Ah, the book. You hold it in your hands, flip through its pages, soak up its information. Tuck it in your pack or pocket. Await the revision. Since publication of Mountain Bike Anchorage in May of 2005, there have been a few changes to the local trails. A new paved route; some new singletrack; a detour. I hope these updates will help you navigate through Anchorage's trails.

Trail Updates:

New singletrack - first section is open!

Singletrack Advocates (STA) has completed the first loop in an 8.5-mile project in Far North Bicentennial Park. It’s open for riding, but if conditions are wet, STA asks that you hold off riding. Their site describes how to get to the trail and how to know which sections are open for mountain biking. Go check it out.

Rover's Run (aka Mellen's Way) trail closure

After two maulings on this trail - a mountain biker in June and a runner in August - the mayor, with advice from wildlife managers, decided to close this trail. The brown bear implicated in the second mauling is believed to be the one killed on August 19 just a few miles from the trail. Other bears still roam the park, so use caution and heed any trail closures.

Elmore Road... or what happened to Abbott Loop Road?

In November of 2007, "Abbott Loop Road" was dropped in favor of "Elmore Road" as the new moniker for the road that runs from Abbott Road north to what we were all calling the "Bragaw Extension." Confused? Hopefully Google Maps and Mapquest can keep up with the changes. The Anchorage Daily News has a good graphic of new Elmore Road. If you're using the book to find a trailhead and the directions tell you to turn onto Abbott Loop, now it's Elmore. That's it.

What's in a name?

"Mellen's Way?" people have been asking me since new trail signs went up in Far North Bicentennial Park in early June, 2007. A favorite trail of many mountain bikers, Mellen's Way is the new name for Rover's Run. Members of the local skijor club requested the name change after the death of Mary Ellen "Mellen" Shea in 2006. Shea was an avid skijorer and musher, according to her obituary. Because the trail is so popular with skijorers, the change was made in 2006 and the new signs reflect that change. For those who stop at intersections, you'll notice that both names appear on the small maps on the sign posts.

Our world is always changing... that's what revisions are for!

A New Singletrack: Brown Bear Trail

In the summer and fall of 2005, volunteers with Singletrack Advocates (www.singletrackadvocates.blogspot.com), with the help of IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association, hand built a new singletrack trail in Far North Bicentennial Park (Chapter 4) The trail took a few dozen dedicated bikers and other park users hundreds of hours to build using tools like McCleods, Pulaskis, shovels, loppers and even chainsaws. Some finish work was completed in the spring of 2006 and the result is a twisty, technical trail built on the contours of a ridge between Rover's Run and the Ridge Loop. It includes some wood structures and challenging rocks.

The trail connects the Black Bear Trail to the Gasline Multiuse Corridor. It can be tricky to find from the Gasline, but is easily located by riders coming from the bottom of Black Bear Trail: it's to the left, just before the first steep climb. To reach it from the Gasline, ride north from Hilltop Ski Area. You'll turn to the left instead of descending the Gasline to the Campbell Creek. In the summer there's a woodchip pile near the trail entrance which is in the alders. Ride in only a short distance and go right onto Brown Bear. If you miss the turn, you'll end up on the Ridge Loop.

Fair warning: This ride may frustrate beginners as it challenges the more experienced. The first few times, you may walk more than you ride. Call it cross-training!

A New Paved Multiuse Trail: Kincaid Park

A new trail opened in Kincaid Park (Chapter 3) just before the snow fell in the fall of 2006. This trail runs along the south side of Raspberry Road and begins at the park entrance. There was already a paved trail alongside the portion of the road that is outside the park; now the trail extends to the Stadium parking area. For those who prefer to stay off the road when riding the loop that includes the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (Route 2-1), this will provide a smooth surface. Road bikers who are on training rides (speeds above 15 mph) should continue to use the roadway or reduce their speed during peak use.

Also in Kincaid Park - Part of the Lekisch trail and the Mize Loop are torn up. Please be aware of detours and stay out of construction zones.

Ship Creek Trail now open

This new paved route was dedicated in early August, 2008. It links Mountain View with the industrial area along Ship Creek. That's the valley between downtown and the Government Hill neighborhood. The west end is at C Street, just north of the Alaska Railroad depot. From there, travel east for 2.6 miles until you arrive at Tyson Elementary School. This is a great way to connect from the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail to the Glenn Highway Trail with just a little on-street riding.


Shops Change: Moving, Opening, Closing, Changing Names

Since publication of Mountain Bike Anchorage, a few changes have occurred with area shops. You may want to make note of this on page 223 of the book, the "Resources" section:

Alaska Mountain Bike Source/Pinacle Mountain had recently moved to a new location, 2001 E. 88th Unit 102, however, in June of 2007 they closed their doors.

The Bicycle Shop - Dimond

After a busy winter of preparation, The Bicycle Shop opened their new location in spring of '08. It's on Dimond Boulevard, just west of Minnesota. 1801 Dimond Boulevad is the adress. They still have the shop on Northern Lights; this is just another exciting expansion for the Anchorage biking scene.

The Bike Department at The Motorcycle Shop has moved and they have a new name that is much easier to say. Now it's "Chain Reaction Cycles" and they're in the Huffman Business Park at the corner of Huffman Park Drive and Industry Way. They're just a block from Paramount Cycles, for those familiar with the neighborhood.

Pat's Bikes closed at the end of December 2005. Pat's having more adventures now but I'm sure folks miss his laid-back style and the coffee shop downstairs.

Speedway Cycles opened their doors in June of 2007. They're located at 2600 Spenard Road, in the same building as Bosco's, but on the north-facing side. Stop in and check 'em out.