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Fat-bike Ambassador Trail Report – Power Line Trail Anchorage, Alaska

Fatbassador, Travis from Anchorage, AK sent in this report on a local trail known as The Power Line Trail for obvious reasons. Check out the report and thanks, Travis!

Last week my good friend Al Heckart and I decided to head up to the Anchorage hillside for a ride on the Power Line Trail. We brought the dogs along. To find the Power Line trail you head east on O’Malley Road, take a right on Hillside Drive, left on Upper Huffman Road, take a right at the Y on to Toilsome Hill Drive which turns into Glen Alps Road. Take a left at the top of the road into the Flat Top Trailhead parking lot. The trail starts at the north end of the parking lot. This a great ride that is a half hour drive from just about anywhere in Anchorage.

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Parking can be hard to come by and there is a $5 parking fee. Most of the crowd is usually here to climb Flat Top Mountain. Head north out of the parking lot and you quickly find yourself in Power Line Pass. Our destination is the saddle at the back of the pass just left of the power pole pictured below. Easy to guess how the trail got its name.

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The trail is wide and smooth for the first 3 miles or so. No single track or flow trail here, the draw for me is just the scenery and getting some exercise in. At the start of the trail I always look down into the valley to hopefully spy some big bull moose. The moose move into the lower section of this valley in August / September for the rut. I saw just one on this day. In the past I’ve seen over eight huge bulls within a square mile. It’s a popular spot for viewing moose here in Anchorage.

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3 miles or so back in to the valley and you hit the intersection to Hidden Lake, no bikes allowed on the Hidden Lake trail. So hang a right and ride on. We stopped here for a break. The dog photobombed once again.

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While taking our break a cool cat on a FatBack rolled up on us. He introduced himself as Joe Kaneshiro. Joe was riding by himself so he joined up with us. Joe’s FatBack is one sweet ride. He said he had it torn apart for a while as he transitioned his ride into a Plus-bike. He just recently had the frame freshly powder coated and added the Bluto. He is rolling on 27.5” rims with 3” Vee tires.

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We proceeded to head on back the valley with our new friend Joe.

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I should note that this ride has a great shuttle option. If you follow the trail to the top of the saddle you can drop off the back side for a bomber downhill to the town of Indian. Unfortunately this summer that is not an option as the local electric company is putting in new power poles on the backside, so closed for construction. They are using a Chinook helicopter to place the poles at the rental rate of $360 per minute!

After six miles of climbing and about 1,600 feet of elevation gain Al, the dogs and I decided to stop. At our stopping point we were at an elevation of 3,350 feet. On our way back the valley we spotted some Dall sheep and ptarmigan (not pictured).

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Joe being the super fit dude he is climbed the last mile to the top of the saddle. The following pics are ones that Joe sent to me. Thanks for sending Joe!

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After some break time and a snack it was time to head down, now the fun part. You hardly pedal at all on the way back to the trail head. Below is a shot of Joe coming down from the top of the saddle.

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The following pics are ones that Joe sent to me, all were taken on the way out of the valley.

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As we started our descent the weather flipped quickly and it started to pour rain. I checked the forecast before leaving and it was a 10% chance of rain. I made the mistake of not bringing my rain coat and just took a “water resistant” wind breaker. The “water resistant” shell failed in minutes. Add to this the fact that we were moving at the speed of dog, literally, made for a COLD ride out. I was shivering hard and my hands got so cold I could hardly work the breaks. I had to get off the bike a couple times and jog just to warm up. Lesson learned, be prepared, knew I should have thrown that rain coat in the pack.

Power Line Trail is a ride that offers up great scenery and the possibility for some fantastic wildlife viewing. Having this trail 20 to 30 minutes from town is kickass. I assume most everyone with a mountain or fat-bike in Anchorage has journeyed this way.

Al Heckart also put together this short video of the ride. It was cool to meet Joe and have a fellow Fat-Biker randomly meet up and ride with us. Big thanks to Al and Joe for sending me their pics and video.

Power Line Pass from AK Powderhound on Vimeo.

Fatbassador,

Travis

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2 Responses to Fat-bike Ambassador Trail Report – Power Line Trail Anchorage, Alaska

  1. Travis August 31, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

    Trail Report Update

    My friend who is a Park Ranger just let me know that the back side of the Power Line Trail is open again all the way to Indian!

  2. Jae Williams September 2, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

    The backside is a must do. We used to ride the backside in the days before V-brakes. It is really really steep. Like stomach on the seat tripod riding. We had to spray water on the rims to keep them from melting the tubes. Finish up with a beer at the Turnagain House bar while you wait for your shuttle.