2012  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

 

   
 
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   CYCLING ON THE CAMPBELL CREEK GREENWAY

SATURDAY, AUGUST 18

 
"This popular multipurpose trail follows the scenic Campbell Creek, 
making it an excellent year-round recreational trail for fishing, picnicking,   
kids, families, hikers, bicycling, dog walkers, and winter skiers . . . Campbell Creek
provides excellent salmon viewing, wildlife habitat, and natural flood control."
 
~ REI website and Trails.Com
 
 

Anchorage is a year-round gold mine for trail enthusiasts who enjoy various sports.

The municipality has over 120 miles of paved multiuse trails for cycling, walking, running, and roller-blading and about 300 miles of summer- and winter-use dirt trails for mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog mushing, and ski-joring.


Tranquil scene along the Campbell Creek Greenway

On our visits to Anchorage in June and July we enjoyed many miles of this extensive trail system -- hiking to the summits of several mountains in the Chugach Range, cycling dirt trails at Lake Eklutna, and riding the very popular Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and Chester Creek Greenway. 

Today I'll introduce you to another segment of the city's large, interconnecting maze of paved, multi-use paths.

WEATHER OR NOT

We thought today was going to be rainy most of the day but we woke up to a mostly clear sky at 8 AM. That was a nice surprise. We would have gotten up earlier if we’d known it wasn’t crappy outside. <grin>

Temps were in the mid-50s F. in the morning and warmed up to the mid-60s F. while the sun was still shining. By noon it was mostly cloudy, as these photos from our bike ride show, but we didn’t have any rain at the campground until early evening – and then not much.

That's sort of the opposite weather pattern we had when we were here in June and July (rainy days, sunny evenings).

Since it was nice outside this morning we decided to ride a paved bike path in Anchorage that’s new to us -- Campbell Creek.

This trail stretches about 7˝ miles from University Lake (Elmore and E. Tudor Roads) southwest to Northwood St./Victor Rd. and W. Dimond Blvd.  It connects to other city greenways, parks, and  neighborhoods as it generally follows meandering Campbell Creek.


It was quite cloudy by the time we returned to our truck.

We weren't sure of all the parking options to access the trail so we parked in a large lot we'd seen previously when driving by the Far North Bicentennial Park at MLK, Jr. and Elmore Rd.

This parking lot, shown above, is a couple blocks from University Lake at the NE end of the trail.

We rode SW (downstream) on the Campbell Creek bike path, then a little beyond the Northwood/Victor trailhead on another greenway for some additional mileage.

 
Beautiful mountain ash trees (they go by many names) along the greenway

All was well for about a mile going outbound (downstream) until we reached Lake Otis Pkwy. and had trouble following the trail.

It would be nice for folks unfamiliar with the bike path if it was better marked in that area.

Our next problem was less than a mile later when we saw a sign indicating we’d have to detour up to the very busy Tudor Rd. or down to Dowling Rd. to get across Old Seward Hwy., where major construction is being done.

We talked with construction workers who advised us to go a couple blocks north to Tudor because Dowling is also under construction and we couldn’t go that way.

It took a lot of turns but we finally got to Tudor  Rd., across a long bridge, and back on the bike path on the other side of Old Seward Hwy.:

It was easier coming back, when we mostly retraced our steps.

Once we got past Old Seward Hwy. we had clear sailing to the other end of the trail.

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE 

This path is similar to Chester Creek in that it follows and crosses a creek multiple times for most of its length. It goes through pretty wooded areas and several parks and by some residential homes.

 

 

Campbell Creek bike path has lots of interpretive signs, most of which we didn’t stop to read.

We did go out on two wooden overlooks on our way back. Both had signs about the meandering stream, wildlife, and the five types of salmon that spawn upstream.

I’ve read warnings about bears along this path when the salmon are returning to spawn. We didn’t see any fish or bears. A local said they’re between salmon runs right now but bears are common along the creek when the fish are running.

We passed two pretty lakes out and back. We stopped at the larger one, Taku Lake, for a snack and to watch dogs retrieving sticks in the water:

 

 

That is a city park called Taku-Campell. I’d like to drive there if we have another sunny day and walk with Cody around the lake. Jim could ride his bike out and back from there and get in a lot of miles without having to deal with the road construction farther east. 

We also rode around Waldron Lake on the way back:

This was the smaller lake we passed today.

We could see tents (highlighted in photo above) and dogs from the bike path so we rode over to see what was going on – a dog agility competition:

We watched briefly, then continued on our way.

We had more fun on the return to our truck. Not only were we familiar with the turns and detours, we stopped to look at a few other interesting things on the way back and Jim found some dirt mounds to ride over:

We saw this long bed of flowers between a restaurant and another building on our detour beside the Old Seward Hwy. road construction:

 

 

That's just a few of them.

On the way back I took more photos of interesting structures along the greenway -- handsome bridges, fences, sculptures, etc. Here's the bridge I liked the best:

It reminds me of one of the blue vehicle bridges over a river in the Yukon.

I especially liked this spot with a salmon theme (on fence, shape of chairs, etc.):

 

 

We rode our bikes a total of 18-19 miles. Our GPS units never coincide; mine always reads lower than Jim’s.

Our route was relatively flat, with a net loss of less than 200 feet westbound (downstream) and a slight incline on the return.

When we got back to the truck at the Far North Bicentennial Park we went over to a food tent to get some lunch. A large group of Native Alaskans was gathered for adult coed softball games and they were selling food.

We shared a plate of several different meats, noodles, and rice. It wasn’t really our kind of food – too fatty, and mostly protein – but I guess it was an “Alaskan experience.”

 

We really enjoyed our ride on the Campbell Creek Greenway today. Anchorage visitors and residents are fortunate to have such a great paved and dirt trail system to access in and near the city, both in the summer and the winter.

There are numerous neighborhood access points to the network of bike paths. That’s great but also confusing sometimes when it isn’t clear which way to go to stay on the path you want.

Despite this occasional challenge we’re still very impressed with all the greenways in the metro area.

Next entryhiking the Wolverine Peak Trail 

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the ultra Lab

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© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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