If you go to Alaska during MTB-friendly weather, you should find that most of the lower trails are under forest cover. As such, expect plenty of greenery, shade, and roots on the singletrack, with barely any rocks on most of the lower trails.
There are also plenty of mountains to explore with trails like the Powerline Pass, which is mostly covered by rocks and hardly has any tree cover. While the mountain trails may sometimes be more technically difficult due to the rocks and taxing climbs, the views they provide from above may just be worth the hassle.
|Land area||1.723 million km² / 665254 mi²|
|Max elevation||6,095 m / 19,996 ft.|
|Min elevation||-2 m / - 6.5 ft|
Despite being 665,400 square miles, Alaska's population in 2021 was only 732,673. This makes the population density very low, meaning that you're likely in the right place if you prefer being on MTB trails alone.
The population has been shrinking in the last few years with low birth rates and more people moving out of the state than in. The young people moving out are, of course, in search of better opportunities, but a few of the older generation are also moving out.
Ultimately, this means that most of the cities and towns you visit in the state will be small and quiet. Fortunately, they have beautiful landscapes to compensate for the lack of a social scene and the cold.
|Population density||1.2/ mi²|
The best time for a mountain biking visit to Alaska is between April and October when the weather is warmer. Winter months can get chilly, which can put a damper on the experience. However, if you're prepared to dress warmly and don't mind the cold, you can still cover some of the trails.
It's worth noting that it can get colder in the mountains with snow covering the trails, so the wider the tires on your bike, the better since you'll want as much traction as possible.
Also, rain is always a possibility, even in the summer. As such, if you want to avoid getting soaked, always check the weather forecast before you head out on a bike run.
|HIGH||ANCHORAGE||Juneau International Airport||Fairbanks|
|LOW||ANCHORAGE||Juneau International Airport||Fairbanks|
Despite the weather and climate challenges, the road network in Alaska is developed enough to give you easy access to the trailheads. They also allow bikes on roads, so if you want to up the challenge and do more than the trails, you can leave your car at the hotel or Airbnb. Most gas stations, motels, RV parks, and tourist offices will provide a free map to help you navigate the area.
There are a few exceptional hotels to pick from as well, with examples like the Denali Fireside Cabin & Suites, Luxury Lakefront Villa, and House on the Rock B&B being among the highest-rated.
One of the best places for mountain bikers to visit while in Alaska is Knoya Peak. It should be among the trails in Anchorage, and if you can see the sunset from there, it's bound to be one of the highlights of your trip. You should also be looking over anchorage city and the coastline while there.
Other trails, like the Powerline Pass, give you exquisite views of the mountains. Away from the trails, you can also see the Northern lights between August and April, which might be one of the reasons to brave the Alaska Winter.
If you make it to Ketchikan, one of the cities in the state, there are jawdroppingly beautiful forests, with the only caveat being there aren't any MTB trails. Fairbanks and Juneau also have very beautiful forests, with the upside being their MTB trail networks.
As long as you're in the state, you may also want to visit the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. In addition to the glaciers and mountain bike trails, there are over 3 million acres of mountains, coastlines, and temperate forests.
While the weather may not always be friendly, there are plenty of trails that are best experienced on a mountain bike. As such, when you do get to go for a bike run, it will be worth the anticipation. Just remember to check the weather for whichever area you're biking through, and if necessary, dress for the cold.
Also, despite the low population, you can find mountain bike rentals in cities like Anchorage, Juneau, and even Ketchikan.
The longest MTB trail in the state is the Denali Park Road which should run for up to 92 miles. As such, it's not something you can complete in a day. Other trails like the powerline pass at 17.7 miles, Hillside Park at 7.1 miles, and Sta Trails at 8 miles are more manageable if you're only visiting for a few days, not to mention they showcase most of what you'd like to see from the trail options available.
You may be able to see moose on some of the trails in the city, although you should be careful since they'll charge at you if they're protecting their calves.