Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Trails for winter cycling

Here are some guidelines for which trails are open for cycling in the winter months.

Any trail that is a part of the paved, greenbelt trail system is open. This includes the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Chester & Campbell Creek trails and the paved portion of Russian Jack Springs Park.

Any natural surface (non-paved) trail in Kincaid Park that is groomed for skiing should be avoided. Some singletrack trails, however, are used in the winter months, particularly near the bluff just below the chalet.

Non-paved trails in Russian Jack and on the APU campus that are groomed for skiing should be avoided as a courtesy.

Far North Bicentennial Park and the Campbell Tract are the most popular areas for snow riding because of the the miles of multi-use routes. Multi-use means anything that is not limited to ski or mushing only. Most maps include legends that show which routes are open to multi-use. Before you go onto the trails, get a map of the park and study it; then take it with you.

The current rules for Chugach State Park show that routes open to cycling in the winter months are the same as those open in the summer. (We’re trying to change that.) Click here to find out which trails open to bicycles in Chugach State Park.

For information on the Anchorage area trails, get a copy of the Anchorage Cross Country Ski Trails Map, produced by the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage (NSAA). It’s available at most bike or ski shops. (While there is a downloadable version on the NSAA website, it’s not up-to-date.) The trail guide "Mountain Bike Anchorage" includes a chapter on winter cycling and lists routes that are open to winter bicycling. It’s also available at area bike shops and book stores, among other places. It includes maps of routes in the Chugach State Park.

The NSAA grooms some of the multi-use trails. You can find the grooming report on that group’s website.