Best Places for Bike Riding near Anchorage Alaska

Unlike jogging or swimming which can be enjoyed year-round in Anchorage, bike riding is definitely a warm weather activity. You can start in spring as soon as the daylight hours are long enough and the ice and snow are gone from roads and trails and continue into the early fall. Because Anchorage is surrounded by wilderness, some common sense precautions should be taken. Like any activity, bike riding is best done with a friend or several friends. You may be sharing the trail with wildlife so be aware of how to protect yourself and always heed warnings about dangerous animals that have been spotted in areas. Have a communication device such as a cell phone with you and let someone know when and where you’re going and when you expect to return. Carry water and simple first aid supplies. So now it’s time to go out and enjoy.

1. Anchorage itself. You can certainly ride around the city as long as you obey the traffic rules for cyclists and are mindful of pedestrians. Riding a bike to the local coffee shop is fun and justifies the bagel you may eat along with your cup of Joe. Better yet, ride your bike to work.

2. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This gently winding 11 mile trail that goes from downtown Anchorage to the chalet at Kincaid Park is perfect for biking or jogging. It’s a slow down hill with concrete barriers into the tunnel under the railroad tracks; then one mile to second tunnel and Westchester Lagoon; from there, you’ll go across a wooden bridge at the marsh, through the third tunnel and then it’s ocean on your right the west of the way. You may even be able to see Beluga whales. As you climb the hill into Earthquake Park, you’ll see lots of moose and wildlife. Another steep hill leads into Kincaid Park. If you don’t have a bike of your own, you can rent one from Downtown Bicycle Rental (907-279-5293) for $16 for three hours

3. Kincaid Park. If you’ve biked town to Kincaid Park, you can easily spend a full day here enjoying the 1400 acre forest sitting atop an old glacial moraine. Kincaid has one of America’s best trail system and its largest moose population so be prepared to say hello and take a snapshot of Bullwinkle and his friends on your ride. If you’re into a real challenge, try the six mile Lekisch Loop considered the hilliest certified 10K in the country.

4. Flattop Mountain at the Glen Alps Trailhead. It’s tough going up the 1.5 mile, 1350 vertical trail to the summit of Flattop, Alaska’s most-visited peak, but the view on top and the ride down are well worth it. Flattop Mountain Shuttle (279-3344) has a service that will you transport you and your bike from Downtown Bike Rentals for $22 per person round trip.

5. Eagle River Nature Center is 40 minutes from downtown Anchorage and is the gateway to Chugach State Park where you’ll find hiking and biking trails with views of the glacier river valley that are unparalleled.

6. Ship Creek Trail is a $12 million 2.6 trail that opened in August of 2008. Along the way, you’ll see many impressive bridges; salmon fighting their way upstream and a fish hatchery. The trail ends near the Alaska Museum of Natural History which is certainly worth a visit. Then it will be time to head home.

7. The Chester Creek Trail and Midtown Circuit is a five mile paved trail in the bottom of the valley between midtown and downtown. There are tube tunnels under roads to the University of Alaska. Once you reach the university, you need to choose between the Midtown Circuit which leads you on 36th to Seward Highway, past the Loussac Library and back to midtown; or the Chester Creek Trail which takes you from the lagoon four miles east toward the mountains to Goose Lake and back.

8. The Campbell Creek Trail is a scenic ride that begins in front of Providence Hospital, goes along Campbell Creek Trail for a mile, then across to Lake Otis Blvd. where the trail begins again. On your way back, your inner self will dictate that you stop at Grizzly Junction and check out the chocolate at Alaska Wildberry Products. Energized, you can continue south on the trail for two miles to Taku Lake where you’ll have the choice of stopping at the Baseball Batting Cage, going back to town on midtown bike path, or returning on the Coastal Trail there’s a Tastee Freeze on the way!

9. The 4000 acre Far North Bicentennial Park is a great place to experience the true wilderness within Anchorage. The lower level parking lot accesses flat trails through the woods along creeks while the upper parking lot leads to much more rugged terrain. Both are well worth exploring.

So when summer ends, it’s time to hit the gym where you can keep your riding muscles in shape on a stationary bike. If you have one at home, perhaps you can plug in a video of one of your beautiful summer rides. Add some music and you’ll soon be dreaming of all the good biking that lies ahead in the coming year in Anchorage.