Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
I secretly ride 12spd
Joined
·
2,051 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I booked a trip to AK in July, with the initial intention of bikepacking the Kenai 250 route over 6 or 7 days. I started looking around and now I am wondering if should just find a nice campsite, rent a car and ride a bunch of different trails while I am there. I'm pretty torn. I would love to do the bikepacking but I will be solo and I am just not sure how safe that is in bear country with areas of no cell service.

I guess a couple questions: are there official campsites along the Kenai route that generally have people around? If I decide not to to the Kenai route, can I fill up 10 days worth of riding around Anchorage?

Thanks for any info.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
35,395 Posts
I booked a trip to AK in July, with the initial intention of bikepacking the Kenai 250 route over 6 or 7 days. I started looking around and now I am wondering if should just find a nice campsite, rent a car and ride a bunch of different trails while I am there. I'm pretty torn. I would love to do the bikepacking but I will be solo and I am just not sure how safe that is in bear country with areas of no cell service.

I guess a couple questions: are there official campsites along the Kenai route that generally have people around? If I decide not to to the Kenai route, can I fill up 10 days worth of riding around Anchorage?

Thanks for any info.
Campsites can be kind of a shitshow around then IME. Mid July is prime season for basically everything and most sites are full or hard to find a spot at. One of the issues that you sometimes run into is that one camping area may seem ok...until you realize it's down in a super buggy-area and you are constantly fighting the bugs. Sometimes the rides will be this way. It's rare, but they can be so bad you just have to turn around or wear full clothing and mesh, which is just miserable. We had that happen one time in Devil's Pass and it was horrible. The bugs tend to be worse earlier in the season and July is still definitely in that time period. Snow shouldn't be a problem though. If it's early July there could be a few patches, but usually nothing that would prevent one of those routes.

As far as bear country and traveling, that's not that big a deal. Yes, there are bears, but moose are usually far more dangerous to people. Ride with bear-spray in an accessible location on your body. Get the real/full can of bear-spray at Costco or wherever when you get here (don't bring it with you, the TSA doesn't like that at all). They sell them in most places. Get one of those SCAT holders, or put foam in an old water bottle, or there are even water-bottle holders and a bunch of other ways to do it. You can also limit your exposure by camping away from prime bear territory. They are going to be looking for salmon and berries at that time and by camping in the higher country you'd be less likely to run into them IME. Most of the black bears are pretty skittish and will be scared off. The browns may go into a defensive charge and that's where you either hope you can be fast enough with the spray, hope that it's a false charge, or play dead because it's not a false charge, which usually results in minimal damage, unless you are fighting back and they'll F-you up until you stop. Those are extremely rare events though, there aren't that many brown bears in these locations. I ride all of those trails solo and they are all generally pretty frequently traveled and not like being out in interior Alaska or anything. When you start getting out in some of the more remote brown bear locations solo, then you might want a proper firearm, which is a big-bore heavy high power round, like 45-70. On the Peninsula trails, you'll see all kinds of jackholes, especially around Seward, given it's popularity. So you'll see Karen and Kevin marching at port-arms with a 30" long shotgun or people with totally inadequate Glocks strapped to their hip. I guess their mode will be to start firing rounds at one of their group if that person is being attacked. So your survival not only depends on not getting mauled to death, but also dodging bullets. Most people will be responsibly hiking or riding with a can of bear spray at their side. You generally worry more about moose, since they are not impressed by humans and will not move off the trail. If you get too close, they'll charge and stomp you. The bear spray is effective on them. Sometimes when there's a moose, you may have to backtrack quite a bit until the moose gets off the trail. Moose are a$$holes, remember that.

There is spotty cell coverage on the peninsula, some of the lodges will have wifi too. A lot of the Kenai 250-ers that are not racing for pole position will get meals at the lodges (still bike-camping). Moose Pass, Summit Lodge, Cooper Landing, etc. There is some cell coverage in these places. An In-Reach would probably be a good idea though. That's the only thing that will work ON many of the trails, like up in Resurrection Pass, etc. The In-Reach can also get weather, which might be nice, since Alaska can throw some wet weather at any time in the summer. It won't snow, but it could rain a bunch. Generally that is the dry season...but generally.

With other riding...probably, we got Hillside STA trails that are fun, you could combine those with stuff in FNBP which is primarily winter-routes, but there's some good stuff for the summer still. Kincaid is a few hours of riding. There's the Dome Trail (real fun DH). There's some other things you could do, depending on your adventure level. There's Gull Rock, there's some more DH orientated stuff, including Alyeska Bike Park, not to mention more than a few steep peaks you can ride down. There's the Keppler-Bradley and GPRA trail networks in the Valley, about an hour from Anchorage, etc. So yeah, you could fill a few extra days no problem. We don't have a ton of riding compared to places out West in the lower 48, but enough to keep a few extra days filled. You still need to do peninsula riding to get the best experience IMO, but if you don't bike pack and get done with those earlier, there's enough to keep one interested for a few more days. 10 days of non-peninsula riding wouldn't really be worth it IMO. Too much on the peninsula that makes up the bulk of our good riding, like Lost Lake, Summit Creek, Resurrection Pass...

J
 

·
Registered
I secretly ride 12spd
Joined
·
2,051 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for this! I anticipate I (like most out of towners) am probably making the bear thing a bigger issue than it really is. We have the same problem with out of towners here in Arizona and rattlesnakes. Sure, they're out there but encounters are few and far between and bites are rare. I think I am definitely going to be bikepacking. With wildlife, I am less worried while camping and slightly concerned with fishing. I usually bring a small, collapsible pole so I can throw a line in the water during down time. With all of the lakes in the area I'd love to do some fishing while I was there.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top