Campbell Tract Facility Bike Trails: Anchorage's Green Getaway
Situated in the heart of Anchorage, Alaska, the Campbell Tract Facility is a testament to the city's commitment to preserving green spaces amidst urban sprawl. Covering a sprawling 730-acre area, these trails are a sanctuary not just for cyclists, but for an array of outdoor enthusiasts.
- Terrain: With a total distance of 12 miles, the Campbell Tract Facility offers a mix of double-wide, well-maintained riding/walking trails with occasional single tracks interspersing them.
- Connectivity: These trails act as a bridge, providing excellent access points to main trails of Far North Bicentennial Park to the south and east, and connecting to the University trail system to the north via the Rondy trail.
- Wildlife: In addition to offering a green escape, the trails serve as a habitat for an array of wildlife including moose, foxes, lynxes, black and brown bears. The meandering Campbell Creek further accentuates the region's biodiversity, offering a spawning habitat for various fish species.
- Facilities: The tract also houses the Campbell Creek Science Center, an educational hub that provides outdoor programs for all age groups.
Getting to the Trail
Anchorage's urban planning ensures that the Campbell Tract Facility is accessible from various points:
- Smokejumper Trailhead: Take an exit from the Seward Hwy at Dowling Street. Head east for half a mile until reaching Lake Otis Parkway. Turn south and then east on 68th Avenue. After turning south on the now-renamed Elmore Dr (formerly Abbott Loop Road), the trailhead is on the left.
- Campbell Airstrip: Exit east off the Seward Highway onto Tudor Road. After approximately 3 miles, turn south onto Campbell Airstrip Road. The parking lot is just 1.1 miles ahead, marked by the "Campbell Airstrip Trailhead" sign.
The response from the cycling community has been largely positive:
- Trail Experience: The ride offers a continuous stretch of greenery, and while the experience is generally smooth, some riders felt the need for better signage. However, many have ridden to and from Alaska University without any hassle.
- Facilities Upgrade: The renaming of Abbott Loop Road to Elmore Dr has streamlined access. A new trailhead at Elmore & 88th avenue now provides facilities like a picnic area, restrooms, and ball fields.
- Safety in Bear Country: Due to its proximity to the dense Chugach National Forest, encounters with wildlife, especially bears, are possible. While the thrill of riding in bear country is unparalleled, it's advised to exercise caution. Riding in groups and making noise can act as a deterrent for bears and other wildlife.
For those in Anchorage looking for a leisurely cycling experience amidst lush greenery and the potential for wildlife sightings, the Campbell Tract Facility promises just that. It's not just a trail, but a tribute to Anchorage's balanced approach between urban development and nature preservation.