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Best Mountain Bike Trails in Anchorage, Alaska

The mountain bike scene in Anchorage is exploding!

Mountain Biking Moderate, Difficult, Severe

Photo: Amanda B.


Alaska is truly the Last Frontier: this wild landscape is vast, intimidating, and largely untamed. Rugged mountain ranges crisscross the state, with rolling hills and lowlands in between covered in deep forests and boggy swamps. The most remote corners of Alaska require a bush plane or a boat to access. In fact, there are some native communities that can only be accessed by air or water!

While it might seem that this wild, natural landscape would be the perfect haven for epic mountain bike trails, the irony is that great mountain bike trails need a critical mass of human population to build and maintain them. Without enough riders, nature will inevitably overtake whatever trail is built. In Alaska's most remote areas, the bush will close back over a sinuous strip of dirt trail in a shockingly short amount of time. The growing season might not be long in Alaska, but the wet landscape—especially near the coast—is the perfect habitat for dense undergrowth.

The result of these somewhat unintuitive truths is the truly unintuitive reality that the very best mountain bike trails in Alaska are actually located close to the biggest population center: the city of Anchorage. With 292,000 residents in the Anchorage Metro Area, the city has enough population here to successfully build high-quality mountain bike trails and to continue cutting back the undergrowth to keep them open and rideable.

Even in spite of the challenges, the mountain bike scene in Alaska is still on the rise. While the riding roots in the state go back many years, high-quality purpose-built trails have only started spreading in the past decade (as of the time of this writing in 2022). In fact, the last five years has seen an incredible explosion of trail building in Alaska, with many of the trails outlined in this guidebook built in that timeframe.

The impact of Anchorage's population and love for mountain biking has led to fantastic mountain bike trails in the Anchorage Metro; north in Eagle River, Palmer, and Wasilla; south in Alyeska; and spreading even further south through the Kenai Peninsula. This guidebook focuses solely on the best trails in the immediate Anchorage Metro Area, which are concentrated in two main trail systems: Kincaid Park and Hillside Park.

Kincaid is the older of the two networks, providing fantastic cross country riding along with the opportunity for a few short, rowdy descents. Hillside Park offers longer descents and newer trails, many of which are packed with modern trail features like tabletop jumps, drops, and endless berms. There are a few chunky trails to be found at Hillside, too, but overall the riding in Anchorage is not very technical. It takes work to search out the gnar here, and even then, it's over pretty quickly.

Nevertheless, mountain bikers will find a wealth of fantastic purpose-built singletrack to explore in Anchorage! And there's more on the way: the local riders and builders show no signs of stopping now, and new trails are opened every single summer. Who knows what the mountain bike scene in Anchorage will look like in another five years?!

Routes included

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