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Ride hard-packed snow to a frozen glacier lake with towering ice faces.


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Map Key

25.2

Miles

40.5

KM

0%

Singletrack

658' 201 m

High

7' 2 m

Low

751' 229 m

Up

752' 229 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (1°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Winter Only (January-March) This trail is for winter use only when snow covered.

Overview

Follow a route packed by snowmobiles to the frozen Spencer Lake which allows you to ride up to the towering ice face of Spencer Glacier.

Need to Know

It is illegal to ride or cross the railroad track and this can cause access issues in the future. Don't be that person!

Description

Start at second bridge over the Placer River (traveling from Anchorage) and follow hard-packed snowmachine route south into the valley. The route will take you over channels in the Placer River, small creeks, and into a wooded area. Softer snow conditions are usually found in the trees, but you're almost to the glacier lake. Follow the packed trail under a couple Alaska Railroad bridges to reach the frozen lake.

From here, choose your own route across to tour ice bergs frozen in the lake and the ice wall of Spencer Glacier. You'll be riding on the frozen lake and not on the actual glacier, which is not recommended. Also note that the ending climb shown on the route profile is false; you don't gain 300-feet riding across the lake. This is a result of USGS elevation data not updated to take in recession of the glacier.

Be extremely careful approaching the Spencer Glacier's exposed face; massive chunks of ice calve without warning. In addition to crushing you, these calving events can also break the lake ice hundreds of feet in all directions. If you are going to explore one of the tunnels leading into the ice, keep it brief to minimize your exposure to these hazards. It's all about timing.

Return the way you came; back across the lake, under the bridge, through the trees and along the river.

Contacts

Shared By:

Matt Hage

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 3 votes

#1

in Portage

#994

Overall
  5.0 from 3 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Portage

#5

in Alaska

#994

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6,362 Since Mar 31, 2019
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Photos

Inside Spencer Glacier
Mar 31, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
Riding in front of Spencer Glacier
Apr 1, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
Towering ice at Spencer Glacier
Apr 1, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
Riding around Spencer Glacier
Apr 1, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
Riding out to Spencer Lake and Glacier
Apr 1, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
Spencer Glacier
Apr 1, 2019 near Girdwood, AK

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Check-Ins

Mar 16, 2022
art club
160mi — 5h 00m
Mar 1, 2019
Matt Hage
6h 00m