The Talkeetna Mail Trail and Central Trail are year round, multi-use trails that run north south between Willow Creek and the Kashwitna River. The trails were originally used for hauling mail, but recent logging has opened new access and short dead-end trails leading both east and west. Some of the trail crosses wet areas that are sensitive to heavy use. Plans are underway to harden or relocate portions of the trail to better accommodate year round use, and bridged stream crossings to protect the salmon habitat. The trails will connect users to the Willow Mountain Trail and Hidden Hills Road. Currently there is no parking at Hidden Hills Road at the north end of the Talkeetna Mail Trail. The area is wooded with stands of birch, spruce and cottonwood. There are several places along the trail where the vegetation opens up offering views of the Talkeetna Mountains.
How to get There
From Willow go east on Willow Fishhook Road (Hatcher Pass Road), travel east for 6 miles, take a left (north) on Shirley Town Road. Follow Shirley Town Road east across the bridge on Willow Creek, stay on the main road heading east until there is a Y in the road (to the right is Willer-Kash Road and to the left is Jim Carter Road). Parking is available here in a small parking area. Use the roadside if necessary, but please do not block the roads.
Summer use includes hiking, mountain biking, ATV riding, and horse back riding. Winter uses include snow machining, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and dog mushing.
*Both trails are suitable for winter use; however, the Central Trail is better suited to summer uses.
*Take note: Many local recreational and professional dog mushers use these trails. If traveling by snowmachine be cautious and yield to dog teams. Pull over, shut off machine and wait while dog teams pass. Remember, nonmotorized trail users have the right-ofway, so ATV riders should yield to horseback riders also.