Trails: Richardson Highway

Trail use in Alaska Trail Activities in Alaska

The Richardson Highway runs north to south connecting the communities of Valdez
and Fairbanks, Alaska. Most of the BLM managed trails along this route are found
north of Glennallen. Be advised that many of these trails are 17 (b) easements
providing access to public lands or waterways, across private land. 17 (b) easements
are for access only. Camping or parking on 17 (b) easements is not allowed.

 


Kimball Pass Trail System: This trail system can be accessed at mile 61.8 of the Richardson Highway. Three trails begin here providing access to the Chugach Mountains. The most popular route (Kimball Pass) is reached by taking the left fork of the trail, or heading in a northerly direction. Portions of these trails contain historic telegraph remnants, please do not disturb. These trails are primarily maintained by a local resident and are for foot traffic only.


Brenwick Craig Road (Klutina Road): Located at mile 101.5 of the Richardson Highway, this road provides access to the Klutina River and Klutina Lake. This road is a 17 (b) easement through native owned lands. Allowable uses for this 60 foot easement are travel by motor vehicle, OHV, or foot. This road proceeds 23 miles and terminates at Klutina Lake.  It is recommended for high clearance or 4 wheel drive vehicles only. Camping or parking on or within this easement is prohibited. This is an easement through private lands and anyone wishing to park, camp or exit from the 60 foot easement must receive a permit from Ahtna, Inc. in Glennallen.
There is a one acre site easment at the end of this road that allows you to park your vehicle and change your mode of transportation.  Camping to change your mode of transportation is limited to 24 hours. 


  • 17 (b) Easement
  • 23 Miles Motorized
  • Moderately difficult

Poplar Grove This 17 (b) easement is located at mile 137 on the west side of the Richardson Highway. This easement supplies foot access through private lands to the Gulkana River. There is a one acre site easement at the end of the trail at the river, which allows camping for up to 24 hours. The beginning of this easement is very steep and slippery during wet conditions. The parking area near the trailhead is on private land and users wishing to park here must pay a fee to Ahtna, Inc. There is a pay box located at the parking area.

  • 17(b) Easement
  • Moderately Difficult
  • Foot
  • High use during salmon season

 


Mile 141: This 17 (b) easement can be found at mile 141 on the west side of the Richardson Highway. This easement across private lands provides foot access to the Gulkana River. The beginning of this easement is steep and can be slippery during wet conditions. Please respect private lands.

  • 17 (b) Easement
  • Moderately difficult
  • Foot
  • High use during salmon season

June Lake: This short foot trail provides access to June and Nita Lakes. It is located at mile 166.5 on the west side of the highway. There is no developed parking area here, however, there is a side road across from the trailhead.

  • Least difficult
  • Foot

Gillespie Lake: This short foot trail is located at mile 168.7 on the west side of the Richardson Highway. It provides foot access to Gillespie Lake. There is a large parking area here. There are no restrictions on the parking area.

  • Least difficult
  • Foot

Middle Fork Trail: Located at mile 169.5 on the west side of the Richardson Highway, this is one of the most highly used trails in the district. The trail begins in a state highway gravel pit and continues westward approximately 8 miles towards the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River. Not only does this trail provide access to the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River, it also provides outstanding views of Paxson Lake and the surrounding hills. Primary use is motorized, however more people are beginning to hike along the trail as its condition has improved. Please respect all users of the trail. Motorized travel within the Gulkana National Wild River corridor is limited to designated trails.  Designated trails are marked on the ground with green dot carsonite markers.  Undesignated trails are marked with red dot carsonite markers and are not open for motorized travel.  This trail is within the State of Alaska Sourdough Controlled Use Area so motorized hunting restrictions apply.


  • Access to GWR
  • Stay on trail
  • Moderately difficult
  • Motorized

Paxson Lake Foot Trail: This trail is located within Paxson Lake campground at mile 175 of the Richardson Highway.  The trail can be found within the first loop of the campground and provides access to the shores of Paxson Lake.  This trail is for non-motorized travel only.


Castner Glacier Access: This unimproved road is located at mile 217.3 on the north side of Castner Creek.  The road ends after 1/2 mile, turning into an unimproved foot path heading up the side of Castner Creek.  A 1/2 mile hike leads you to the Castner Glacier.  This trail is not maintained and not marked.  Travel upon the glacier is not recommended.


Coal Mine Road: This unimproved road starts at mile 254 on the east side of the Richardson Highway. This network of trails and roads provides access to stocked lakes and amazing views of the Alaska Range and Delta River. Unimproved campsites exist that are not maintained. Please take your garbage home with you.

  • Access to AF&G stocked lakes
  • Motorized