Fairbanks Winter Trails Guide 2019

Page 1


WINTER 2019 TRAILS GUIDE TEN SIGNS along the trails.

Take a SELFIE with each sign.

Post your photo on social media.

Type “#FNSBtrails” in your post to play along and win prizes!

FIND PHOTO SHARE #FNSBtrails Also Available Online @ PARKS.FNSB.US

Dec 20, 2018—April 1, 2019

#1. Eagle Trail @ Tanana Lakes Recreation Area #2. Skate Loop @ Tanana Lakes Recreation Area #3. River Park Ski Trail @ Chena Lake Recreation Area #4. Lake Camp Loop @ Chena Lake Recreation Area #5. Rabbit Run @ Pearl Creek Nordic Ski Park #6. Relay Start Loop @ Birch Hill Recreation Area #7. Sunnyside Loop @ Birch Hill Recreation Area #8. 2.5k Ski Loop @ Two Rivers Recreation Area #9. Skyline Ridge Trail @ Skyline Ridge Park #10. Smith Lake Loop @ University of Alaska Ski Trails #11. Tanana Valley Railroad Trail @ Goldstream Public Use Area #12. Angel Creek Winter Trail @ Chena River State Recreation Area #13. Wickersham Creek Trail @ BLM White Mountains National Rec Area 2

How to TAKE THE TRAILS CHALLENGE: 1. FIND the signs that say “FAIRBANKS TRAILS CHALLENGE”  Thirteen signs are located somewhere along the trails on the list.  Keep an eye out for orange trail markers—the sign will be near!

2. Snap a PHOTO with the sign to prove you made it!

3. SHARE your “selfie.” Here are three ways to share: 1. Post your selfie on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and type “#FNSBtrails” in your post. Posts must be “public” so that we can keep track of your progress. Ensure you have the proper settings for your audience or privacy:

 For Instagram, you have to make your whole account public.  In Facebook, you can selectively change posts to have a public audience:  https://www.facebook.com/help/233739099984085?helpref=faq_content 2. Post a the photo on the Winter Trails Challenge Facebook Event Page  Add the “#FNSBTrails” hashtag. 3. Email your photos to parks@fnsb.us.

Share your photos by April 1st, 2019! AWARDS: Make it to AT LEAST TEN Winter Challenge Trails and you will:  Earn the elusive “Trailblazer Award!”  Be placed in a drawing for awesome prizes from this year’s prize sponsors:

REI Fairbanks, Beaver Sports, and Trax Outdoor Center!

Questions? Contact the Trails Coordinator at bwright@fnsb.us or 907-459-7401 Follow the FNSB Parks & Recreation Facebook Page for updates. See you on this Winter’s Challenge Trails!


Trails Challenge Tips Skiing & Ski Trails Skiing is a wonderful way to get outside and enjoy the trails in winter. Getting to ski on smoothly groomed trails or with pre-set tracks is especially nice. So many trails are maintained exclusively for skiing in the winter. Facilities with ski-only trails include Birch Hill Recreation Area, Two Rivers Elementary, Salcha Elementary, Pearl Creek Park and the University of Alaska campus. If you’re new to skiing or don’t know where to start, here are some tips:  Go Flat: Learning to ski can be daunting at first, and let’s face it, hills are hard! Starting on the right trail can help. The Smith Lake loop at UAF is an excellent, flat place to learn and practice! Tanana Lakes, Chena Lake, and Pearl Creek Park all offer flat, groomed and track-set trails with many shortdistance options that are great for learning.  Stay Warm: Choose a warm day, especially as temps may be colder at lower elevations where many flat trails exist. Warm gloves, ski boot covers and chemical toe warmers might save the day!  Find a friend: Take a friend for support. If they have some skiing experience, even better! A helper who can offer basic tips about equipment and technique can make the day less daunting.  JUST SKI!: The only way to learn is to strap ‘em on, grab some poles and go for it! Choose trails suited for your skill level and progress slowly. And remember, spandex is NOT required! Need some skis? Our prize sponsors at Trax Outdoor Center, REI Fairbanks and Beaver Sports can help you find properly fitting skis, boots, poles and accessories. Our sponsors even offer lessons and rentals! BONUS: Sign up for the Trax Yoga Challenge Jan 15-Feb 15 and rentals are FREE for Trails Challengers! Contact Trax Outdoor Center 907-674-9600 for details.

Trail Etiquette Multiple-Use Trails YIELD signs like the one here describe what to do in specific encounters, but always stick to the GOLDEN RULE: PRACTICE COMMON SENSE AND COURTESY!  Typically you should yield to the passerby who has least stopping control.  Always yield to dog teams and horses and give the animals plenty of space.  Snowmobilers should slow speeds when encounters are possible.  Walkers and snowshoers can usually step aside more easily than other users.  Use showshoes on groomed trails. Deep footprints can injure sleddogs!

Respect the Land, Landowners and Neighbors Local trails cross a variety of types of terrain, land ownership and regulation. When out on the trails, remember:  Plan ahead to know where you go and who owns the land.  Respect private and public property by staying in the public trail corridor.  Obey signage and land use rules such as allowable trail uses.  Use a leash: Chasing loose dogs is a common cause of unwanted trespass.  Prevent damage by avoiding very wet trails such as during spring breakup.  Practice Leave-No-Trace: for more info visit www.LNT.org  Many good winter trails cross frozen bogs and cannot sustain summer use. 4

Tails on Trails Your furry friends need exercise too! Here are some things to remember when bringing your pets on a trail walk:  You are responsible for your actions and the actions of your dog.  Always keep your dogs properly restrained with a leash (FNSB code Title 22.28.010).  Pick up any pet waste (FNSB Code Title 22.28.020).  Yield the right-of-way to other trail users trying to get around your pet.  Avoid disturbing wildlife and provoking dangerous encounters.  Winter is trapping season. Keeping your dog on a leash can help avoid accidental injuries from traps on trails. Learn about trap safety for pet owners in this brochure from ADF&G: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/hunting/trapping/pdfs/ trap_safety_for_pet_owners.pdf

MAPS AND APPS TO GET YOU THERE DOWNLOAD THE MAP:  Individual PDF maps of many Borough trail systems are now available for download on our webpage parks.fnsb.us.  Find maps under General Info > Forms > Trail System Maps  These maps are designed for use on your GPS-enabled mobile device and can be displayed on any PDF reader. When viewed in an installed mobile application, each map will show your location on screen in real time. Cool!  These maps can also be printed or viewed without using a special app. OPEN WITH AN APP:  Georeferenced map applications allow you to navigate using your mobile device’s GPS even without cellular reception! There are a variety of georeferenced PDF apps available for Apple and Android devices. Consult your preferred mobile app’s instructions for complete information.  We use an application called AVENZA MAPS, though other apps also work.  Upload maps to the AVENZA app from Dropbox or your device storage.

TIPS:  Download the map onto your device BEFORE leaving cell reception! (Data rates may apply.)  Enable Location Services so the mobile map application can show your location on the map.  In areas with no cellular reception, phone battery life significantly decreases. Cold weather can also drain batteries! Using airplane mode will improve battery life and will not interfere with GPS tracking.  File sizes for georeferenced maps may be very large. AVENZA recommends users connect to a WiFi network when downloading.  Like all GPS technology, your device’s accuracy will be compromised by cloudy weather, c liff walls, canyons, tall buildings, or other obstructions.  GPS is no substitute for preparedness! Research your destination. Plan, pack and dress accordingly! 5

#1. Eagle Trail @ Tanana Lakes Recreation Area Difficulty: EASY

Get there: At the end of South Cushman, turn right onto Northlake Lane to get to TLRA. Trailhead parking is by the non-motorized boat launch, skating rink, and ice fishing huts. Distance: 0.66 mi. Tips: This is a non-motorized trail. For a nice full loop almost 2.5 miles long, at the end of Eagle Trail continue north along the east side of the lake, then follow Flicker Trail and Sandpiper Trail to connect back to the lake’s west side and walk south from the Swim Beach back to the parking area. CLICK HERE to download a digital map!

#2. Skate Loop @ Tanana Lakes Recreation Area Difficulty: EASY

Distance: 0.50 mi. Tips: This is a non-motorized ice skating trail. Parks maintenance staff plow and mop the rink and skate loop when conditions allow. Bring your own skates, or stop by the Big Dipper Ice Arena @ 1920 Lathrop Street on the way and RENT SKATES for you and your family!



#3. River Park Ski Trail @ Chena Lake Recreation Area Difficulty: EASY-MODERATE

Get there: From North Pole, take the Richardson Highway South, and exit Dawson Road following signs to Chena Lake Recreation Area. Follow Laurance Road eastward to enter CLRA. Near the end of the road, turn left onto the River Park Road. Parking is in 3/4 mile at the pavilion on the left. CLICK HERE to download a digital map! Distance: The River Park Trails offer loops of 2.5K (black markers), 4K (yellow markers) and 5.5K (green markers) distances. For this sign, follow the yellow markers along the Nature Trail. Tips: This is a non-motorized trail. Watch for moose– they like the riverbank and sloughs by this trail and have been known to surprise hikers and skiers. Keep your head up and make noise to avoid startling a moose and keep dogs on a leash. The Nature Trail hosts interpretive signs for learning about the area.

#4. Lake Camp Loop @ Chena Lake Recreation Area Difficulty: EASY

Get there: From North Pole, take the Richardson Highway South, and exit Dawson Road following signs to Chena Lake Recreation Area. Follow Laurance Road eastward into CLRA. Turn left onto the Lake Park Road. Trailhead land parking is located near the playground and basketball court at the end of the Lake Park Road. CLICK HERE to download a digital map! Distance: 1.13 mi. Tips: This is a non-motorized trail. The trail loops around the open field then heads into the Lake Camp. The campground is closed in winter, so the roads are groomed for skiing, snowshoeing and biking. 8


#5. Rabbit Run @ Pearl Creek Nordic Ski Park Difficulty: EASY

Get there: Pearl Creek Nordic Park is between Ballaine Road, Auburn Drive and Herreid Road (Herreid is not maintained in winter). Nearby Parking is at Pearl Creek Elementary off Auburn Drive. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco and firearms are prohibited on school property. Watch out for moose! Distance: Rabbit Run is about 1/3 mile long. Tips: These are ski-only trails with a footpath loop woven in between. These are mostly flat trails that are great for novice skiers, in part thanks to grooming and track-setting by Pearl Creek & Skarland trail users. If walking, stay on the designated foot path that loops from the powerline at the stadium field trailhead, through the woods and across the ski trails, and all the way around the Pearl Creek entrance at Auburn Drive. Note that the Rabbit Run sign is NOT accessible from the foot path. You must SKI! CLICK HERE to download a digital map!



#6. Relay Start Loop @ Birch Hill Recreation Area Difficulty: EASY-MODERATE

Get there: Parking for the Jim Whisenhant Ski Trails is at the Birch Hill Recreation Area and Ski Center, located at 101 Wilderness Drive. Hours: 8am to 10pm. Gates close at 10pm. CLICK HERE for a digital map! Distance: 1 km Tips: Birch Hill trails are SKI-ONLY in winter. Relay Loop is lighted at night. White Bear, Classical Bear, Sunnyside and Sonot area trails are on US Army Ft. Wainwright lands. Register for your Recreational Access Permit to Army lands at https://usartrak.isportsman.net/.


Sunnyside Loop @ Birch Hill Recreation Area Difficulty: MODERATE

Distance: 3.4 km Tips: See above. Sunnyside Loop is NOT lighted at night. Look for the sign on the return loop uphill. That way you can keep your momentum and enjoy the LONG downhill to the Cliffside Junction! Once there, turn left to take the loop back uphill. If you’re worried about controlling your speed, consider going when the tracks are slower, like on a cold day (bundle up!) or soon after snowfall before the tracks are groomed.



#8. 2.5K Ski Loop @ Two Rivers Recreation Area Difficulty: EASY-MODERATE

Get there: The Two Rivers Recreation Area Ski Trails are adjacent to Two Rivers Elementary School. Drive to mile 18.5 Chena Hot Springs Road and turn onto Two Rivers Road. Parking is at Two Rivers Elementary. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco and firearms are prohibited on school property. CLICK HERE to download a digital map! Distance: 2.5 km. Look for the sign before the option to enter the 5k loop. Tips: These are ski-only trails. The Two Rivers Ski Club grooms and sets track on these trails. Trails are wide enough for skate skiing. The trails are more difficult by distance: the longer trails feature progressively steeper hills. The “Mr. B” 1k loop is lighted after dark, but others aren’t. Go during daylight hours or bring a bright headlamp with fresh batteries!



#9. Skyline Ridge Trail @ Skyline Ridge Park Difficulty: MODERATE

Get there: From Farmer’s Loop Road, take Summit Drive to Cranberry Ridge, or Skyline Drive to the top of Crestline Drive then left to Cranberry Ridge. Follow Cranberry Ridge uphill to Noel Drive. Public access to the park is at the Skyline Ridge trailhead at the top corner of Noel Drive and M.I.A Street. CLICK HERE to download a digital map! Distance: 1.25 mi. Tips: This is a non-motorized trail. Parking at the trailhead is limited; Please park courteously. The trail is wide and starts with a long, moderate downhill. It’s a gentle hike but can be a challenging ski. Keep dogs on a leash and respect neighboring private property. If you end up at the KUAC antennae and tower at the top of Skiboot Hill Rd, you’ve gone too far! 16

#10. Smith Lake Loop @ University of Alaska Difficulty: EASY

Get there: Parking along West-Tanana Dr near Sheep Creek Rd, or on the West Ridge area of UAF Campus, or at Ballaine Lake off Farmer’s Loop. From the pullout near Sheep Creek Rd, enter the ski trails directly across the road, or take the roadside pedestrian path to the commuter trail to access Smith Lake. Check with UAF Parking Services about parking fees and permits. CLICK HERE for UAF Trail Maps. Distance: 1 km Tips: All trails Non-Motorized. Trail use designation varies- consult map. Trails are regularly groomed and maintained by UAF staff. Most trails are ski-only, but there is a network of multi-use commuting trails. The sign is accessible by foot/bike via the commuter trail across Smith Lake. This an excellent place to learn to ski and practice technique when accessed directly from Sheep Creek Rd. Be ready for some hills when skiing from West Ridge!


#11. Tanana Valley Railroad Trail @ Goldstream Public Use Area Difficulty: MODERATE—DIFFICULT

Get there: Parking for the Goldstream Public Use Area is at a pullout off Ballaine Road, immediately south of the Goldstream Creek bridge. Follow the trail heading east. Access from the North is via a pullout off Goldstream Road directly across from Buck’s Drive. Park, then walk/ski/ride across Godstream Rd to the very end of Buck’s Drive and find the Eldorado Creek trail entrance off the powerline. CLICK HERE to download a digital map! Distance: 2.00 miles Tips: This is a multiple-use trail system. The Goldstream Public Use Area (GPUA) is owned and managed by the State of Alaska Dept of Natural Resources. Local mushers and trail users groom and maintain the trails. Keep an eye out and yield the trail for dog teams– you might not hear them coming! There are many private residences adjacent to the GPUA and some trails may lead to private property. Follow the main groomed trails that have public rights-of-way (those pictured on the map) and respect private property signs to avoid trespass. Trails in the GPUA cross creeks, lakes and ponds and are typically only suitable for winter use. Even in extreme cold you may encounter wet overflow. Respect current conditions and terrain and plan accordingly. Look for this sign around 1 mile on the long, straight historic railroad grade. When conditions are good, you can make a nice ~5 mile loop: at 2 miles veer left to cross Goldstream creek and the lake to connect to the Eldorado Creek Trail, then head back west toward Ballaine and follow the trails to the trailhead. This trail takes you back through the historic mining days of the Goldstream Valley, following the historical route of the Tanana Valley Railroad (TVRR). The TVRR was a narrow gauge railroad operating throughout the Tanana Valley from 1905-1917. This section through the Goldstream Valley was abandoned, while some sections have become part of the Alaska railroad. Nowadays you can see the old restored Engine No. 1 at the TVRR Museum and Engine House located at Pioneer Park! Learn more about the railroad’s history from the Friends of the Tanana Valley Railroad at their webpage www.tananavalleyrailroad.com! 18


#12. Angel Creek Winter Trail @ Chena River State Recreation Area Difficulty: MODERATE—DIFFICULT



A skier stops briefly at a high point on the trail to enjoy a view of the solstice sun before a cold ski downhill.

Photo: N. Janssen

#13. Wickersham Creek Trail @ White Mountains National Recreation Area Difficulty: DIFFICULT Get there: From Fox, drive the Elliott Highway north to Mile 27.7. The Wickersham Dome trailhead and parking is on the uphill right side of the road. Distance: The Wickersham Creek Trail extends about 21 miles from the Wickersham Dome trailhead to the Borealis-LeFevre cabin. The White Mountains trails are remote and vast with over 200 miles of multi-use winter trails (some trails have additional use limitations). Look for the Trails Challenge sign before the junction with Trail Creek Trail that goes to Lee’s cabin– about 6 miles out. Tips: This is a multi-use trail. The White Mountains National Recreation Area (WMNRA) is managed by the US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management Alaska’s Eastern Interior Field Office (EIFO). The BLM offers public use cabins (reserve online HERE) to make long trips and extended stays possible. Staying at a remote cabin in the Whites is always a memorable affair! Contact the EIFO for more info on trails, cabin reservations and use regulations: 907-474-2200. The first 7 miles of the Wickersham Creek Trail are some of the hilliest and provide great views. Expect challenging skiing due to steep hills, natural snow conditions, and narrow trails. The narrow width can make it difficult to slow down and control speed on skis. When in doubt, walk it out! Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Weather can change very rapidly at higher elevations, and there is very little natural cover on the trail. It is not uncommon for these trails to experience whiteouts, deep snow drifts, and wet or icy overflow. It is advised to come prepared for adverse weather and very cold temperatures. Remember to pack an extra warm layer and hand/toe warmers with your TEN ESSENTIALS! Check the BLM White Mountains Facebook page or the Trail Updates page before heading out. CLICK HERE to find maps of the WMNRA trails and cabins. 22


FLiP = Fairbanks Loves its Parks

FLiP is a FREE educational and awareness program highlighting all of the great parks, programs, trails, and facilities that the Fairbanks North Star Borough has to offer! Your membership shows your "Dedication to Recreation"

SIGN UP TODAY! Parks.fnsb.us


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.