West of Paxson, the McLaren River Trail is open to cross country skiing and snowmobiling. This trail departs the Denali Highway approximately one mile west of the McLaren River Bridge. The first four miles of the trail are well established trail capable of accommodating even four-wheel drive vehicles. At mile 4 the trail crosses the west fork of the McLaren River. Depending upon river conditions the trail may be impassable. The trail continues almost all the way to the McLaren Glacier. At mile 9 the trail also branches off to the south west and continues 22 miles past the Clearwater Trail and onto the Valdez Creek/ Windy Creek trails.
To reach the trailhead from Paxson, head west on the Denali Highway (SR 8) for 43.3 miles. The trail heads north from the road.
Overall, McLaren River Trail is the 7th most popular cross country ski area of all 10 Nordic ski destinations in Alaska.