with many trails in Alaska, the flora is absolutely breathtaking along the Johnson Pass Trail. To get to the North trailhead: At mile 64 Seward Highway turn south on short access road to trailhead. Directions to the South trailhead: Mile 32.5 Seward Highway. Johnson Pass Trail is closed to motorized vehicles from May 1- November 30. The north end to mile 3.6 is closed to motorized vehicles year round. Johnson Pass Trail is closed to pack/saddle stock April 1- June 30.
Resurrection Pass Trail North
A local favorite, Resurrection Pass Trail offers day or multi-day backcountry hiking or biking adventures. A 39 mile trail that climbs from 500 to 2600 feet, visitors can reserve one or all of eight public use cabins along the route. Along the way, linger to fish in Trout, Juneau, and Swan Lakes, climb any of the ridges that line the trail and take in spectacular views, or just relax on your cabin porch.
Northern segment of a 39 mile multi-use trail between the Hope and Cooper Landing areas. Trail follows the narrow Resurrection Creek valley through spruce/birch forest, past gold mining areas, gradually climbing into an alpine valley after 17 miles. Snow can remain in the pass until mid-June.
Directions: At mile 15 Hope Highway in Hope turn south onto Resurrection Creek Road. Travel 4 miles to trailhead parking. The last mile to the trailhead is not plowed in winter. Restrictions: Resurrection Pass Trail is closed to motorized vehicles from May 1- November 30 and will be closed to motorized vehicles during the 2010-11 winter season. Resurrection Pass Trail is closed to pack/saddle stock from April 1- June 30.
Resurrection Pass Trail South
Southern segment of a 39 mile multi-use trail between the Cooper Landing and Hope areas. Trail climbs gradually the first 3 miles through spruce/ birch forest above the Kenai River. It then levels off as it enters the wide Juneau Creek valley passing by lakes, muskegs and groves of aspens. After 13 miles it climbs above the trees into an alpine valley. Snow can remain at higher elevations until mid-June.
Directions: At mile 53.2 Sterling Highway turn north into trailhead parking area. Recommended winter access is via West Juneau Road just west of this trailhead. Park at highway pullout then follow this unplowed road 2.4 miles. Turn left following orange diamond markers fro 1.6 miles to Resurrection Pass Trail. Alternate winter access via Bean Creek Trail. At mile 47.7 Sterling Highway turn onto Bean Creek Road and follow 1 mile to Slaughter Ridge Road. Turn right and follow for 0.5 mile to end of plowed road and park. Then follow unplowed road 1.3 miles to Bean Creek Trail. Follow 1.8 miles to Resurrection Pass Trail.
Resurrection Pass Trail is closed to motorized vehicles from May 1- November 30. Resurrection Pass Trail is closed to pack/saddle stock from April 1- June 30.
Russian Lakes Trail
This trail is amazing! A 21 mile multiple-use trail from Russian River Campground to Cooper Lake Road. Trail follows the valley of the Russian River, past Lower and Upper Russian Lakes then gradually climbs to the area at the head of Cooper Lake. Mostly wooded with frequent open areas with views of mountians and lakes. Snow can remain on the upper end of the trail into the early part of June.
There are two ways to access the Russian Lakes Trail; Lower & Upper. Lower (north) end: At mile 52.6 Sterling Highway turn south into Russian River Campground. Trailhead parking area is 1 mile further. Winter parking is at campground entrance station.
Upper (east) end: At mile 48 Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing turn south onto Snug Harbor Road. This turns into Cooper Lake Road after 9 miles. It is 3 miles further to the trailhead parking area. Winter parking is at 0.3 mile Cooper Lake Road.
Restrictions: Russian Lakes Trail is closed to motorized vehicles year round between Russian River Campground and Upper Russian Lake Cabin. The remainder of the trail is closed to motorized vehicles from May 1- November 30. Russian Lakes Trail is closed to pack/saddle stock from April 1- June 30.
So now that we’ve paraded on a bit about a teenie-tiny, small fraction of some of the many incredible Mountain Biking trails on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground – tell us; what is your favorite trail to venture down when you have a day off?
These trails are also wonderful for hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing. Be sure to always go into the wilderness prepared with bear spray or another form of protection encase you encounter a bear. Mosquito spray is also a MUST in the woods. Do you need any more recommendations? If so, visit us (Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council) online, or feel free to submit any of your incredible experiences, feedback, suggestions, or questions below. We look forward to hearing from you, and we thank you for being loyal friends and for sharing our passion for Alaska’s Playground!
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