By Liam Wescott
This is a fairly short ride that can be done in less than two hours if you want to go fast, three if you want to take it slow.
Start at Ester Community Park, just off the Parks Highway. Ride out Old Nenana toward Ester for about a quarter-mile or so to Quartz Road. Continue on Quartz Road for about a mile and a half to where a road takes off up the hill to the right. You will know it is the right road when you pass by a couple of old, rusted gateposts on either side of the road just up the hill. The road goes up the hill steeply at first, then levels off before coming to an old mine cut that goes straight up the hill. At this point, you should be about three miles into the ride. Take the cut straight up the hill (it is rideable in granny gear) and climb it for about two-tenths of a mile or so where another road continues up the hill. Follow this road for the next mile or so to where you intersect a double track.
At this point, you should be about five miles into the ride and are roughly halfway through it. You have probably done about 80 percent of the work to this point. Turn right on the double track and follow it for about the next mile and a half until you come out by some radio antennas at the top of Ester Dome
Continue on down Ester Dome Road for another three-quarters of a mile or so to where you reach a level parking lot (the old ski lodge parking lot). Turn right down and follow a powerline down the hill. This is the infamous Alder Tube. NOTE: this is probably one of the most dangerous descents in the Fairbanks area, requiring ABOVE AVERAGE BIKE HANDLING ABILITIES and technical skill to successfully descend even at moderate speed. If you are at all unsure about your skill at handling a bike, WALK YOUR BIKE DOWN THIS HILL!!! This descent is about three-tenths of a mile and is steepest at the bottom.
There will be a double-track to the left. This is the Equinox Marathon Trail. Take it and follow it down to where another double track goes off to the right (you will know it is the right trail if after a few hundred feet you cross a muddy little stream and an old van downhill from this trail). This is the Back Door Trail. Continue along this trail, taking a detour trail around a house, down some more, across a driveway, through some deep depressions, to where it comes out at someone's driveway in Ester. Take the driveway up to a road and voila, you are now in lovely downtown Ester. Ride back to Old Nenana and the Ester Community Park. Total distance is a little over 10 miles