10 Best Motorcycle Roads in Alaska
- Prudhoe Bay
- Denali Highway
- Manley Hot Springs
- Mc Carthy
- Petersville Road
- Top of the World Highway
- Crown Point
- Nabesna Road
Alaska usually seems to be at the top of Adventure Riders’ bucket lists, and it’s simple to see why. The enormous undisturbed natural splendour and pristine vistas of America’s “Last Frontier” are unrivalled in North America. An adventure motorcycle is the ideal way to truly see everything Alaska has to offer, with countless miles of tough terrain to explore. Here are ten must-see places for any Adventure Rider planning a motorbike trip in Alaska.
1. Prudhoe Bay
This is the northernmost point on the continent where you may ride a motorcycle. Out of Fairbanks, the road is 414 kilometres long, with cracked chip seal and a calcium chloride-infused dirt surface. It’s also the gold mine for sloppy grater and water truck road work, as well as wind-whipped semis on their way to the bay. This is one stop on your Alaska motorbike tour you won’t want to miss! It provides superb isolated scenery that does not bore; the view is as as good on the way up as it is on the way down. But don’t try to complete the journey in one sitting; many riders have attempted it and failed due to road conditions or fatigue.
2. Denali Highway
This is the original Denali National Park entry, and it’s 120 miles of gravel bliss. The scenery is breathtaking, the isolation is palpable (you are now a part of the food chain), and the opportunities to stop and explore along the way are unrivalled. The Alaska Range runs parallel to the ride, providing scene after scene of classic “Alaska.” Off the main road, there are mining lanes that zigzag this way and that, providing hard-core adventure. Do not go alone into this world; bring a partner, and the willingness to adventure! Stay at Gracious House (mile 82) and plan on touring for a day or two from there. If you enjoy fishing, bring a fly rod with you. Bring your camera since you will see some furry buddies.
3. Manley Hot Springs
This village began as a rest station for gold prospectors around the turn of the century. It’s a true sanctuary in the middle of pristine forest. The Town Road House provides a safe haven, camping, food, and a bar. A soak in the hot springs is well worth the money and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The road to Tofty and the road to Ruby (Wyatt Earp’s legendary Gold Rush residence) are also worth exploring. As you ride through gold mining area, keep an eye out for “No Trespassing” signs. Get on your pegs, pack light, and get ready for some amazing jeep trails! As things change out on these remote, off-the-beaten-path roads, it never hurts to talk to the locals.
This is the unsung hero of Alaska adventure riding. It’s distant and rugged, and Alaskan flags have taken the place of American flags. The folks are tough and kind, and they’ll gladly assist you in finding some great jeep two-track off the main road. Plan on spending a number of days riding if you go out there. The historic gold mine paths in the area allow you to visit locations that no one else visits. Check out Circle City on the Yukon while you’re out there. Get out early in the morning and prepare to see some wildlife.
5. Mc Carthy
This is a must-see place. The Copper mine at Kennicott, just up the hill, is serviced by this historic miner’s recreation town. The road out there is a 60-mile dirt blast, with the ancient railroad that served the mine until the late 1930s as its foundation. Make a point of stopping at the Kuskulana Bridge to see the catwalks beneath it. This is a journey back in time, and the best part is that the only way to get across to the town and mine is on a motorcycle! You may cross at the pedestrian bridge if no one else is using it. The town has been frozen in time, and the mine is incredible. Spend some time there and consider taking a tour of the Kennicott mine building. Also, take a stroll down the historic waggon road that connects the mine with the town, passing via the old cemetery. This is true ADV material.
This historic gold mining town has seen better days, but if you enjoy taking a trip back in time, watching bald eagles soar over the river, and riding dirt roads through the mountains, this is the place for you. Make a point of stopping by the Seaview Cafe for seafood soup or Tito’s Cafe for pie. Palmer Creek Road is a fantastic trip that leads to historic gold mining ruins. This is a fantastic day trip from Anchorage, but it’s also suitable for an overnight stay.
7. Petersville Road
This is a route that leads out of Trapper Creek and provides views of Mt. McKinley from the south. It ascends above the tree line before turning west along Cache Creek. On-the-pegs riding, brook crossings, and general ADV fun are all available. You could easily spend a number of days investigating the paths back there.
8. Top of the World Highway
Ride from Tok to Dawson on beautiful dirt and asphalt roads with panoramic vistas and historical significance. Allow a couple of hours for the journey to Eagle on the Yukon River. Dawson is a delight and well worth a couple of days. Take the 60-mile Solomon Mine circuit out of town to see the initial gold hits on a gravel track designed specifically for ADV riders. Make a point of stopping by the Downtown Hotel for a “Sourdough Cocktail” (a cocktail containing a human toe!) — you are now an honorary Sourdough
9. Crown Point
This is not a lengthy ride, but it is epic in magnitude. Ride south through Moose Pass on the Kenai Peninsula, crossing the Trail River Bridge and turning left once out of town. Take the first left after a couple of kilometres. It’s simply an ATV trail, so pack light and prepare to climb thousands of feet to an abandoned gold mine with views of Kenai Lake and the Harding Ice Field. Simply fantastic.
10. Nabesna Road
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is a 40-mile drive away. The park itself is spectacular, containing 9 of the continent’s 16 tallest peaks and being the country’s largest preserve. The route starts out civil, then turns “rustic” as it encounters dirt surfaces and stream crossings. Take off your riding boots and put on some hiking shoes at the end of the road, past the airfield, and investigate the old gold mines up there. There are instances where the miners simply abandoned everything, and nature has taken over. This ride is noteworthy since the finish is far more gorgeous than the beginning.
Dr. Shoaib Nawaaz contributes to Best Motorcycle Riding as a writer. He has written in-depth tutorials about a variety of motorcycle topics for more than ten years. My motorcycle addiction began with 50cc at 10 years old. As a youth and into my 20s, while I was a mechanic, I participated in motocross racing. I finally saw the light, and sportbikes and cruisers became my hobbies. In order to make BestMotorcycleRiding the best source for everything 2-wheeled, I’m now constructing it. Reads full bio