Hiking The Four Mile Ridge Trail
The 10th most popular hiking trail in Alaska.
Saturday 2 July 2016 01:53 GMT
Located near Fairbanks, the Four Mile Ridge Trail (20 mi. / 2500) climbs and follows a ridgetop for nice vistas. The hiking trailhead is located at mile 31 of Chena Hot Springs Road. The trail is well maintained and marked.
This trail starts with the Colorado Creek Trail and then splits off to make a 20 ml loop, climbing and following Four Mile Ridge for about 14 mls. You have two choices from the Colorado Creek Trailhead: you can go in about half a mile and go right on the Chena Hot Springs Winter Trail (CHSWT) for 4.5 mls and turn left ( its marked ), or follow the Colorado Creek Trail to 1 ml where you go right (its marked ). This trail can also be accessed via the shooting range at mile 36.4 Chena Hot Springs Road. From there, you go left on the (CHSWT) for half a mile or less, then turn right on Stiles Creek Cabin Trail (marked). I recommend going the 1 ml Colorado Creek Cabin route. This trail is usually well used and well packed to the cabin at 8 ml. If you choose to do the loop, be prepared; the trail east of the cabin is not used as often and prone to drifting over in spots for at least 6 mls until it drops off the ridge. When the trail splits at one ml, it begins a .6 mile climb to the ridgetop, gaining 300+ ft. I usually walk my bike on a longer climb like this. It can be ridden but in winter you really work extra hard on little ring climbs (steering and getting enough traction without spinning rear tire into trail ), besides getting sweaty on the start of a winter ride probably isn t a good idea. Once on top, this trail is a blast with great views. For the next 6.5 mls, the trail goes up and down with another 400 ft. elevation gain overall. At 7 ml theres a good view of the Tors and the Alaska Range. Just before 8 ml you can test your descending skills with the drop to the cabin. If you do the loop or turn around here, be ready to enjoy some wonderful downhill runs as you lose that hard won altitude. Be warned, on hard braking descents like this your rims will get hot enough to melt snow even in sub zero temps. This leads to icy rims which can lead to an unwanted rush when you next hit your brakes and theres nothing there. Ride the brakes hard until you feel them working, this usually takes only a few seconds. With all the climbing, this trail is physically and technically challenging but very rewarding.
Overall, Four Mile Ridge Trail is the 10th most popular hiking trail of all 54 hikes in Alaska. Several of the better hiking trails are nearby Four Mile Ridge Trail including Ester Dome Trails, Upper Fossil Creek Trail, Wickersham Creek Trail, Pinnell Mountain Trail, White Mountains Summit Trail and O Brien Creek Trail.