Anchorage to Fairbanks Self-Contained Bike Trip

June 11-21, 1999




1.Trip begins on a Sunday to allow travelers to arrive on Friday or Saturday. Beginning on a Monday (preferable) wouldn't allow for any time in Denali, nor any other rest day (without some rather high mileage riding days) and still arrive in Fairbanks on the Summer Solstice.

2. Although there will be gobs of daylight, the mileages here allow for sightseeing/leisurely meals/hiking/etc. along the way…touring. :-) The stopping places are strictly suggestions, based on where there are places to camp vs. miles to the next place to camp. I've tried to note where extra miles can be ridden on a spur road (or other… usually out/back roads) to a town/sight/etc.

3. Elevation gains are approximate.

4. The route follows, closely, the Alaska Railroad. Summer stops are at: Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali Park and Fairbanks.

5. Although there is little time in Denali, if you have any love for the area, do spend more time there after the trip. I assume that there are still shuttle buses from Fairbanks to Denali (and on to Anchorage…a less expensive alternative to the Alaska Railroad if you are not flying home from Fairbanks).

6. Sources of information (so far) include: Alaska Milepost '99/2000 (newest edition isn't out until March) and "Alaska Bike Touring Guide" by P. Praetorius and A. Culhane. (2nd Edition).

7. This is a work-in-progress and the infrastructure can change at any moment. I will continue to glean information to add. Changes will generate a new "last updated" date at the bottom.

8. MP = Mile Post mileage marker.

9. In my cycling experience in AK, showers are much more easily found than in the lower 48. Just because I haven't noted it here doesn't mean that they can't be found. I have only made the comment where it was also made in the MilePost.




~Alt. Gain




June 10
Day 0




Meet at Spenard Hostel, approx. 1.5 miles from ANC airport. (More information about this to follow.)

All. Terrific REI in ANC.

Individual motel/hostel arrangements. Spenard Hostel is very convenient, however. (I'll check to see that they are still viable. I'll put in all the particulars about them if they are. They were going great guns two years ago when I was there.)

June 11
Day 1

Anchorage -> Eklutna -> Palmer (to MP 17.5 on the Old Glenn Highway)


Basically flat.

Matanuska River Park

Hot showers available.

Group breakfast at Gwennie's, walking/cycling distance from Spenard Hostel. Terrific Alaskan Sourdough pancakes!

Wander out of ANC to get to Hwy 1 (Glenn Highway) (get information from ANC touring folks for best route) north to MP 13.4, exit to the Old Glenn Highway

June 12
Day 2

Palmer -> Wasilla -> Big Lake turnoff (MP 52.3) -> Big Lake North State Rec. Area (do not follow left fork at ~mile 3.6 junction towards South Lake rec area. Go straight on North Shore Drive to camping .)

~25 on route (see comments)

Basically flat.

Big Lake North State Recreation Site. (There is also camping at Rocky Pt. c.g. and Big Lake South State (fewer sights at the south site).

Water; sand beach. This is a recreational area, so it's likely that showers are available somewhere.

Route out of Palmer:

There are a few "interesting" ways to get from Palmer to Wasilla.

1. Take Palmer-Wasilla Highway; ~4 mi. turn right on Trunk Rd; ~1 mi. turn left on Bogard Rd. Rejoin Parks Highway (Alaska route 3) at Wasilla (Parks MP 42)

2. Take Palmer-Wasilla Hwy; R on Trunk Rd; L on Fishhook-Willow Rd; L on Wasilla-Fishhook Rd; into Wasilla.

3. (There are other possibilities.)

Add extra miles and sightsee: At Parks Hwy MP 42.2 (Wasilla) take Knik Rd. south 13 mi. to Knik Museum and Sled Dog Musher's Hall of Fame; another 4 mi. to Susitna Flats State Game Refuge. Gravel road loops around (Burma Rd.) to Big Lake (quality of road???) or backtrack to highway. Continue to MP 52.3, and then south to Big Lake North State Recreation Site.

Big Lake - site of the ravaging 1996 wildfire.

June 13
Day 3

Big Lake -> MP ~82


Basically flat.

Susitna River & Landing. Supposedly there is camping here.

Alternatively, there is Camp Caswell RV Park at MP 87. Also another camping area at 87.1 (to the east).



June 14
Day 4

MP 82 (or 87) -> MP 114


~600' (mild rollers)

Trapper Creek Inn and General Store. (Camping.)


Extra miles: Take Talkeetna Spur Road (turnoff at MP 98.7 to Talkeetna (28 mi. r.t.) (gentle rollers along the spur road).

Mary Cary's (world's only) Fiddlehead Fern farm is 1 mi. in on the Talkeetna Spur Rd.

June 15
Day 5

MP 114 -> MP 147


~500' (slightly hillier)

Byers Lake c.g. located "off highway in lush forest setting."



June 16
Day 6

MP 147 -> 185.6 (or 188)



Rolling hills continue. Then somewhat steeper climbs from MP 155-175 to climb over Hurricane Gultch.

East Fork rest area & camping. (No sign at turnout.)

Alernatively, Igloo City (RV/camping). MP 188.5



June 17
Day 7

MP 186/188 -> Denali National Park (MP 237)



Climb to Cantwell Summit (alt. = 2,500') and then descend to Denali.

Morina c.g. in Denali. It is "hiker/biker" and does not take reservations. (60 tent sites.) Early risers/faster riders will want to get there and try to "save" enough sites for the group.


Food/lodging in Denali area can be quite pricey. Getting into Denali on a Saturday probably isn't the greatest plan.

June 18
Day 8


"Rest Day."





June 19
Day 9

Denali (MP 237) -> Healy (MP 248.7) -> Anderson (Clear) MP 281

(or MP 276…see camping comments)


Rollers into Healy. Generally downhill to Nenana.

Anderson city c.g. (616 acres with 40 sites on Nenana R.)

If necessary, could stop at MP 276 at Talkeetna Trading Co. (tent sites, showers, etc.)


Spur road into Healy.




June 20
Day 10

MP 281 -> Nenana -> MP 328 (or on to Fairbanks?)


"Nenana hills." From Nenana climb multiple hills for a gain of about 1,300' before dropping at MP 348 toward Fairbanks.

Skinny Dick's.

Services at Skinny Dick's are suspect, but advert. indicates "snacks, gifts, rooms, camping."


June 21
Day 11

MP 328 -> Fairbanks (MP 362.2 where it joins "The Rich" (Richardson Hwy) from Valdez).





Summer Solstice. Nearly 24 hrs. of sunlight! Midnight baseball game. Other celebratory events.

Much to see and do in Fairbanks.

Last updated: August 12, 2004
© Judy Colwell