Kincaid Park is a 1500 acre forest park at the apex of the Anchorage Peninsula, where the Turnagain Arm and the Knik Arm of the Cook Inslet meet. The park is situated on a decommissioned military site, along a zone of coastal bluffs, slumps, and glacial topography. It has hosted groomed, lighted, and well-used cross-country ski trails for years, one of Anchorage’s breeding grounds for competitive skiers, including one of the winningest American XC skiers of all time, Kikkan Randall. In recent years, dedicated bicycle singletrack has been built, including named and mapped trails. This past year, several new phases of trail construction have given us many more miles of singletrack to explore. Elsewhere in the park, there are facilities for sledding, a biathlon shooting, a motocross course, soccer fields, a multi-purpose stadium, a disc golf course and trails of all kinds for skiing, running, snowshoeing, and both summer and winter cycling.
While the city is laced with wide, groomed multi-use trails in winter, the only other dedicated winter singletrack system is found in, and adjacent to, the Campbell Tract, a BLM property on the hillside. Some new winter trails are beginning to arise near APU.
Several days ago, Lael and I set out to explore some of the new Kincaid trails. Riding the Surly ECR, I quickly found the limitations of 29×3.0″ tires on softer snow. Riding was fast and assured on the heavily trafficked Coastal Trail, but the ECR slithered along the softer singletrack. I still managed to ride a few miles, while Lael gracefully rode ahead on her new Salsa Mukluk 3. A real fatbike is a necessity.
Riding out the Coastal Trail. From our current location, we are about 6.5 miles to this network of singletrack trails, all along the famed 9-mile Coastal Trail. On clear days, Mount Susitna– “the Sleeping Lady”– graces the horizon.
The sun makes a slow dance across the horizon, in a period of about five and a half hours. The main trails in town are well travelled by skiers, runners, and bikers, mostly on fatbikes. A classic ski track is also imprinted on the right side of the trail.
Middle Earth is the backbone of the new system of trails at Kincaid. These trails were designed and built by the STA, or the Singletrack Advocates of Anchorage.
Moose are common on every outing.
Topography and fatbiking don’t always mix well, for lack of traction, but these trails gently asked the hillsides.
To greater views of Cook Inslet and Mt. Susitna.
Winter riding is as good, or better than summer singletrack riding in Anchorage. All which is boggy, and buggy and swarming with bears in the summer, is silently put to sleep by a blanket of snow. the urban-based riding in Anchorage is some of the best anywhere.
After a quick tour of the trails, we return home along the Coastal Trail as dusk.
More rides and trails soon. There is much more to explore in town, with some excellent backcountry opportunities nearby.