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Knik Glacier Ride?

5929 Views 20 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Elfbkr50
Hi all,

I was searching for info about the possibility of biking down to the Knik Glacier in the winter and I found several posts on here.

I live in Maryland but will be flying up to Anchorage tomorrow to help out at the Yentna checkpoint of the Iditarod. That should only last a couple days so I was hoping that maybe I could bike down to the Knik one day, before I have to return on the 13th. I'm pretty sure that my brother has a mountain bike that I could use.

I guess I have a couple questions: You guys can tell a lot better than I, how the riding conditions are up there. Do you think that such a ride would be possible/wise? Also, I would welcome the opportunity to ride with others, for the company, and also because I've never done this ride before.

Any tips, suggestions, or warnings would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Current conditions

Conditions appear good now. Mostly dusty windblown ice, dirty snowdrifts, and bare gravel after recent winds. We're heading in on Friday,

Main danger is thin ice on river crossings and falling seracs near the glacier face. Carry ice claws and survival gear.

I'll report back if I survive.
Thanks Mark

I was about to give your info for this thread as the resident expert for the Knik Glacier ride.

He may want to think about taking his bike and riding back from the checkpoint, but either option will be an awesome ride.

Ha, my brother is also going to be at the Yentna stop as well. Anyone got a tandem? :D Thank you for your replies. I'm looking forward to finally getting up there.
Hey Wildfire - trip report?

Mark, any chance you can put up a Knik Glacier trip report?

I'm interested in which trail head you used and if you had any trouble getting across the Knik River, or Metal Creek. And how about the trail cover - snow or blown off down to gravel?

We might be headed out that way in the morning and any beta you can offer is appreciated! :)
Trip report

My GF and I went in Saturday morning from the Hunter Creek Bridge on Knik River Rd.

The trail in was mostly packed snowmachine and 4 wheeler track. No problem crossing the Knik River, there were just a couple areas with open water. It took about 2 1/2 hours to get there in leisure mode. I think the distance was about 9 miles.

We camped on the moraine overlooking the glacier and rode around the icebergs, etc. It's mostly bare ice w/ patches of snow but we were able to ride studless with fat tires by staying on the smooth spots.

We saw a few other bike tracks, both skinny and fat.

A few people had driven all the way in w/ 4 wheel drive trucks from the Jim Creek side.

The weather was great: no wind and sunny. I think it got down to around -5 at night and the sun was warm enough to melt ice during the day.


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Great report, I can't wait to do this trip!
ha ha i'd need a better sleeping bag for sure. lol
JordyB said:
Great report, I can't wait to do this trip!
Me too. Anybody else want to do this while the good weather is with us? I'm flexible and could go any time but would have to make it a day trip. Steve
Thanks for the trip report, Wildfire. I would still love to get down there. As it turns out, my brother's bike is just a normal mountain bike, without fat tires. I know you said that there were normal bike tire tracks as well as fat tire ones. Would taking a bike with normal tires be ill-advised?

Sryanak, I would love to go there tomorrow, but I'm not positive how my day's going to work out (or if I should go with the bike available) with what my brother's got planned. I go back to Maryland early early Sunday morning. :(
JD, 5 of us rode to the face of the Knik Glacier on Sunday. We were all on regular mountain bikes, but with studded tires. There was a fair amount of ice where the studs were welcome, but most of the ride was on bare gravel river bed.

We started at the boat dock at mile 6, Knik River Road a few miles downstream of where Wildfire started.

From the boat dock for several miles the going is real easy, with mostly bare gravel. Around where Hunter Creek meets the Knik the river bed gets much more brushy and all that brush catches snow, making for slower going. On our trip from the Glacier back to the trailhead we rode the "road" that trends to the left of the valley (looking at the Glacier) and then cut back across the valley to the trailhead. This was much faster for us. Crossing the main stream of the Knik will become more and more challenging with these warmer temps.

Good Luck!
What is the verdict right now - studs or fat?
heading out on saturday.

Nice photos wildfire!

Bearbait said:
What is the verdict right now - studs or fat?
heading out on saturday.

Nice photos wildfire!
If I had the choice, and was doing it again - I'd run the studs - again.
Just did it today, four of us on fat. Studs would have been nice on the lake but otherwise fat was the way to go. We rode over drifts that others had not. Pictures on the daily picture thread. This is a great ride. We started at the Hunter Creek Bridge. 4 and a half hours (20.7 miles) round trip with at least an hour on the lake amid the icebergs.
Another trip report

This time, we drove in in my buddy's 4 X 4 pickup from the Jim Creek side, made it to the moraine, and camped overnight. Spent lots of time poking around the frozen hoodoos at the far reaches of the glacier face and Iceberg Lake.


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Wildfire, how was the 4x4 drive in? Sounds like a group of us are heading back there soon in our 4x4's. I am planning on bringing my bike.
Drive in

JordyB said:
Wildfire, how was the 4x4 drive in? Sounds like a group of us are heading back there soon in our 4x4's. I am planning on bringing my bike.
Overall, it was pretty dicey and it would probably be just as fast to ride your bike in but we were in need of glacier ice for the upcoming gin and tonic season.

We drove in from Sullivan Rd just past the Race Track in the Butte. I think it was about 20 miles one way. We encountered overflow at Friday Creek and had to do some ice breaking. Then we crossed the Knik River four times as it ox bowed across the flats. Definately scout the crossings on foot first as ice thicknesses varied from open water to four feet of ice up and down the river. The rest of it varied from bare cobbles and gravel to soft-packed snow drifts so it was pretty rough. Bring a GPS so you can retrace your route when you come back out, navigation can be tricky out on the flats.

We drove in with one other truck in case one of us got stuck. Bring ropes, a jack, etc. You don't even want to think how much a tow bill would be back there.

Don't forget to bring your bike.

The real reason for receding glaciers: Ice thieves.


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Now that's some fun right there. Yahoo Mat-Su.
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