Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Twenty Best Modern Alaska Wilderness Trips?

My candidates listed below.

What are yours?

1) SE – Yakutat to Gustavus (Lost Coast South)
2) SC – All around Anchorage *** 
This goes from Anchorage to Valdez (which I have not yet done)
then to Eureka Roadhouse, then to Talkeetna River and down to Anchorage
(or Valdez to Anchorage via Talkeetna River)
4) Aleutians – Umnak: Ft Glenn to Nikolski (Geysers!)
6) Gates of the Arctic – AAA
7) Arctic Refuge – Kaktovik to Arctic Village
8) Interior – Charlie River
9) Alaska Range – Wonder Lake to Iliamna (longish)
10) Nabesna to Cordova (not really as long as it sounds)
11) Kotzebue to Nome*** (been trying to do this since 1985)
12) Iceworm Traverse: Seward to Homer
14) Girdwood to Knik
15) Limestone Jags Loop
17) Ribdon to Kaktovik (I skied the reverse, but think packrafting like Becky, Tony, and others would be better)
18) Susitna River bridge to Talkeetna
19) 3 day loop in Arrigetch over Ariel

20) Granite Tors loop

*** indicates I have not yet completed!

I have long been advocating, albeit weakly and to a rather deaf audience, that
1) Kaktovik to Kotzebue is the Alaskan Appalachian Trail
2) Canada to Iliamna is an AK PCT
3) Nabesna to Gustavus ("Copper and Gold") has no Lower 48 equal (and is the best FatBike trip on the Continent),
nor does
4) "Once around Anchorage" (Anchorage -> Whittier -> Valdez -> Eureka Rdhse -> Talkeetna -> Anchorage) which is SC AK's best multisport adventure


  1. Roman - Posts like these have me spending entirely too much time on Google Earth. Is there information on the "Silver and Gold" fat bike route anywhere?

    1. HI John, Should really be called "Copper and Gold" -- reference to gold mining in Chisana district and copper in McCarthy and the corridor down the Copper River.

      The route is essentially standard Nabesna to McCarthy, then down the Kennicott-Nizina-Chitina-Copper river valleys to Lost Coast.

      We (Carl Tobin, Jon Underwood and I) mountain biked Nabesna to McCarthy and out McCarthy Road to Chitina. In 1995 Paul and Bob Kaufman and I took mountain bikes down the railroad grade to the Tiekle River then floated the bikes to Bremner Dunes, rode them, then floated across to the RR grade and followed that to Cordova.

      Later in the 2000's Eric Parsons on a Pugs and Dylan Kentch on a single speed (fixed?) rode Nabesna to Mccarthy again, then did the Lost Coast north and still later (2011) Parsons, Kentch, Mike Curiak and Doom Fassbinder and I did the Lost Coast south.

      Nobody has done the entirety of the Copper and Gold route by Fatbike and packraft, although it is a section of Andrew Skurka's Alaska Loop. He'd originally planned to come down the Gulkana River and I told him he'd be missing out on a real classic if he didn't include the Nabesna to Chitina portion.

  2. I don't feel I've lived long enough on this earth to create with any legitimacy a top 20 (or top 10 for all that matter) list of best places.

    1. Perhaps we need a different superlative? Maybe, lines that look good on the map and even better in the field?

    2. The fact that you've only added *** to two of the above 20 definitely qualifies you to share this list, Roman. A top 20 from me would undoubtedly have many more ***'s and fall more into the "look good on a map" category.

  3. What an envy-inducing list for this Englishman!

  4. What an envy-inducing list for this Englishman!

  5. You rate the Lost Coast South trip higher than the Gates of the Arctic Arctic Circle loop? Now I have to bike the lost cost! :)

  6. Anaktuvuk to Kobuk is exceptional and there are lots of potential variations to do the trip. I don't think ANWR can easily be defined by any one or several routes. Everything I have done in that area has been amazing and there's about 30 more trips that I have mapped out, all slightly different.

  7. The once around Anchorage is more or less an Alaska NOLS semester. Thanks for posting this list. Cheers.

  8. While it is true that water is probably the single most important consideration in trip preparation, shelter is, without-a-doubt, the second most important factor. Try here


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