Photo: Cass Gilbert
Trip Number: 13022A
Staff: Kater Murch
- Mountain bike in the Kenai Peninsula
- Enjoy spectacular views of the Kenai and Chugach mountains
- View wildlife and go fishing
- All shuttles and van transportation
- Gourmet and backcountry meals
Please note that the trip dates have changed from what was originally published. If you
have questions, please
The Kenai Peninsula hosts some of the very best mountain biking trails in Alaska
-- and arguably some of the best in the world. In late summer, we'll embark
across a network of singletrack trails that span the peninsula, traveling through
moss-laden ancient forests and cresting scenic mountain passes. Join us for
an unforgettable adventure full of Alaska's wildlife and expansive wilderness.
Photo: Cass Gilbert
We will begin by meeting in Anchorage the day before the trip to sort our gear
and get organized. While not part of the trip, we strongly encourage joining
your fellow travelers for a pre-trip meeting and no-host dinner in downtown
Anchorage. On Monday, July 29, the official start date of the trip, we will
depart via van and make our way down the Seward highway toward the Kenai Peninsula.
Over the course of the week we will bicycle through a 100-mile network of singletrack
trails that cross the peninsula. Our journey will include three trails that
we will tackle as overnight trips -- spending the night on the trail -- and
one trail that we'll enjoy just on a day trip.
Our route through the peninsula will traverse four of the area’s most
famous trails. We’ll start in the heart of the Kenai Peninsula by gearing
our bikes up for an overnight tour around Cooper Mountain. Our day will start
by riding roughly nine miles to Upper Russian Lake for the night. We’ll
camp with views of the glaciers to the south and the chance to fish in Russian
River. In the morning we’ll make our way down the Russian River, stopping
to view spawning sockeye salmon and -- as we near the road -- banks of fishermen
lined up casting for salmon. At the end of the day, we’ll return to the
van and camp in a nearby campground.
On the third day of our trip, we’ll unload our gear for a day trip on
the Lost Lakes Trail system. This tight, technical, singletrack trail makes
its way through deep spruce forests, climbing through sub-alpine meadows and
around alpine lakes. In good weather, views of Resurrection Bay to the south
and of Paradise Peak to the east will fill our day.
Next, we’ll prepare for another overnight trip, riding north along the
Resurrection Pass Trail. This trail is considered the best trail in the region.
The Resurrection Pass Trail was frequently traveled in the late 1800s by miners
seeking gold claims in the town of Hope on the northern end of the peninsula.
The trail passes through scenery and terrain that varies from dense forest to
alpine tundra, with great chances to view moose, bears, sheep, eagles, and ptarmigan.
We’ll end the day with cold beers in Hope overlooking Turnagain Arm at
the mouth of Resurrection Creek.
Our last trail will be the Johnson Pass Trail, which climbs into the lofty
arms of Bench and Anderson Peaks. If the weather permits, we’ll camp near
the pass with time to hike in the alpine tundra. On Sunday, August 4, we’ll
return to the van and drive back to Anchorage.
Photo: Cass Gilbert
Pre-trip: We'll gather in downtown Anchorage on Sunday, July
28 for a pre-trip meeting and equipment check, followed by a no-host dinner
at the Glacier Brewhouse.
Day 1: On Monday, July 29 we'll depart from Anchorage at 8:00
a.m. toward the Kenai Peninsula. We’ll pack our bikes in the afternoon
and bike into upper Russian Lake from Cooper Lake.
Day 2: We’ll bike down the Russian River to the Sterling
Day 3: We’ll strip our bikes of panniers and spend the
day on the technical and gorgeous singletrack of the Lost Lakes Trail.
Days 4-5: Today we'll cover Resurrection Pass Trail from Cooper
Landing to Hope.
Days 6-7: We'll wrap up our trip together by biking Johnson
Participants are strongly advised to arrive in Anchorage by Saturday, July
Accommodations and Food
We will spend three nights camping on the trail with just the equipment that
we can comfortably carry on our bicycles. For the first two nights on the trail,
we’ll have the option of taking refuge in a cabin. On other nights, we’ll
camp in campgrounds. There will be van support throughout the trip, except on
the nights that we spend on the trail.
All meals are provided, beginning with lunch on the first day and ending with
lunch on the last day.
This trip includes moderate to difficult mountain biking on mostly singletrack
trails, with roughly 1,500 feet of climbing per day. We will be biking for roughly
4-7 hours each day, covering distances that range from 10 to 20 miles. Be prepared
for cold and wet weather. Participants will need to make sure their rain gear
and equipment are adequate. Pre-trip conditioning is strongly advised. The leaders
will provide suggestions for conditioning and gear.
Equipment and Clothing
Photo: Cass Gilbert
Stoves, fuel, cooking gear, kitchen tarp, repair kit, bear repellent spray,
water purification, and first-aid kit are will be provided. Participants will
bring bicycles equipped with frame packs/panniers capable of carrying personal
camping gear for overnight trips, or arrange for equipment rental in Anchorage.
The leaders can provide advice on packing mountain bikes for touring. Full rain
gear, jacket and rain pants, warm hat and gloves will also be needed. Each trip
member will receive a detailed equipment list after acceptance on the outing.
There are many good books and magazines that you might want to read before
the trip. Some suggestions are:
- Muir, John, Travels in Alaska.
- Bancroft, Hubert H., A Guide to the Birds of Alaska.
- McPhee, John, Coming Into the Country.
- Larson, Richard, Mountain Bike Alaska.
- Pratt, Verna, Alaskan Wildflowers.
- Smith, Dave, Bear Basics.
- Hoshino, Michio, Moose.
- Pielou, E.C., A Naturalist’s Guide to the Arctic.
We will discuss current Alaska conservation issues in general and for the Kenai
Peninsula in particular. The Kenai Peninsula is one of the most popular destinations
in Alaska, and we’ll have the chance to discuss issues of access and use
versus preservation and protection. We’ll also find time to discuss bicycle
advocacy, trail maintenance, and etiquette issues.
Travel in Alaska and the Arctic
Sierra Club outings in Alaska and Arctic Canada are special experiences in true wilderness, but they also carry an element of risk. Trip locales are often remote, away from the amenities of civilization, including sophisticated medical care and immediate evacuation possibilities. Many of our Alaska and Arctic Canada trips now carry satellite phones, but even with this technology, communication with the outside world can be difficult and emergency assistance can be days away. Weather in Alaska and Arctic Canada is unpredictable, and inclement weather can be severe. Among other hazards are cold river and stream crossings, tidal activity, calving glaciers, the psychological effects of remoteness, and the presence of large wild animals. You're in good hands, though, so don't worry: Your trip leaders have vast experience in the Last Frontier, and they'll provide all the guidance you need.
See the How to Apply for an Outing section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation Policy.
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
Kater Murch grew up mountain biking in Marin County and has been backpacking in Alaska with the Sierra Club for nearly fifteen years. Among his many talents are gourmet cooking, route finding, guitar playing, and quantum physics. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley.
Don Murch is an organic farmer, commercial fisherman, and wilderness guide with extensive travels in the wilds of Alaska. He has 35 years of experience planning and executing backpacking, rafting, and group tours in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico. Gourmet cooking is one of his favorite pastimes.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips