Friday, September 06, 2013

Campbell Creek Bike Trail Under Seward Highway Almost Ready

The target date for completing the bike trail under the Seward Highway is Fall 2013.  The trail is there, but the path hasn't been paved nor has the path otherwise been finished off.  But they have completely new bridges in and we walked by there the other evening.
[UPDATE October 19, 2013 - It semi-officially opened today and is open for riding.]

From the west side you can walk the trail, under the highway bridge.

Here's what this looked like in 2007.]

When the State does a project, they tend to obliterate the landscape and then build it back up from scratch.  I'm sure they have good reasons for it.  In this case the bridge has been expanded greatly.  Before there was just a little edge along the path under a bridge you had to duck to get under in spots.  Now the space next to the creek is bigger, it seems, than the creek.  

Here's what this spot looked like in May 2012:

And here's going under the bridge the other day:

And near the same spot in 2008.  This was the whole trail then right against the water.  And when the creek was really high, the whole trail was gone.  The heavy equipment is between me and the water above - also the orange fencing is along the water.  And the bridges were shorter and lower.

There are four bridges - (from the east) first the frontage road, then the northbound highway, southbound highway, and the western frontage road.  Here's a little past the first bridge (maybe even the second one.)

And here's what that used to look like:

Once you get out from under the highway, instead of the one-bike winding path through the fireweed, there's more bike superhighway up to this bridge which is blocked for now.   At the right times, you can watch the spawning salmon from this bridge.  We're very close to The Wild Berry tourist trap at this point, just west of the Seward Highway (see map below). 

Getting to this bridge used to look like this:

Turning around at this point, it now looks like this:

One more picture of the bridges - now looking east from the west side. 

And here's a map for the area.  I started on the east and went to the west, then turned around and went back where the wooden bridge was blocked off.

When this is done, you'll be able to ride from downtown out to Westchester Lagoon up the Chester Creek trail to Goose Lake and the the University crossing either over or under all streets via tunnels and bridges.  At the university you have to cross a parking lot and a few streets to get to the bridge at Tudor and Bragaw (now Elmore), and then on the Campbell Creek bike trail.  There's a bit of a break in the trail at Lake Otis, but then you get back on a wooded trail that will go under the Seward Highway and then on to just past Victor near Dimond coming out at Dimond High School.  Then there zigging and zagging through neighborhoods to connect to the trail in Kincaid park, and from there you can get back downtown.

The Trails of Anchorage site  says it's 13 miles from Kincaid Chalet to Goose Lake, and I'm guessing it's not much less for the rest of the loop I described.

Here's a link to the Arctic Bicycle Club.


  1. great before and after photos-- I will miss the old route a little, kept that part pretty mellow. One thing about your route above-- you say you have to cross some parking lots and streets through UAA to get to the curved bridge over Tudor, but that is no longer true-- now you can go over N. lights, go up the new trail along the south side of N. Lights past East High, then down that paved power line trail that now connect to University Lake dog park paved trails and then to that Tudor road bridge, which now connects to crossing under MLK, past Albrecht fields, and then under Elmore... the BIG missinhg link is now the lack of a safe crossing at Lake Otis. Then the lack of a true separated trail connection between the end of Campbell Creek trail at Arlene and the trail alongside Raspbery leading evetually to Kiincaid and the coastal trail.

  2. Anon, thanks for the kind words. When I saw the bike path superhighway concept they were putting in, I began to think maybe it was better the old way too. And you're right about how that new path along the east edge of APU land would allow for connection directly to the Tudor bridge. That would be the long way and since I know how to make the connections, I didn't think of that That also cuts out the nice part around Goose Lake and is somewhat further. That must be why DOT wants to force Bragaw/Elmore through the campus - to shorten that bike route connection to Tudor. :)

  3. Thanks for the nostalgic pics. I loved that underpass. No more though. Just another casualty in their race to make los anchorage fully resemble the city of its namesake.

    Abominations like that are the reason I stick to the roads now.

    1. Fox, I do miss the old way, but that was ok if you only used it a couple of times a summer. But for people who regularly use this route to get somewhere, having everything connected is kind of nice. But they did a bit of overkill. The DOT folks build roads and if they have to build bike trails, it seems they're going to make them looks as much like roads as they can. It would be nice if they were trails just big enough for two bikes to pass without all the fancy amenities. And if they did that, the per mile cost of building a bike trail would be lower, and theoretically, we could have more bike trail. But they'd probably use the saved money for something else. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.


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