“A low elevation gain mountain pass with lots of technical boulder sections.
— Will Corbridge
Great ride year-round, but check avalanche conditions in winter.
An amazing mountain pass ride not too far from Anchorage, Hatcher Pass is a gravel path for the first mile or so, but quickly turns into natural singletrack that you'll share with the occasional hiker - hardly ever see bikes here but they're allowed.
This awesome ride features a gradual climb on the way out, gradual descent on the way back. Beware of the multitude of short, technical rocky sections, but enjoy the wide-open valley views. This trail can be ridden year round.
Check avalanche danger in Hatcher Pass if riding this trail in the winter.
Parking has a $5 fee, waived if you have a Chugach State Park Pass.
After riding, head further up the paved road from the parking area to Hatcher Pass Lodge for good hot food, beer or hot mixed drinks (hot buttered rum is killer).
One of my favorite rides. A roomy gravel path becomes singletrack as it follows the Little Susitna river up the valley. The gravel lasts for about a mile then the singletrack gets quite narrow. This dirt singletrack through the alders punctuated by rocky sections. You won't get lost on the way out - there's basically only one path up the valley. I've made a wrong turn on the way back, but those were short-lived and it's impossible to get totally lost because there are no trees.
My favorite aspects of this trail are the fun rock obstacles. I'd rate them between 3/5 to 5/5 difficulty - be careful when the rocks are wet! The further out you make it, the more closely-spaced the technical sections become. I turned around at mile 5.5 at which point I was walking sections pretty often. I recommend a fatbike on this trail, even in the summer.
A gradual climb on the way out (not at all painful or very aerobically challenging) means it's significantly faster coming back. Be careful hitting puddles at high speed on the way back - some of them hide big craters that have sent me over the handlebars.
I've ridden this a few times in the winter/spring but we crossed a few avalanche slides that time of year, so check avalanche danger in Hatcher Pass before you go out. Epic crust riding in the spring if you hit it just right (above-freezing days, below-freezing nights). Each mile is marked with signage.