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Off-Road Trails: Alaska

Endless off-road possibilities exist in Alaska

Photo credit: Lukas Bischoff Photograph/Shutterstock.com
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Alaskans sure know how to work hard and play harder – especially when it comes to off-road fun. It’s clear from getting to know our friends up North that they enjoy a good challenge once in a while, and the varied terrain in Alaska sure does test your limits. The state is so expansive, and offers many different areas to ride and play making this a very unique area to visit and ride in. Without a doubt, life is better with Honda in Alaska.

There is less regulation in riding areas in Alaska compared to other states, and while some National Parks restrict off-road use (i.e. Denali National Park), the majority of the state is available for your riding pleasure as long as you have a solid machine like the Honda Talon to get you through some of the gnarly terrain.

In Alaska, expect the unexpected. From glacial drainages, muddy pits, gnarly rock climbs, water crossings, and swamps that could engulf an entire machine, this state has it all. Make sure you strap a winch to your Talon. Add on skid plates, A-arm guards, full doors, a bumper, and a solid 40” LED light bar and you’ve got the basics to get you started.

Distance 150 Miles

Skill Level All

Trailhead 2 Miles East of Eureka Lodge

Eureka Trails

Distance 150 Miles

Skill Level All

Trailhead 2 Miles East of Eureka Lodge

Located about 160 miles Northeast of Anchorage, Eureka Trails is a higher elevation than other riding areas (at 2,500 ft.) so it is above the main tree line for most of the riding area. This means it’s easier to travel long distances across mountain ridges, exploring old mining areas and glacier drainage areas. This is a popular hunting area in the fall and winter with large herds of caribou roaming through each season. The trail can be quite muddy during the thaw season and dusty during dryer months. It has a little bit of everything, from steep hill climbs, rock climbing, mud and water holes, and rutted areas. The Honda Talon 1000X would be the ideal vehicle for this area with its compact width and go-anywhere, solid build quality.

Honda Talon Alaska

Distance 75 Miles

Skill Level All

Trailhead Kroto Creek

Petersville

Distance 75 Miles

Skill Level All

Trailhead Kroto Creek

Petersville is located 120 miles northeast of Anchorage and is a multiuse area utilized by cabin owners, hunters and off-road riders. It’s used year road, and tends to be more wet and swampy than other riding areas, making it a popular mud-slinging spot. There are lots of ponds, lakes, and rivers with both forested and open swamps in between. On a clear day, the area offers epic views of Mt. McKinley (aka. Denali), so stop and enjoy lunch with your family while taking in the amazing view! Being that the area has a variety of terrain, you’ll want the confidence to tackle anything in front of you in your side-by-side. A Honda Talon 1000X has intuitive technologies, like I-4WD that will automatically put the most power to the ground via all four wheels. Confidence is power, and the Talon delivers that in spades.

Distance 10-25 Miles

Skill Level Moderate to Advanced

Trailhead Kings River Bridge (mile post 72), Sullivan Ave (Palmer), or Glenn Hwy (mile post 91)

Matanuska Valley

Distance 10-25 Miles

Skill Level Moderate to Advanced

Trailhead Kings River Bridge (mile post 72), Sullivan Ave (Palmer), or Glenn Hwy (mile post 91)

The Matanuska Valley (i.e. Wasilla, Palmer, Jim Creek) is a popular riding area about an hour north of Anchorage. Wasilla and Palmer allow ATV/SXS use openly on the sides of the road so many people who live in that area ride from their homes to their favorite riding areas. The Honda Talon 1000X ensures that you can get “there and back” with ease and comfort. Combined, this all makes the area an ideal living or vacation destination for off-road enthusiasts. Great trails to explore in this area include: Kings River / Permanente Trail, Jim Creek / Knik River, Purington Creek / Boulder Creek. Trails vary in terms of difficulty level:

1. Kings River is part of the Chikaloon Trail system which is made up of three separate trails. The Kings River Trail is a difficult trail with lots of mud and water crossings, while Permanent Trail on the Eastern side is easier to navigate.

2. Jim Creek / Knik River is a 22-mile long trail that follows along the Knik River. It’s suited to all off-road vehicle types and offers a variety of terrain which the train ending at a large glacier.

3. Purington Creek / Boulder Creek – got mud? That’s the one phrase that comes to mind when thinking about this trail. This is a more difficult trail that will lead you to multiple mud holes and water crossings. Just be sure to bring your winch – it will likely be put to use!

Distance 8-20 Miles

Skill Level All

Trailhead Richardson Hwy (post 190 or 214), or off Denali Hwy

Denali

Distance 8-20 Miles

Skill Level All

Trailhead Richardson Hwy (post 190 or 214), or off Denali Hwy

To clarify, OHV use is not permitted in Denali National Park. However, the areas around the park (i.e. Paxson) are available for riders and offer some great trails, including: Fish Creek Tail, Osar Lake Trail, and Red Rock Canyon Trail. Exploring these areas requires a well-rounded vehicle, and the Honda Talon 1000X has just the right components to make it fun yet reliable on a long days’ journey.

1. Fish Creek Trail is open year round, and is accessible by all types and sizes of off-road vehicles. It features several water crossings, and is a great place to fish!

2. Osar Lake Trail is 8 miles long, and is heavily used by hunters in August/September. It’s generally a dry trail that gives access to Osar Lake and also offers epic views of the Maclaren River basin.

3. Red Rock Canyon Trail is a primarily gravel trail (20 miles) that is a fairly easy ride with some sharp rocky areas and the occasionally water crossing. Riders enjoy the moderate elevation changes and beautiful mountain views that this area provides, so be sure to bring a friend along, pack a lunch and stop to enjoy the scenery!

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