Winter Trails Guide 2018

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TRAILS CHALLENGE How many trails can you find this winter?

WINTER 2018 TRAILS GUIDE Also Available Online @


Dec 20, 2017—April 15, 2018

#1. Chickadee Trail @ Tanana Lakes Recreation Area #2. Island Loop @ Tanana Lakes Recreation Area #3. River Park Ski Trails—4k Loop @ Chena Lake Recreation Area #4. Mike Agbaba Trails—9.5 Mile Loop @ Chena Lake Recreation Area #5. Castor Trail @ Pearl Creek Nordic Ski Park #6. The Warm-Up Loop @ Birch Hill Recreation Area #7. White Bear Trail @ Birch Hill Recreation Area #8. Grizzly Loop @ Salcha Elementary Ski Trails #9. Skyline Ridge Trail @ Skyline Ridge Park #10. Powerline Junction @ Isberg Recreation Area #11. Big Eldorado Loop Trail @ Goldstream Valley #12. Circle—Fairbanks Historic Trail @ Fairbanks Creek Road 2

How to TAKE THE TRAILS CHALLENGE: 1. FIND the signs that say “Fairbanks Trails Challenge”  Twelve 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.” This can be done multiple ways: 

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Post your selfie on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and type “#FNSBtrails” in your post. Remember to make your posts “public” (see page 5 for detailed instructions). Post your picture on our FNSB Parks & Rec Facebook page with the “#FNSBTrails” hashtag Email your photos to Share your photos by April 15

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 sponsors REI Fairbanks, Bucko’s Coffee, Silver Gulch, and Trax Outdoor Center!

Questions? Contact the Trails Coordinator at or 907-459-7401 And follow the FNSB Parks and 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 for skiing only in the winter. Facilities with ski-only trails include Birch Hill Recreation Area, Salcha Elementary, Chena Lake River Park, 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. Tanana Lakes offers flat, groomed and track-set trails with many short-distance options that are great for learning. Chena Lake and Pearl Creek Park also have flat, well-maintained trails that are good for beginners.  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 and REI Fairbanks can help you find properly fitting skis, boots, poles and accessories. Trax also does rentals and both REI and Trax offer classes/ lessons.

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 a wide berth.  Snowmobilers should slow speeds when encounters are possible.  Hikers can usually step aside more easily than other users.

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.  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 or under very strict voice command (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.  Avoid disturbing wildlife.  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: trap_safety_for_pet_owners.pdf

Prove you found the trail! Make sure to share your proof with a photo of you and the sign! A few things to remember when posting photos to your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter pages:  You must type“#FNSBTrails” somewhere in the 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: helpref=faq_content

We understand your online privacy is important. If you want to avoid any social media account changes, please email your photos to But we encourage you to also share your photos online for your friends and family to see!

TIP: If you want to verify that we have found your photos, send us an email with your first and last name and we’ll get back to you. This is especially helpful to notify people with creative usernames! 5

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

Get there: Parking for the Chickadee Trail is near the South Cushman park entrance after the intersection with Northlake Lane. Distance: 0.19 mi. Tips: This is a non-motorized trail. The trails are packed and groomed with a classic ski track. Walking and biking are also allowed on the trails outside of the ski tracks. TLRA trails are flat and groomed with tracks and provide an excellent place for new and novice skiers to learn and practice.

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

Get there: Access the islands via trails across Cushman Lake from any trailhead: Near the South Cushman park entrance, at the picnic pavilion on Northlake Lane, or at the nonmotorized boat launch and ice rink. Distance: Island Loop is 1 mile long. Tips: This is a non-motorized trail. The trails are packed and groomed with a classic ski track, but walking and biking are also allowed outside of the tracks. TLRA trails are flat and groomed with tracks and provide an excellent place for new and novice skiers to learn and practice. 6

7 Winter Hours: 7am—10pm Daily

#3. River Park Ski Trails 4k Loop @ Chena Lake Recreation Area Difficulty: EASY

Get there: In North Pole, follow Laurance Road to enter Chena Lake Recreation Area. 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. Watch for moose! Distance: The River Park Nature and Ski Trails offer loops of 5.5K (green markers), 4K (yellow markers) and 2.5K (black markers) distances. Follow the yellow trail markers to complete the 4K loop and find the sign. Tips: This is a non-motorized trail and is ski only in winter. Chena Lake staff grooms and sets tracks for classic skiing.


#4. Mike Agbaba Trails 9.5 Mile Loop @ Chena Lake Rec Area Difficulty: MODERATE

Get there: From the Chena Lake Rec Area road, turn Left onto the Lake Park Road. Trailheads are at the end of the Lake Park Road near the playground equipment or at the East Lake parking spot (the first pullout on your right). See the CLRA Winter Map. Watch out for moose! Distance: The Mike Agbaba Trail System hosts loops of 3.8 mi, 5.1 mi, 6.5 mi, 9.5 mi and 12 mi distances. Look for the Trails Challenge sign on the 9.5 mi loop in the sloughs inside the bike path loop (see the summer map) after the 9.5 mi trail leaves the 6.5 mi trail. Tips: Trail is multiple-use in winter. The trail was originally established as a groomed mushing and skijoring trail. It’s also nice for skiing and is used by snowmachiners to access more remote areas. Yield to dog teams! Hint: You can take quite a shortcut by connecting trails and utilizing the bike path. The trails are groomed by Chena Lakes staff. Plan for some extra time on this trail, especially if you do the full 9.5 mile loop!



#5. Castor Trail @ Pearl Creek Nordic Ski Park Difficulty: EASY

Get there: Pearl Creek Nordic Park is between Ballaine Road, Auburn Drive and Herreid Road. 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: Castor Trail is about Âź mile long. Tips: These are ski only trails with a few foot paths woven in between. 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 to the Pearl Creek School entrance at Auburn Drive. These are great, mostly flat trails for novice skiers, in part thanks to grooming and track-setting by Pearl Creek & Skarland trail users.




#6. The Warm-Up 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. 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 Distance: 1.5km. Tips: Birch HIll trails are non-motorized and for skiing only in winter. The relatively short Warm-Up Loop has a nice mix of small hills and turns to require an array of basic skiing skills- perfect for a warm-up lap or two! Warm-Up Loop is all lighted after dark.


White Bear Trail @ Birch Hill Recreation Area Difficulty: MODERATE

Distance: White Bear is a 10k loop with several cutoffs to provide shorter options. The first and last 2.5k closer to the Ski Center is lighted while the far end is unlit. Tips: While not especially technical, the entire White Bear is the longest single trail at Birch Hill and features a number of long downhills and uphills throughout. Bring a good headlamp if you plan to do the whole trail after dark! Hint: Look for the sign under the lights! 13


#8. Grizzly Loop @ Salcha Elementary Ski Trails Difficulty: MODERATE

Get there: Parking for the Salcha Trails is at Salcha Elementary, 8530 Richardson Hwy. Look for the trail map on the side of the shed to the left of the parking lot. Please check in at the office if using the trails during school hours. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco and firearms are prohibited on school property. Distance: 5K. Look for the sign over the “Grizzly Hill” around the 3k mark. Tips: These trails are ski only. Trails are groomed by volunteers with the Salcha Ski Club. Grizzly has some very steep uphills that will prove challenging for even the stickiest of kick waxes! Bring along your herring-bone skills and a Grizzly– tough attitude!



#9. Skyline Ridge Trail @ Skyline Ridge Park



Get there: From Farmer’s Loop Road, take Summit Drive to Cranberry Ridge, or Skyline Drive to the top of Crestline Drive. 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. Parking is limited. Distance: The trail spans 1Ÿ mile through the Borough Park. Enjoy a short out-and-back on the ridge or make a cool loop by finding the Secret Trail or using Goldstream Connector and After Hours trails. Tips: This is a non-motorized trail. The trail is especially popular for walking and winter biking. While exhilarating, it can be a challenging ski because of the long, continuous and occasionally steep downhill. The trail is not formally groomed. Although it is short, it boasts a nice hill climb on the way back! The original trail spans the entire ridge, but FNSB park property only extends from Noel & MIA to before the KUAC tower at the top of Skiboot Hill Road. Please respect neighboring private property and keep pets leashed and under control. 16

#10. Powerline Junction @ Isberg Recreation Area Difficulty: EASY-MODERATE

Get there: Parking for Isberg Recreation Area is located off Oboe Court near Isberg and Cripple Creek Roads. Distance: From the parking at Oboe Court, users can make a nice 2.4 mile loop connecting the East/West Powerline trail, the North/South Powerline trail, and the portion of the 100-Mile Loop Trail back. Tips: Isberg has a mix of trails planned for multiple-use and non-motorized uses. The loop shaped like a triangle around the powerlines and 100-mile loop trail is wide, multiple-use and snowmachines are encouraged to avoid groomed sections. The Isberg trails are not formally maintained but are kept in good shape by local trail users. While the Eastside/ Uplands area has some steep and difficult trail sections, they can be avoided when looking for this year’s Trails Challenge sign. Hint: The trail name says it all on this one...


#11. Big Eldorado Loop Trail @ Goldstream Valley Difficulty: MODERATE-DIFFICULT

Get there: A roadside pullout for trailhead parking is along Goldstream Road across from Buck’s Drive (between Ballaine and Old Steese). Distance: The full Big Eldorado Creek Loop Trail almost completes a 10 mile loop around Big Eldorado Creek. From the Goldstream pullout, up the west side of the creek to the pipeline near Old Murhpy Dome Rd, then down the east ridgeline to Waterford Road. the If you’re planning on a shorter day, look for the Trails Challenge sign after the trail has started to head uphill, between 4-5 miles from the Goldstream pullout. Tips: This is a multiple-use trail. While the lower sections of the trail are too wet and boggy for summer use, the trail is typically well-used by snowmachines and dog sleds in the winter. This is an unmaintained trail with several small creek crossings. Be prepared for mixed conditions, fallen trees, and overflow that may be wet or icy. The trail is a state-managed, public right-of-way that crosses a variety of land ownership including mining claims and private lands owned by the University of Alaska. Stay on the trail and keep dogs leashed and under control. 18



#12. Circle-Fairbanks Historic Trail @ Fairbanks Cr Rd Difficulty: MODERATE-DIFFICULT

Get there: From the Steese Hwy MP 20.5 at Cleary Summit, drive east on Fairbanks & Fish Creek Road. Winter parking is at the well-kept pullout in ¾ mile under Mt. Aurora where Fairbanks Creek Road splits to the left. From here, the remainder of Fairbanks Creek Road is not maintained for driving in winter but is open as a trail. After parking, travel northeast on Fairbanks Creek Road for roughly 2.6 miles. The road becomes a wide winter trail that is well-groomed by local winter tour operators. The true trailhead leaves the road on the left near a large cleared area. Distance: The full trail extends about 58 miles from near Cleary Summit to Twelvemile Summit at MP 86 Steese Highway. Look for the Trails Challenge sign near the high-point overlook before the trail to Chatanika splits off to the left, less than 5 miles travel from the parking above Fairbanks Creek Road. Tips: The trail is especially popular for some really LONG snowmachine rides. The trail lies in a state-managed public right-of-way and crosses many private mining claims for the first several miles. Respect private property, stay on the trail and keep dogs leashed and under control. Refer to the brochure on the Trails Office webpage at Trails-Program.aspx. This trail crosses some very rugged and remote terrain far from services. While some tour operators keep the beginning of the trail in nice shape, the trail is not formally maintained and gets tougher the farther you go. Travel with a buddy, take the proper winter equipment and navigation tools, and be prepared to be self-sufficient. History: During the early 20th century Gold Rush days, this trail was the original dryland route from the Circle City on the Yukon River to Fairbanks on the Chena River. This trail was the “summer route” that stayed high along the ridgelines and thus offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.