Cross Country Skiing in Far North Bicentennial

Whether classic touring through deep woods on a narrow path or driving hard on your skate skis down one of the city’s most popular race routes, you will find every kind of skiing inside Anchorage’s largest park.

Scores of multi-use trails suitable for skiing crisscross this vast, 4,000-acre tract, reaching from lowland forest into the foothills of the Chugach Mountains. The most popular groomed route may be the Tour of Anchorage Trail—running about 12 kilometers between Service High School and the Tudor Road bridge. But with at least 65 trails covering nearly 100 miles, you’ll never run out of options.

The soul of Anchorage’s multi-use network

A little orientation: A former military training zone and World War II base, the FNBP area straddles the drainages of the South and North forks of Campbell Creek, including the 730-acre Campbell Tract managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It connects the groomed Hillside system with Chester and Campbell Creek cross-city routes.

The land rises from about 60 feet to 360 feet in elevation to merge seamlessly with Chugach State Park and its trail network. In a forest that seems to go on forever, you’ll find single-track mazes popular with bikers, loops used for ski-joring and remote, unmaintained networks where skiers, bikers and hikers collectively pack down the snow.

Most popular trailhead

For a great introduction, try the park’s central trailhead off Campbell Airstrip Road about one mile south of Tudor Road. From the parking lot, ski south over the old Bruckner Bridge, and you will be standing on the Tour Trail about midway through. (This trailhead is actually in the BLM’s Campbell Tract with FNBP surrounding.) Ski southeast (toward the mountains) and pick up Birch Knob Trail for a fun .8-mile loop back to where you started. Another short tour leads west along the creek in the woods on Salmon Run Trail, a great way to experience the winter ice formations in the South Fork.

Ski further south on the Tour Trail (also known in this area as the Viewpoint Trail) and you’ll soon pass through a gorgeous open glade dominated by birch trees. It looks like the landscape depicted in the Bev Doolittle painting Sacred Ground.

Off the (beaten) Tour path

If you’re classic skiing and up for adventure on a single track route, continue another half mile and take the Moose Meadow Trail into the forest (toward the mountains) until it dead-ends at Rover’s Run (Mellon’s Way.) Head west (left) for a return to the Tour Trail. This whole loop from the bridge trailhead covers about 2.5 miles or 4.2 kilometers and feels like jaunt through deep woods.

A worthy detour: A beautiful little brook and a small bridge is just a few yards off Moose Meadow up the Black Bear Trail fork. Take a rest to listen to the melodic tinkle beneath the snow.

Two notes of caution

  • Extensive dog mushing trails loop through the park, sometimes crossing or paralleling multi-use routes. Obey the signs and stay off them! Sled dog teams cannot stop quickly and could run you down you.
  • An active airstrip on BLM’s Campbell Tract is off limits to skiers and other recreationists. Heed the warning signs on Intersecting trails.

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 61.165793
Longitude: -149.765926

FNBP has at least 17 trailheads, including accesses through Hillside Park and the Hilltop Ski Area parking lot in the southeast corner. Here are five other easy ways to get on skis in the park.

  • Campbell Airstrip Trailhead. One mile up from Tudor Road on Campbell Airstrip Road.
  • North and South Bivouac trailheads. About 2.3 miles up Campbell Airstrip Road on each side of the road. South Bivouac leads to the ski-only Hillside Trail system and the upper end of Rover’s Run.
  • Campbell Tract main entrance. Off Elmore Road between Lore Road and East 68th Avenue, the Campbell Creek Science Center Road features several trailheads.
  • Abbott Loop Community Park. Off Elmore Road between East 80th and East 84th avenues.
  • Service High School (when school is not in session.) 5577 Abbott Road. Take the multi-use or ski trails north to the entrance to the Tour Trail (also known at this location as the Homestead Trail.)