Updated: May 19, 2003
Trails in Interior Alaska are vulnerable this time of year. As the snow melts it uncovers trails that are soft and muddy. We can create ruts and other damage that will last the rest of the season (or longer). Let’s try to stay off fragile trails as long as we can and use well-drained trails that are ready for use.
Here are some suggested spring trail use guidelines.
And here are some Alternatives to Damaging Soft/Muddy Trails.
Many local trails are on Trail Forks. Users can post and read trail reports using the app, which can be accessed with devices, such as a smartphone, or a laptop. Read trail reports and add your own.
CURRENT SPRING TRAIL REPORTS
If you don’t know where some of the trails are below, check this page.
MAJOR TRAIL SYSTEMS
- Birch Hill Recreation Area: Official report from May 25: Trails are dry with a few damp areas, but they are easy to navigate around. Please avoid the area below the Biathlon Range on the White Bear both outbound and inbound. Those are typically wet late into summer. And watch for trail work starting around June 5 and lasting 4 to 6 weeks.
- Trail user report:
- May 24: Rode up towards Birch Hill today. Below the Stadium is mostly dry with some wet sections towards the bottom of the run, and Roller Coaster is mostly dry with some muddy sections at the base of the rollers. Maybe by the end of the weekend it should be good to go hopefully.
- Trail user report:
- University of Alaska Fairbanks:
- Official report from May 25: The trails are drying out nicely. The T-field Road is still soft on the bottom half.
- Trail user reports:
- May 25: Skarland Trail on campus is finally snow free. Still damp and muddy in parts near Ballaine Lake. You can see ruts where people are riding or attempting to ride.The upper parts by West Ridge are dry.
- May 17 trail user report: Drier than I expected, but still muddy especially in the trail section from Ballaine back towards Yankovich. Part of the main trail is still underwater and I had to use my side trail knowledge to get around that part. I’ll run it again next week to see if it’s dry enough to bike it. But I wouldn’t right now.
- May 18: The UAF portion of the Skarland loop is good for running. Just a couple wet spots. Too wet for biking still
- May 19: Skarland trail is nice and dry. Rode from Pearl Creek Elementary school all the way to UAF campus yesterday.
- Chena River State Recreation Area: All trails in the Chena River State Recreation Area are CLOSED TO MOTORIZED USE from April 30th-May 26th. This is to allow the trails to dry out and minimize negative impacts to the resource. Trails remain OPEN to human powered traffic (Foot, Ski, Snowshoe, etc.).
- White Mountains National Recreation Area: May 12: After extending the winter season limitations allowing snowmachines use of the lingering snowpack, the summer season is set to begin on Saturday, May 13. As the season opens, the Wickersham Creek Trail, Trail Creek Trail, and Quartz Creek Trail will be temporarily closed to off-highway vehicles to prevent damage to wet trails as they dry out for summer use. The closure runs through May or longer if necessary. Until then, I guess we’ll just have to enjoy the trails with our bikes or mud boots. Read the BLM press release HERE. Monitor the trail update webpage during the summer for information about closures and other alerts HERE.
- Chena Lake Recreation Area: East side of Mike Agbaba trail along Chena Lakes is dry. Chena bike trail is dry.
OTHER LOCAL TRAILS (reports from Facebook unless otherwise noted)
- May 25: Upper Skarland loop is wonderful for running. Some of the recent bench cut areas are still a little soft, so be gentle if biking through those spots
ESTER DOME SINGLETRACK TRAILS (Trail Forks)
- May 20: Most of the trail system is open. The Henderson Drop in is closed for another week. Lots of sticks and some down trees. Ride with caution. There are still a few soft and wet spots to note. Updates will be posted on the Ester Dome Single Track Facebook page
SKYLINE RIDGE PARK (Trail Forks)
- May 21: Ran After Hours, Overtime, and Secret trail this morning. After Hours is soggy up top, but dry every where else. Overtime (connector) is soft in a couple spots. Secret Trail is totally dry. Couple trees downed in After Hours.
- May 19: Skarland Trail is nice and dry. Rode from Pearl Creek Elementary school all the way to UAF campus yesterday. As of 5/18 Ridge trail and Secret Trails are good as well
- May 20: Mostly good. A few wet/damp spots, but those can be tiptoed or ridden around with care.
- May 19: Still snow on trails higher up
- May 18: I went up Henderson last night and it looked like the trails around Ryan Lode are probably fine, although I chose to stick to the road instead.
- Moose Mountain ski road and St. Patrick are both good for running/biking
KOPENEN TRAILS (off Chena Pump Road)
- May 19: Kopenen trails are dry and bikes are fine on it.
AMANITA TO FORT KNOX
- It’s a mess. Someone has been taking some type of heavy wheeler and turning it to soup. Needs a minimum of one more week out there. Going to be a rutted mess if it dries like that. My bike was sinking in the tracks and I was surprised how soft it has become.
MOOSE CREEK BLUFF
- May 16: Scouted moose creek out tonight. The first loop is great, but the second loop was still wet so we opted to just do the 2.5 miles. Should be good in a week for social hikes.
PIPELINE AND ASSOCIATED TRAILS (Fox to Chatanika)
- May 20: The pipeline trail is great but the side trails off the pipeline need another week before 4×4 use and another 2 weeks before the heavy sxs use them, but they are in really good shape as of yesterday.
WICKERSHAM DOME (via the Summit Trail)
- May 19: Still quite a bit of snow
GRANITE TORS – CHENA RIVER STATE RECREATION AREA
- May 20: Still snow higher up.
- May 16: I could only hike for a specific time and I made it up 2.25 miles in that time. Trails are muddy and wet off the boardwalk but walkable. You’ll get dirty! There is no super deep snow, and as far up as I could see, I wouldn’t expect to see any different conditions than what I experienced for at least another mile or two, maybe longer. There’s snow pack in the first quarter mile that’s obnoxious but not dangerous. There are two piles of snow on the path between miles 1-2 but neither is as deep as it looks, and it was just slush so it was super easy to walk through aside from being slippery.
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