Ester Dome: Happy Valley

Enjoy mud-free trail running on these elevated trails on the flanks of Ester Dome.

Trail Running Easy

13 km
444 m
444 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
267 m
High Point
459 m
Ester Dome: Happy Valley Map

Ester Dome is one of the premier trail systems in Fairbanks, Alaska. This tightly-wound trail network was machine built from the ground up by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers, but it has proven quite popular with hikers and trail runners as well.


The trails are situated on the side of a small mountain, which helps keep them out of the wet, marshy areas found closer to the city. This alone is one big reason for Ester Dome's popularity with the foot sporting crowd, too. If you've had enough of slogging through wet, muddy tracks, head to the well-built and quick-draining trails on this mountainside.

The flowy Ester Dome trails swoop through a beautiful aspen grove as they roll up, down, and around the hillsides. While the aspen grove the trails run through is itself beautiful, you'll unfortunately never reach an opening in the trees to enjoy a vista over the city below.

There are multiple loops on this little mountainside, but the route shown here tries to maximize the mileage found in the network. It's quite easy to shorten this route down by either hiking just the inner loop, just the outer loop, or some other derivative thereof.

Despite being mountain-bike-specific trails, these smooth dirt trails are quite friendly to hikers and trail runners. There aren't any really fast downhills or massive jumps or bike-specific obstacles on these trails, which helps limit the bikers to moderate speeds and prevent any unpleasant interactions. However, it's still a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for our two-wheeled friends around some of the tight corners.



Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between June and October