Hatcher Pass Mile 16 Downhill Trail
Experience the adrenaline rush of biking down the Hatcher Pass Mile 16 Downhill Trail. This 2-mile trail, set against the stunning backdrop of Alaska's wilderness, offers a downhill ride best suited for long-travel bikes. However, don't be discouraged if you have a decent hardtail or trail bike - you can still have plenty of fun! To maximize enjoyment, consider bringing a few trucks for shuttling between laps.
Hatcher Pass Mile 16 Downhill Trail nestles on a ridge above Fishhook Creek and features switchbacks that take you down over 800 feet of elevation in less than 2 miles. This epic descent transports you from beautiful sub-alpine tundra into denser brush below.
While the trail's name might suggest a length of 16 miles, it is actually named after its location near the 16-mile marker on Hatcher Pass. It's characterized by its sharp drop off the side of the paved road, diving nearly straight down the mountainside, and ending at a lower section of pavement. The trail's top and bottom are conveniently marked by parking lots, making it popular among locals for repeated downhill laps.
Although the initial drop is quite steep and eroded, the trail soon mellows out into a smooth and flowy ride, thanks to regular maintenance. However, it's good to remember that trails in Alaska, including this one, can become overgrown during summertime. As you speed down the mountain, you'll encounter a series of excellent berms and a variety of jumps, offering plenty of fun and challenge for advanced riders.
Directions to the Hatcher Pass Mile 16 Downhill Trail:
To get to the Hatcher Pass Mile 16 Downhill Trail from Wasilla, follow these steps:
- Start your journey northward on the AK-3 N.
- After approximately 6 miles, take the exit for Palmer-Fishhook Road.
- Continue on Palmer-Fishhook Road, which eventually turns into Fishhook Rd, and wind your way for about 10 miles into Hatcher Pass.
- After about 4 miles from when the road starts to twist and turn, park at a gravel parking area on the left just before the guardrails.
- To reach the trailhead, continue driving up Fishhook Rd towards Independence Mine.
- At the 16-mile marker, you'll find a gravel parking lot at an overlook, following a sharp 90-degree turn to the right. The trailhead is at the near end of the gravel parking area and has a mound of gravel that doubles as a makeshift jump.
Once you've reached the trailhead, hit the first jump and start your thrilling descent. Remember to take it slow after the jump so as not to miss the 90-degree turn into the actual downhill trail. Follow it down to the lower parking lot, enjoy a hearty laugh and a refreshing beer, and repeat the exciting experience!
As always, please ride responsibly, respect the trail, and ensure that your activities don't damage its natural beauty. Enjoy your biking adventure on the Hatcher Pass Mile 16 Downhill Trail!