Basic map

3-D view

Elevation profile

OK, this is nuts. Only a whacked out masochist would try this, but it looks intriguing, at least in theory. I've ridden all of this, but never all at once...

Provisions:Summer ride, during a dry spell. Too much mud, and this turns into NO FUN, guaranteed. Length, about 120 miles, riding time, all morning, day, and evening. Bring water and energy drink, sandwiches and energy bars. Vitamins, GU, ibuprofen... Taking along camping gear and doing it in two days would probably be smart. It should work out that you would camp somewhere up in the hills, probably on Old Murphy Dome Road, or up near Pedro.

Note that the profile shows 108 miles, but that's straight line plotting. Actual distance covered will be over 110 miles, and total elevation gain will be in excess of the 11,700 feet shown. Indeed, riding the course backwards of what is described might be easier. That way, you get the bigger climb out of the way early on, with more downward sloping terrain after that. Then again, you might be so wasted that climbing out of the Standard Creek area could be torture...

One good feature about this proposed ride is all the bailout points -- with the exception of the Standard Creek / Cache Creek area, bailout trails or roads are numerous.

Here's a link to a larger, more detailed topo map.

Ride Description

Start at Anne's Greenhouse pullout. Ride St. Patricks to Henderson, up Henderson to to Ester Dome Road, and all the way up Ester Dome Road. Continue past all the antennas, taking the dirt double-track westward. Near the bottom of a speedy descent, the road forks, and you go right. There's another steep but short climb. Once you level out, look for another fork. This time you'll go left. Stay on this trail for about two miles. There is some really fun descent on this wide single-track, and some scary turns if you are going too fast. It finally runs out into a saddle and you climb a gentle grade for 3/10ths of a mile. At a "T" intersection, you go right. This is the Fireplug Trail. Stay on the Fireplug for less than a mile, looking for a section line trail to your left, going due south. Ride this section line straight to a little dirt road. On the dirt road, go right, dropping down to Old Nenana highway. Turn right, and ride for two or three miles, to the Standard Creek woodcutting road.

Go down Standard Creek road, about six or eight miles to the bottom. You'll cross a stout bridge over Goldstream Creek, and then go over the railroad tracks. Follow the road, uphill for two or three miles. At a big fork in the road, veer right, into the woodcutting area. You'll go over a couple more bridges and then the road finally dies out. Keep going straight ahead, staying on the nice doubletrack trail. When you get to a swampy bit (after crossing a little foot bridge), go straight through the swamp and out the other side, up a gentle slope. You are now on Cache Creek Road. Go straight, bearing northeast. Don't go up the steep uphill grade, I don't know where that goes yet.

Take Cache Creek Road all the way to Murphy Dome road -- about nine incredibly long miles. Ride up Murphy Dome Road, four or five miles to the Old Murphy Dome road turnoff, to your right. Follow it all the way to the Elliot Highway. Along the 22 mile stretch, you'll pass various intersections. Stay on the main road and you'll do fine. Look at some of the other ride descriptions here if you want to see where some of the trails that you pass go.

Cross the Elliot Highway, and take the dirt road up to, and around, Pedro Dome. Cross the Steese at Cleary Summit, and take the road towards Fort Knox Mine. At the trail crossing, head south, on the trail. Go around the antenna, down the hill, do NOT go past all the "No Trespassing" signs. Instead, pedal up the road a little ways, looking for a nice double track to your right. This is the "Trapper Trail". Cruise down, up, down, up, down, all the way to Gilmore Trail. Note that before you get to Gilmore Trail, there is a fork in the road. Going either way is fine. Veering right will use less energy. At Gilmore trail (which is a dirt road at this point) turn right, riding a couple miles of dirt and then a few miles of pavement, and turn right onto Goldmine. Ride down Goldmine to Steese, ride to Old Steese, and up Skyridge Drive. This is the last killer hill, and it's sure to be murderous at this point.

At the top, follow Skyline Drive, along the ridgetop. Take the dirt road that continues straight. Go around the antennas, involving that quick little drop down Cranberry Ridge Drive, and up again. Follow the trail past the KUAC tower, and down the fun descent, and into the Skarland trail system. Ride the trail over to the top of Dalton Trail, take the Marathon Trail to Yankovich, cross the road, and ride UAF trails to the intersection of Yankovich and Miller Hill.

Ride up the dirt part of Miller Hill (sometimes called Miller Hill Extension -- it's not), and take the funny little dirt road that diagonals over to the end of Lawlor Road, and ride down the hill, veering left at the bottom (not much else to do) and riding the single track trail up to the field, and then right out to the driveway, and out Black Sheep Lane, turning right on the bike path. Then, ride back to your car, less than a mile away.

Shoot us an email if you ever actually do this ride... Then, all that would be left is to work this into the Tuesday Ride schedule... It would be Dave James' favorite ride that he's ridden all year...