From one of our Alaskan Fat-bike Ambassadors, Travis Hubbard of Anchorage, comes this story that will make you want to get out on that fat-bike!
The weekend of August 1st and 2nd, 2015 the wife, dog and I camped out at Quartz Creek Campground on the Kenai Peninsula. This is by far my favorite campground on the Kenai, it sits on the shores of Kenai Lake and you would be hard pressed to find a place more scenic. There is great trout fishing in Quartz Creek that runs adjacent to the campground. You can reserve sites here through Reserve America, be warned you had better book early if you want to stay here during the summer as it typically sells out by March for the following summer’s weekends.
To find the Crescent Creek Trailhead you’ll drive south on the Seward Highway from Anchorage (2 hours), take a right at “Y” junction of the Seward/Sterling Highway towards Sterling, AK. Go 7 miles and turn south onto Quartz Creek Road. Drive about 3.5 miles past the Crescent Creek Campground to the parking area on left side of the road. Expect a couple one lane bridges and some big potholes, 4 wheel drive is not needed. The trail begins on the south side of the road, you can’t miss it.
The Crescent Creek Trail is about 6.5 miles one way to the west end of Crescent Lake with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet.
The first two miles of trail are wide and mellow with no technical sections.
The next mile or so the trail turns into single-track with a few rocky sections and a little cliff hugging, this is also where the trail will begin to get overgrown starting in mid-July. At about the 3 mile mark you reach the first bridge over Crescent Creek, your half way at this point and two thirds of the climb is behind you.
Once across the first bridge the climb is steep but short lived and you’ll find yourself getting above the tree line and into some beautiful meadows with stellar views. At this point you start getting into grass over your head. This is a bit freaky in bear country. We stopped and grouped up at this point. The trick here is to ride slow and make a lot of noise to avoid a bear encounter. I blast my small HDMX speaker, the wife has a bell on her bike and the dog has a bell on his collar. I have ridden a lot in bear country and rarely ever see them even at a distance. The key is to let them know you’re coming, they don’t want to see you anymore than you want to see them. We also carry bear spray and I pack a Ruger 454 revolver for the worst case scenario. I have no interest in shooting a bear, I think there amazing creatures. Ultimately it comes down to getting the wife, dog and I home safely and bear spray isn’t full proof. Many Alaskans ride with just bear spray or nothing but their bells and these are the folks that look at me like I’m nuts for riding with a canon strapped to my chest. I’ll take the weight penalty and comfort knowing if the sh*t goes down I am prepared.
As you approach the lake you get a little downhill and better sight lines as the high grass is behind you. Then you reach the second bridge over Crescent Creek. At this point my dog Ruger decided it was time to cool off in Crescent Creek, after all it was a glorious 75 degree day.
Finally you arrive at Crescent Lake! It’s one of my favorite places on earth. Given the drive time from Anchorage it’s typically not a busy trail and you get the great feeling of being far from anything and everything. We saw two other couples on bikes and a few guys fishing for grayling. Crescent Creek and Lake has world class Grayling fishing, check your regulation books for days that fishing is open. There is also a Forest Service cabin right on the lake that the public can rent and includes a row boat. Again book way in advance if you want it on a weekend. This would be a spectacular bike packing trip, especially if you like to fish.
Sorry, but I didn’t take any pictures on the way out. I was having way too much fun on my Fat Boy during the 6.5 mile downhill. This trail is a great “shorty” day trip and would be an excellent bike pack trip.
Afterwards back at camp I enjoyed Midnight Sun Sockeye Red Ale while the wife sipped her Cosmos. The dog, well he enjoyed laying by the fire and not moving!