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The Sheep Creeek/Goldhill Winter Ride

by Liam Wescott

This is a fun little ride that is guaranteed to give you a workout, especially if the trails are in bad shape and/or it's snowed recently.  This is NOT a summer ride!  It's also not a fairly long or difficult ride and if the trails are in good shape, you should be able to finish this ride in about an hour.  If they're in bad shape, it will take two hours or longer to finish it. It's is just about exactly nine miles long with only around 400 feet of total elevation gain.

You start at the turnout by Ann's Greenhouses, on Sheep Creek Road.  Cross the road and go up Ester Dome Road for about a half-mile or so.  You come to a large powerline that crosses the road.  To the right is Schloesser  Drive.  Turn left (south) here and take this powerline for a while.  It goes up and down for a while, then climbs up to just below the Grant Mine tailings.  At roughly two miles into the ride, you come to a trail crossing the powerline at a perpendicular angle.  This is the Boat Trail. If you're not feeling particularly adventurous and want a little more mellow ride, you can turn left here and follow this trail down for a bit until it comes out on the Dredge Trail.  You could then follow that trail back up to the railroad crossing on Sheep Creek then go back to your car or you could turn right on it and ride over to the intersection described below, probably adding a bit more distance to the total ride length, but making the ride a tad mellower.
   
At any rate, the powerline keeps on going for another mile or so on past the mine, then it comes to the intersection with the Dredge Trail.  This intersection is exactly on the Fairbanks Baseline.  Turn left here and follow the Dredge Trail for a half mile or so until a major trail comes in from the right.  This is the connector trail over to the Goldhill Trail.  Follow this trail for about a quarter-mile or so until it meets up with the Goldhill Trail at a T intersection.  Turn left here (if you go straight, this trail peters out on Ace Lake) and take the Goldhill Trail (which roughly parallels Goldhill Road) for roughly a couple miles or so.  Along the way, you will come to a couple trail intersections.  The first one will be at the end of Roxie Road and is a four-way intersection.  You want to go (more or less) straight here.  Turning right goes up Roxie Road and going left takes you over to to a little lake back in the woods and ends there.  The second intersection is a trail fork.  Take the left fork (the right one goes to the same place, but very quickly peters out into a narrow single track that rapidly becomes a little ski trail) and follow it on over to the major powerline crossing at about five miles.

If you're feeling bonked and want to bail, you can turn left here (turning right takes you over to Goldhill Road) and take the powerline over to Sheep Creek.  Then it's a straight ride down Sheep Creek back to your car.  What's mapped is the continuation of this trail.  On the other side of the powerline, this trail becomes a little ski trail that winds along through the woods for about a half-mile or so before it comes out on a driveway off of Cornelia Drive.  Follow it out to Goldhill, cross the road and then come to the Sheep Creek connector road.

Cross the road here and either follow it along or cross down and take the snowmachine trail.  This goes to Sheep Creek Road.  Turn left here and follow Sheep Creek back over to your car.  It is about 3.3. miles from where you come to Sheep Creek Road to your car, parked at the turnout.  What is mapped toward the end is a quick little side diversion up Line Drive then down Black Sheep Road.

When you get back, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for finishing the Sheep Creek-Goldhill Loop!