Hillside Park is a fun network of playful singletrack on the eastern side of Anchorage. With plenty of climbing and descending, it's more of an aerobic challenge than a technical one.
For a full tour of the network, consider an counter-clockwise route that starts at Drone Lane
and covers the perimeter trails first, returning on the more advanced, inner routes.
Be aware of other trail users and wildlife. Bears and moose are present in the area.
There are two access points for Hillside, one at the bottom of the network at Hilltop Ski area. The other is at the Prospect Heights parking area at the top of the trail system.
From the Hilltop Ski Area climb up Drone Lane
to Queen Bee Loop
. Stay right to ride southern side first, pedaling steadily with the contours of the terrain to Janice's Jive
The mellow ascent continues and the trail becomes more playful. Each short climb is followed by a quick descent through twists and bends that lead into the next climb. Every so often you can catch glimpses of the mountain in Chugach State Park peeking through the trees.
Ride past a trail kiosk and across the gasline to The Hive
, a cascade of singletrack that twists and turns along the gentle hillsides. From here you'll descend through mostly open and grassy slopes with great views of Anchorage.
At the bottom connect with Yellow Jacket
and start the inner loop portion of the route. Pedal up through a series of meadows connected by short climbs. This section is very open, flanked by large expanses of tall grass and shrubs.
Back at the top, you'll connect with Hornet's Nest
and pedal through a rolling climb over the top of a knoll. Afterwards, enjoy a fun descent with several insloped turns. The terrain and feel is a little more intense than the Hive with less time to recover between trail features.
From here, roll into Stinger
, the most intense (and most fun) of the trails at Hillside. From top to bottom be prepared for non-stop turns and berms with short steeps and a few hips. There's a short rest during the middle of the route before the bottom comes at you quickly.
Continue on the beginning of Janice's Jive
, a very mellow transition to Queen Bee Loop
. The finish to the route is on Queen Bee's inside section with lots of flow. The very last bit is especially fun, finishing along the ski area with a few big berms.
Stay right at the intersection with Drone Lane
to descend back to the beginning of the ride.