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Johnson Pass

Average Rating:    (4.44 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 9

This is an amazing trip through the mountains on the eastern side of the Kenai Peninsula. The trail is easy to follow along the many hills and creeks it rolls through. The middle section of the trail near the pass is fairly overgrown and in a few parts near the pass/summit lakes it is submerged in a foot or so of water, but generally quite a good trail by Alaska standards. This is a very steep trail in parts, but the scenery is incredible and there is much wildlife to be spied. The trail is easy to follow and I do not recall any side trails leading off the main route. This trip is a great traverse, but if you are solo, it is still very worthwhile to travel to the pass, camp, and return to your chosen departure point next a.m. This is my personal favorite trail for biking. Bring a fly rod for the trout in the southern summit lake. The colors are spectacular in late Fall.
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Latitude
60.81947719033419
Longitude
-149.13047790527344
Trail Directions
Head south from Anchorage towards Seward. As you leave Turnagain pass look for the Granite Creek trailhead, it is off to the east (left when heading south. This route is detailed in 55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska (Mountaineers). Get the book for a detailed description. Be aware that this is a traverse, so you have to shuttle a cvar down to Moose Pass, AK about 25 miles away or do half and come back.
Trail Length
20 ++ miles
Trail Level
Advanced
Trail Type
Singletrack
City/County
Hope
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
July 8, 2009

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: JDH ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
This is an Intermediate trial as far as technical difficulty but as for endurance, this is the longest 24 mile ride in Alaska. From the north the trail starts off pretty technical with lots of roots, rock and washout areas then transitions into an alpine meadow within the first couple miles and the trail narrows down to a foot a crossed. About 8 miles in there are a couple cliff hanger sections. Then you hit the lake at the top of Johnson Pass, this section is very over grown and the plants will lodge little spines into your shins so wear something to cover your legs. Mid way along the lake there is a short section that can have up to a foot of water, be careful some parts can be really deep. A couple miles after the lake you’ll start the long bomber downhill which seems to last about 5 miles. At this point the trail starts to roller coaster, steep up hills with short just as steep down hills. About 20 miles into it you’ll come to the back side of Upper Trail Lake; this section is the only part with cell phone coverage. This part of the ride has a lot of rocky spots and you shadow the lake till shortly before you pop out to the south trail head. This is some of the best back country riding out there. This is defiantly a 2 or more person ride (if you screw up and burn in hard) there might not be another person along the southern part of the trail for days. Bug dope is a must and PLEASE remember this is BEAR COUNTRY, so bells might be a good idea. A great place to gather after the north to south ride is the Trail Lake Lodge Restaurant for a few beers and some great food.

Recommended Route:
The north trail head is located right after the Turnagain pass rest area, mile marker 64 and comes out close to mile marker 33 by the small town of Moose Pass.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Carter Lake Trail,
Devil's Pass Trail,
Lost Lake Trail,
Primrose Trail,
Ptarmigan Creek Trail,
Resurrection Pass North Trail,
Resurrection Pass South Trail,
Russian Lakes Trail.



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Review Date
August 27, 2003

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Dawn ,  Racer , from Waco, Texas

Summary:
Johnson Pass Trail is supposed to be 23 miles long one way, but we were only able to make it in 6.5 miles due to the heavy growth on the trail. (We were there the 2nd week in August.) There were hired trail stewards cutting the brush back the day we were there and they had only gotten in about 6 miles. Due to the great job they were doing, the first 6 miles of trail were incredibly enjoyable. After this we tried to continue through the brush and decided that we weren’t having much fun. We couldn’t see the trail through all the Salmonberry bushes and other heavy brush. When we met two different riders coming back from further down the trail who said it didn’t get any better up ahead, we decided to turn around. I'm giving this trail a rating based on the first 6 miles.



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Review Date
June 14, 2003

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Ken , from Anchorage

Summary:
Date of our trip 6-7-03 We started at the north trailhead of the trail. In the first 8 miles the trail increases in elevation about 600 ft. but the increase is not a steady rise but rather a gain of 40 ft. followed by a loss of 25 ft, then a gain of 30 ft. followed by a loss of 10 ft. (you get the picture) not a constant elevation increase. The first part of the trail, again the first 8 miles or so, is quite rocky, has numerous stream crossings (with and without bridges) and during the first part of June 2003 had many areas with puddles on the trail, interspersed with projecting rocks and tree roots. The puddles deposited thick mud on our knobby tires and rims and collected on our brake pads, so much so that it significantly increased the bikes weight. The trail is a single track that doesnt leave any room to go around rocks, puddles or roots as it is usually on a side hill with an extreme uphill slope on one side and an extreme downhill slope on the other. At mile 8 I thought to myself that if the next 15 miles are like the last 8 Id like to turn around and ride out, but of coarse we didnt do that. Once we reached Johnsons Pass and Johnson Lake, we washed the mud off our bikes. At the pass there were a couple patches of snow that remained from run-outs from avalanches from the past winter, these were not a problem, we just walked our bikes over them and got back on the trail on the other side. The south end of the trial, after the pass, increases in width and is much drier. There are still creek crossings (again with and without bridges) and some climbing. The patches of rocks and roots on the trail were greatly diminished. The main obstacle on this part of the trail is the windfall, beetle killed spruce trees that blew down in last falls storms. I would estimate that there are between 40 and 50 trees across the trail in a 3-mile stretch from (about) mile 14 to 17 (starting on the north end). Sometimes these trees lay longitudinally along the trail with other trees lying cross the longitudinal tree. This forces you to walk on top of the longitudinal tree while carrying your bike and climbing over the other tree. This got pretty gnarly as the dead trees were very brittle and all of us got numerous scratches on our legs and arms. Take plenty of water or take water-purifying equipment with you. There are plenty of streams, so supply is not a problem. Also, take lots of high-energy food, as you will expend lots of energy. Our trip time was exactly 7 hours, starting at 11:00 AM and ending a 6:00 PM. We stopped only to have a drink of water, maybe to eat a Clif bar and
to wash our bike at Johnsons Lake. Even thought it is a tough trip, the experience and views made it more than worthwhile. The wildflowers were just beginning to bloom and at the higher elevations near the pass it was very much still spring. We saw no bears or moose, only the sign of moose and one sign of bear. I give this ride 4 stars only because of the windfall trees on the south end.

Recommended Route:
Start at north end, it makes the south end a blast.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Reserection Pass



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Review Date
June 15, 2002

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Mike , from Telluride, co

Summary:
A great singletrack throught the wilderness of Alasaka. I rode the trail in mid september. It had rained very hard for at least a week before we rode it(it is alaska). The first half of the trail(we started at the north trail head) was very nice but the second part was a mud bog. Luckily the trail is not very steep so we were able to stay on our bikes for the most part. We did not see one other person the whole time. I wish I could do it again when its dry. It certainly one of the great rides around. How many 21 mile singletracks through the mountains have no major climbs. This is the only one I know of.

Recommended Route:
Car shuttle



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Review Date
July 19, 2000

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Brent , from Anchorage

Summary:
I would like to start off by saying thank you to Clyde Pearce for his comments. I rode this trail on the day that he was there and I have to agree with him. It was wonderful to see hikers and bikers share the great outdoors. As far as the trail goes, very fun and some technical spots. There is only a few steep climbs and one is really rocky. Try to ride the trail early in the summer. After about mid July it is too over grown by cow parsnip. If you don't know what that is...You really don't want to find out.

Recommended Route:
Take two vehicles and park one at the South trail head. Drive back to the North trail head and ride the whole trail.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Ressurection Pass and if you can get to Anchorage, ride powerline pass.



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Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5