Bonanza Mine Trail - Trail, Kennecott / McCarthy, Alaska

Bonanza Mine Trail - Trail, Kennecott / McCarthy, Alaska


From the turnoff near Kennecott, the trail begins a gradual climb on a wide, smooth gravel road. After a couple of switchbacks, the road gets steep and rocky. At the treeline About 2 miles up, the trail becomes quite narrow and steeper,and requires pushing the bike uphill.The last mile is extremely steep and branches into several different routes, all of which lead to the mine ruins visible at the top of the ridge. Watch out for loose talus and steep ravines alongside trail when descending. Bring bear spray and wear a helmet, gloves, and knee-pads if possible. Disc brakes reccomended.


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[Mar 18, 2009]
Bryan Campbell
Cross Country Rider

Overall, this is a fun trail with incredibly mind boggling views, as is the case with just about any view in the Kennecott / McCarthy area. Intermittent parts of the trail require some uphill hike-a-bike pushing, as they are WAY too steep to ride up. The first third of the trail starts out mellow, then quickly becomes steeper with loose, rounded rocks and deep ruts. It is definitely a heart pounder, but doable with a few stops to catch your breath and sip some water. In this portion of the trail you are passing through thick alder forests. Be sure to make lots of noise so the black bears know you are there. After about a mile or so, you will emerge onto a flatter, more open area where you can clearly see the Kennecott and Root Glaciers merging below you; and if the weather is clear, Blackburn peak, at over 16000 feet, will be in plain view! Look around and you will see numerous old wood structures, from tram towers and cables to maintenance sheds - Gasp..., Now you can continue pedaling, it's a gradual climb until you reach the switchbacks. Here is where it really gets steep. The trail is like this for the last mile or more - this is where you will end up pushing the bike. You can see the old wooden ruins of the bunkhouse and tram station at the top of the ridge above you, with tailings, wood and rusty iron debris scattered all the way down the mountain in front of you. Keep pushing, it's worth it! From the mine, you can park your bike and scramble the last 100 feet to the top of the ridge on foot. The view from there is beyond your wildest dreams - looking in nearly all directions, there are rugged, snow capped volcanoes rising to 15000 feet and higher. After a good rest, grab your bike and hang on! It's a little loose with talus, but most of the rocks are flat and dont slide that much. Its a controlled, windy descent down with a few rollers here and there, a few rounded rocks to launch off, and then the final descent down the loose, rutted road. Careful here - look out for the deeply eroded ruts. Hope you're running tubeless tires - it's pinch flat city here. When you get to the bottom, you'll be asking yourself - what did I just do?!! That was insane. Tomorrow, you should go riding ON the Root Glacier and bunny hop crevasses.

Customer Service

Only one way up and down unless you take the turnoff to the Jumbo Mine trail. I havent tried that on a bike yet, maybe some day.

Similar Products Used:

Root Glacier Surface - Parts of the Glacier are actually flat enough to ride on,but still semi-technica, but there arent any large crevasses until higher up near the stairway icefall.

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