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Hiking the Pesuta Shipwreck Trail in Naikoon Provincial Park, British Columbia
Photo Credit: Northern BC Tourism/Shayd Johnson
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Biking and Hiking on the Alaska Highway

North to Alaska - Biking and Hiking on the Alaska Highway

Surrounded by the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Alaska Highway, road trippers will want any opportunity to stretch their legs. With so many national and provincial parks to choose from, getting some fresh air is as easy as finding a parking spot and putting on hiking shoes. Cyclists have plenty of opportunities to roll on two wheels—bring road bikes, mountain bikes, or e-bikes on a rack or RV, or even folding bikes in the trunk of your car.

The Trans Canada Trail is the longest trail network in the world, visiting all 13 provinces and territories and touching three different oceans, with 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of interconnecting trails. Whether you're interested in a quick walk with the dog or a strenuous multi-day hike—any excuse to get outdoors!

Here are some breathtaking bike rides and hikes for all fitness levels on the journey north to Alaska.

British Columbia

The vast, easily accessible province has an unlimited number of epic jaunts for hikers and cyclists. On Vancouver Island, the Galloping Goose Trail is an idyllic, perfectly groomed and mostly flat path through gentle woods along the southern coast. The Goose runs from the Johnson Street Bridge in downtown Victoria 34 miles/55 kilometers southwest to Sooke Harbor. The town is known for spectacular sunsets and epic views of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the distance.

Those continuing up the Alaska Marine Highway will want to check out the aptly named Sunshine Coast. Road bikers will enjoy pedaling to Lund, BC, the northern terminus of the 1,400 mile Highway 101 that begins in Los Angeles. The adventurous can continue six miles along Sarah Point Road to Bliss Landing. From Lund, hike out to Wednesday Lake; the three hour round trip hike is mostly easy and offers beautiful views and a rewarding swim. The Sunshine Coast is also a haven for mountain bikers, with over 430 miles/700 kilometers of exciting singletrack, bike parks, and meandering forested trails to explore.

For rail to trail enthusiasts, the Kettle Valley Rail Trail is one of the most picture-perfect multi-use paths in Western Canada. At times perched high atop trestle bridges, the 250 miles of decommissioned railway run from Hope to Castlegar. The most spectacular sections skirt the edges of Okanagan Lake giving hair-raising canyon views from 18 ravine-spanning trestles of the glacial lake below—and easy access to world-class wine and farm-to-table dining.

Hardcore mountain bikers won’t want to miss the mind-blowing adventures to be found in Rossland and the West Kootenays. The standout is the Seven Summits, named an “Epic Trail” by the International Mountain Bike Association. The trail links seven alpine ridges over 30 km (19 miles) and includes some hair-raising climbs and descents. It is, after all, truly epic!

Explore more of the top mountain biking destinations in BC and learn all about BC hiking.

North to Alaska Biking BC
Mountain biking in the Kootenay Rockies in BC. Photo Credit: Destination BC/Ryan Creary

Alberta

Get ready for some of the most scenic hikes and rides in the world—Alberta is accessible, awe-inspiring, and loaded with adrenaline. One of the most iconic (and most popular) hikes is the Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park. Hike a portion of this 27 mile/44 kilometer through-hike for a day trip or embark on a scenic overnight backpacking trip to hike the whole route. Or, explore the mountain-ringed lakes of Waterton Lakes National Park, the unique geologic features and fossils at Dinosaur Provincial Park, and don't miss the hikes around the turquoise-hued Lake Louise in Banff National Park

After an impressive, exciting alpine hike, reward yourself with a cup of tea and tasty treats at the top. The “tea house” hikes of Lake Louise are legendary. The climb to the Lake Agnes Tea House is the easier of the two; from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel it’s about 4.5 miles roundtrip with 1,300 feet of elevation gain. The less traveled Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse hike involves a seven-mile roundtrip with 1,500 feet of climbing. Each excursion offers unrivalled views of the nearby scenery and the chance to check out two of the most coveted hikes in North America.

For road bikers, the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper is a monumental ride past mountains and glaciers. The 140-mile ride can be broken up easily into manageable 30 to 50 mile rides, with plenty of hot showers, warm meals, and cool sheets in between. For an easier day ride, the 17-mile Banff Legacy Trail connects the alpine towns of Banff and Canmore. The trail is comfortably separated from the highway and takes two to four hours round-trip, depending on how much time you spend wildlife spotting and glacier gawking.

City cyclists will enjoy Calgary and Edmonton—both have developed a useful network of bike lanes handy for commuting from brunch to lunch to beers at sundown. Mountain bikers will want to hit up Hinton Bike Park in Hinton—Alberta's mountain bike hotspot. The 37-acre park offers exciting trails for all levels.

People hiking through an alpine valley at Sentinel Pass in Banff National Park, Alberta
People hiking Sentinel Pass in Banff National Park. Photo Credit: Paul Zizka/Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Yukon

Majestic Kluane National Park provides a dramatic, powerful backdrop of massive valleys and glacier-carved peaks including Canada’s highest -  Mount Logan. Rugged but not remote, this wilderness paradise lies just an hour’s drive from Whitehorse and offers quite possibly the best day hikes in Canada. Go with a guide or go on your own - calving glaciers, endless hills, and diverse wildlife will all cross your path.

For mountain bikers, Whitehorse alone has over 500 miles of trails. The old mining roads and Kluane National Park are also ideal; highlights include the Alsek Trail, Mush Lake Road, and the Cottonwood Trail.

The Yukon is celebrated worldwide for its extraordinary fat biking. The fat tires make it possible to ride winter or summer. Yukon fat tire aficionados have converted the former 49ers’ paths into single track trails—you’ll even spot vintage mining equipment along the way. For any fitness level, the granite slabs of Grey Mountain’s trail network are outstanding. For a day trip, tackle the Yukon River Trail for magnificent panoramic vistas.

The Klondike Highway offers challenging but accessible road biking to brag about for years. Highway 2 connects Whitehorse to Carcross over a doable and relatively flat 44 miles. Carcross also has reachable high-country hiking and biking, especially Montana Mountain. The bold can continue 60 miles south of Carcross, traversing the 2,864-foot peak at White Pass, and then descending for a hearty, well-deserved meal in Skagway, Alaska. It’s a moderately steep climb that looks harder than it is. Just don’t forget your passport.

Mountain biking on Montana Mountain in the Carcross Area, Yukon
Mountain biking the Sam McGee Trail, Montana Mountain. Photo Credit: Yukon Government/D Crowe

Alaska

Taking the Alaska Marine Highway to Alaska can be a great way to hike and bike your way to an Alaska adventure. Cyclists can either bring bikes onboard the ferry or rent them from local outfitters across the state. Ketchikan has miles of beautiful roads just outside of town with very little traffic, and spectacular wildlife and waterfalls. Skagway also has a steep but beautiful ride up to White Pass.

With over 322 million acres of public lands, Alaska's national parks and public lands offer endless opportunities for hiking and biking. From guided family-friendly hikes at Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park to sweeping alpine views in Denali National Park to glacier trekking in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, you'll find something for everyone in Alaska's parks and public lands.

Late summer sun and access to miles of trails make Fairbanks and Anchorage awesome basecamps for hiking and riding. There’s no excuse not to go get out and enjoy the midnight sun! Local outfitters rent road bikes, mountain bikes, fat tire bikes, and even e-bikes, and are happy to provide recommendations on the best places to ride. You'll also find guided bike tours if you'd rather let someone else lead the way. 

In Fairbanks, follow the 16-mile bike path along Farmers Loop. It climbs gently into the hills above town offering wonderful views of the city and the snow-capped peaks of the Alaska Range 100 miles away. An excellent bike path runs along much of the Chena River, providing more outdoor fun and access to fantastic hikes. Follow the paths along Chena Pump Road to the Tanana Wayside boat launch for an easy 9-mile out and back, or venture further to the towns of Ester or Fox, for 20-25 miles roundtrip. If you prefer hiking, Chena River State Recreation Area offers a variety of scenic hiking trails of various distances, or you can wander the raised walkways of Creamers Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge in town for an easy stroll with birding opportunities.

Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, is surrounded by Chugach State Park - a playground for hiking and outdoor adventures. The park's 16 trailheads lead to over 280 miles of trails set against the stunning backdrop of the Chugach Mountains and the Turnagain Arm. Mountain and road bikers will find plenty of options for exploring the Anchorage area on two wheels, with popular areas including the paved multi-use Tony Knowles Coastal Trail that stretches 11 miles along the Cook Inlet coastline, and Kincaid Park, with 40 miles of hiking trails and 20 miles of singletrack trails woven through 1,400 forested acres. 

No matter where your Alaska road trip takes you, you'll find plenty of hiking and biking opportunities along the way. Check out the top hikes in each region and learn more about the top destinations for biking in Alaska year-round.

Hiking in Denali National Park
Hiking in Denali National Park.

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