Sitka was Alaska's first official Bike-Friendly Community, and it shows. Bike lanes and racks abound. Besides 14 miles of paved roads, there are many mountain biking trails, and even a new, single-track route of the intimate experience of riding through old-growth forest.
For road riders, there are wide shoulders, and traffic limited to 45 mph. The ocean views are endlessly distracting. Younger riders will appreciate the multipurpose path that runs for seven miles, from Sitka National Historical Park (at Jeff Davis Street) to the Sawmill Creek Bridge. Caution: Whales may be present!
There's more to see - including mountain lookouts over the ocean - on gravel roads and trails, so rent or bring a mountain bike for the full experience.
The staff at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop can rent you a bike and provide suggestions of rides that match your liking and experience. The Sitka Cycling Club website, and the U.S. Forest Service website have additional information about rides.
Here's a sample of some good ones:
Bike Trail Points
Opened in May 2020, this one-way, loop trail gives mountain bikers a chance to zip through forest in close proximity to trees and nature. Built for riders with different levels of ability, it’s not particularly difficult in terms of hills or curves. The trail includes banked turns to help cyclists regulate their speed.
This gravel, mountainside ride that skirts downtown is 3.8 miles long one-way, from the Indian River to Harbor Mountain Road. The Trail is a ten-foot wide intermodal path (runners and hikers, too) with some challenging climbs and thrilling descents, beautiful bridges and streams, and one stunning waterfall.
This 14-mile round-trip starts at Herring Cove and goes to the Green Lake powerhouse, or to the Green Lake Dam. It’s a traffic-free utility corridor on a well-maintained gravel road, along the shore of Silver Bay, a classic Alaskan fjord. There are usually a lot of bear signs on the road, but encounters are rare.
A 5.75-mile climb to a former World War II radar installation on a well-maintained gravel road. This ride will test anyone’s conditioning, but the payoff is extraordinary once you top out on the ridge. Other than the two highways out of Haines and Skagway, this is the only road into alpine in Southeast Alaska.
For the highly adventurous, this is a 6.5‑mile former logging road on Kruzof Island, about a 25-minute boat ride from Sitka. The road begins in Mud Bay and ends at the Shelikof River at Iris Meadows. From there it’s another 1.5‑mile hike on foot across the meadows to Shelikof Beach, where you’ll find gorgeous black sand and ocean breakers.