For a leisurely ski along a scenic greenbelt that crosses Midtown Anchorage along an ecologically rich bottomland, try out the Campbell Creek Trail—reaching 7.5 miles from the University Lake area to West Dimond Boulevard. It’s another one of the city’s “through-the-looking-glass” experiences where you’ll feel surrounded by a wintry riparian habitat even though you’re often skiing a few hundred feet from industrial areas and neighborhoods. Very welcoming for families and popular with residents. You can check our the interactive real-time grooming trails map or the Municipality of Anchorage's grooming report before you hit the trails. If the weather is looking iffy, you can take a look at forecast to better prepare yourself.
Much of the route is not always groomed, but often gets enough multi-use traffic to pack the snow. It is very much a winter creek-bottom scene—rushing water beneath ice formations, animal tracks, snow-shrouded deadfalls and beaver lodges. Lots of people ski segments for a taste of Alaska’s low-elevation wild-land splendor.
Caution: The trail layout can be a bit complicated, and not always intuitive. Many maps currently online are out of date and do not show the trail’s new alignment between Tudor Road and Elmore Drive with an underpass beneath Martin Luther King Drive. Many maps also do not show the trail’s new underpass beneath the New Seward Highway.
The North trek
The 3.5-mile northern half runs from University Lake Park at the Alaska Native Health campus to Campbell Park on Lake Otis Parkway. The route crosses Tudor Road over the dramatic-looking viaduct, jogs east and then crosses beneath MLK Drive to the intersection with the Tour Trail leading into the deep woods. This segment is often well groomed with lots of skiers, bikers and joggers moving between Far North Bicentennial Park and the University-Chester Creek system.
From the Tour Trail entrance, Campbell Creek trail turns west into wetland, passing the Chuck Albrecht softball complex and ducking beneath Elmore Road into Campbell Park on its way toward Lake Otis. Portions of this segment feature lights and many excellent overlooks of the creek. It’s a great route for families who want marry a short ski tour with time at a fun playground. Plus some of the long bridges are interesting as displays of engineering.
Lake Otis detour
Lake Otis defines a short break in the system, requiring a walking detour to continue. The southern trailhead is a block west of Lake Otis where 47th Court dead-ends into Wickersham Park. You’ll need to take off skis and cross at the traffic light, or walk two blocks south to a pedestrian underpass at 50th Avenue or Waldron Drive.
From Wickersham, the trail continues past Waldron Lake, crosses beneath the Seward Highway and meanders southwest for several miles along the oxbows and curves of the creek. Highlights include access to the two very popular restaurants (Peanut Farm and Arctic Roadrunner) at the Old Seward Highway and Taku Lake Park at the west end of 76th Avenue.
The route ends at Northwood Street. Take the north (right) fork and you’ll exit one block east of Dimond High School. Continue south and you’ll reach Dimond Boulevard.