Winter Hiking Around Anchorage

Winter in Anchorage has been absolutely magical!  When the weather cooperates, there are no shortage of activities.  This and last winter has been unusually warm and keeping active during thawing/re-freezing temperatures can be challenging.  Mud, ice, and slushy snow has limited my fat biking and skiing.  Instead of staying indoors, I’ve opted for winter hiking.  Here are few areas in and around Anchorage which are great winter hikes:

Rabbit Lake

Ships Pass

Trails in Eagle River Nature Center


Nancy Lakes

Eagle and Symphony Lakes

Near Point

Bear Mountain

Bird Creek

Williwaw Lakes


South Fork

Winner Creek

I will add to this list as I learn about more winter hiking locations.

When hiking in the Winter, please take safety into consideration.  There is a great article from Alaska Magazine:

Hidden Lake Trail, Anchorage, Alaska (Hiking)

Powerline to Hidden Lake Trail is 2.4 miles with 1450 ft gain in elevation. It is a moderate out and back hike that is within the Anchorage city limits that features a hidden lake.  The trailhead is at the Glen Alps parking lot and requires a state park pass or $5 day pass.  It is a trail that can be accessed during winter. 

Rabbit Lake, Anchorage, Alaska (Hiking)

I’ve only hiked to Rabbit Lake a couple of times this and last winter. The hike from the DeArmoun road access is very easy with little elevation changes. In the winter, the road to the trail is extremely icy especially towards the end. I’ve parked before the gate every time because of the lack of traction to go any further in my vehicle. Easy to bike, ski, run or walk along this trail with a wide sides, making it safe from avalanches in the winter. The trail to Rabbit Lake is a mere 4.4 miles. You will need to hike back on the same trail, making it an out and back trip with a total of 8.8 miles. The pristine 3,085-square-foot Rabbit Lake is stunningly beautiful, flanked by Suicide Peaks.


Liberty Trail Ride, Normandy, France (Road Riding)

In observance of the D-Day, over 250 cyclists rode the Normandy Liberty Trail 1-3 June 2012.  The ride is a challenging 400km recreational road cycling trip through some of the most beautiful countryside and militarily significant regions of France’s Cotentin Peninsula. The ride coincides with other D-Day memorial observances in the Normandy area and is […]

Finale Ligure, Italy (MTB)

Finale Ligure is awesome! Then again I say that about every place.  I get super excited about places and nature.  I love the Earth and this wonderful playground that God gave us.  Finale sits where the Maritime Alps meets the Mediterranean Sea.  The ocean, cliffs, and mountains.  What else can a girl ask for? Oh yeah, beautiful weather and sunshine! And women that can ride! I had my first female guide ever! She rocked! She’s downhiller which was way too gnarly for me but I admire that.  I had to admit that I brought the wrong bike to Finale.  Mountain bike trail ratings are not standard across Europe.  This has been a chronic problem for me.  When I was in Leemoors, Austria, the guide described the trails as freeride but there were tons of climbing!  I brought a Pivot Mach 4 with a 100mm fork to Finale.  That was my mistake.  Elica Ride was basically a shuttle service.  My group met up at the Finale train station at 9am.  We were chauffeured around in a Landrover Defender with bike trailer.  We didn’t ride a single uphill.  The guide claimed that she hated riding uphills.  We rode these gnarly downhills all day long. I would describe the trails as red downhill runs not freeride.  In my group was the guide, myself, and 2 other chics. It was refreshing riding with women who had the ovaries to ride technical trails!  Myself and another girl had all mountain bikes (about 4″ of travel), other girl had a freeride bike (7″), the guide had like a 9″ travel bike!  There were also dudes with us.  Most of them had 10″ or more.  It was like a big travel bike feast.  At the end of the day, I was pretty beat up from my lack of suspension.  A downhill bike is not necessary but I would bring a 6″-7″ travel bike.  Next trip, I’ll just carry like 4 bikes!  That way I’ll be able to tackle any terrain.  Overall the terrain in Finale is challenging.  All the trails are 100% natural, technical, rocky singletrack that wind down the mountainsides.  Finale is probably not suited for beginners.  There’s also plenty to do in Finale.  It’s an old beach town with narrow alleyways .  There’s the beach and the ocean.  There were plenty of people sailing or laying by the beach.  The area has a lot of cliffs for rock climbing.  I saw plenty of road cyclist and flyers for canyoning.

Bucket List

I started a bucket list.  As I accomplish each item on my list, I will write about it.  I’ve already accomplished several items on my bucket list and will have to catch up on those blogs.   Hopefully, I will do a better job of keeping up my blogging with my adventures.

1.  Underground mountain biking in Slovenia

2.  Dive the Blue Hole in Gozo, Malta

3.  Backpack in Gunung Tahan, Malaysia

4.  Women’s World Cup

5.  007 Goldeneye Bungee Jump in Ticino, Switzerland

6.  Rock Climb in Meteora, Greece

7.  Paddle at the Fjords of Norway

8.  MTB tour of Cooper Canyon

9.  Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania

10. Northern Lights, Glacier Hike, and Hike a Volcano in Iceland

11.  Qualify for and run the Boston Marathon

12.  Visit the Cliffs of Mohr (I think it is illegal to ride it)

13.  Attend the Olympics

14.  Learn Chinese

15. Lilith Fair (this might be impossible to accomplish since the 2011 return of Lilith Fair was an epic fail)

Being the devoted mountain biker that I am, I also created a MTB list.

Portes Du Soleil, France

Lake Garda, Italy

Finale Ligure, Italy

Italian Dolomites

Bubion, Spain

Lagos, Portugal

Glentress, Scotland

Betw Y Coed, Wales

Kathmandu, Nepal

Nelson South Island, New Zealand

Cooper Canyon, Mexico

Inca Trail, Peru

Bear Glacier, Alaska

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Downieville, California

Sun Valley, Idaho

Louisiana’s Magnificent Seven

Whitefish or Kalispell, Montana

Angel Fire, New Mexico

Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park, Ohio

Mackenzie River/ N. Umpqua/ Bend, Oregon

Gooseberry Mesa, Utah

Park City, Utah


Wiesbaden, Germany (MTB Marathon)

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Since moving to Germany, I have been out of the race scene and my mountain biking has slowed down to a nice leisure pace.  This leisure pace has taken me riding all over Europe and it’s been an incredible experience.  Even though mountain bike marathons are not my style, I couldn’t resist a MTB race in my own backyard!  I went conservative by signing up for the middle distance of 41km which is about 25mi.  It rained Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning right at race start.  The trails were a muddy mess.  In German style, the beginning of the trail was uphill.  With only a mile into the race as I was pedal mashing up a muddy climb, I was already contemplating just riding the 3km straight to my apartment.  One mile into the race and I was already covered head to toe in mud.   I had to take my glasses off but soon regretted that because mud was flying into my eyes.  I could already hear the grind of the mud against my bike transmission with every pedal stroke.  Riders were already scattering on either sides of the trails due to mechanical problems.  I made a mental note to keep shifting to a minimum.  At that moment, I just wanted to commit to finishing the race without any expensive repairs to my bike.  Descending became a practice in controlled sliding and avoiding other riders.  I became rather good at it.  Once the field became spread out, I fell into a nice rhythm that I figured I could maintain for the duration of the course.   It was also nice to see my friends Randall and Graeme at the top of the climbs waiting for me.  Right before we hit the half way mark, the trail turned into this sloppy slimy muddy hill that no one had traction on.  We had to walk and my strained hamstring (a 2 month old injury that only bothers me when running or walking) was not very happy about it.  That walk made my leg muscles tight and it was difficult to cycle the lactic acid out of them.  After a short little climb back on the saddle, there was a rest stop with electrolytes and bananas!  Just what my lactic acid heavy legs needed!  A nice lady even came over with a water bottle to spray off my mud clogged rear derailleur.   I love it when things fall into place like that.  At moments like this, I feel blessed which I know I am.  I said a small little prayer of thanks, inhale a few bananas, sucked down my sport drink, put the water bottle away as a souvenir, and put my glasses back on.  Now, I was ready to tackle the second half of the course.  We were rewarded with a mile long descent.  Towards the end of that descent, Graeme loses traction and skids out in front of me.  In an attempt to avoid him, I made the mistake of braking too hard and skid out too.  I managed to get out of that fall with just a banged up knee and a sore nipple from being scrapped on the ground.  The rest of the course were filled with rolling hills followed by a single track hill climb for our last mile.  Many of the trails I had ridden a million times before but just not in these conditions.  It amazes me how unique trails that I rode all the time became.  All I can say is that I survived and had heaps of fun.  I finished injury free and with zero mechanical problems.  It turned out to be a great bonding experience for my friends and I that rode that day.  Several of my other friends rode various distances.  At the end, we were all equally filthy.  We posed for pictures, drank beer, ate bratwurst and crepes.  When I got home, I had to undress in the yard,  wash my bike twice, remove about a pound of mud out of my cassette, and take a nap.  Sadly that was my first and last race in Germany.  I will be back in the U.S.A. in a mere two months.  My next race will be back in Texas in August.

Val Gardena, Italy (MTB)

Someone asked me the other day where I thought the best all mountain riding was in Europe was.  I responded with Lake Garda, Porte Du Soleil, and Val Gardena.  I went to all three places in July of last year.  The flagship trail in Val Gardena is the Selle Ronda (check out on the route details).  The trail can be ridden either clockwise or counterclockwise.  I stayed at the Hotel Linder ( which included in my half board (breakfast and dinner included) stay was a guided mountain bike tour everyday.   The Selle Ronda is epic!  Wonderful views, great lifts (there is is climbing), cheap, great company, and food.  Check out some deals on Hotel Linder’s website.  Looks like they are currently running a 7 night stay with half board and MTB tour for 600 euro.  That price cannot be beat.  I’m tempted to go right now.  Too bad I’ve already got my calendar all booked up until August.

Porte Du Soleil, France (MTB)

I never believed in riding a lift until I went to Porte Du Soleil.  Why waste 3 hours of your day climbing on boring jeep roads / fire road?  The vast range of lifts in this area take you to the vast amount of single track scattered throughout this France and Switzerland ridge line.  And the single track is sweet.  I hired a guide from out of Morzine and I specifically asked for an all mountain tour.  An all mountain was exactly what I got!  I’ve learned from my few short months living in Europe not to ask for a XC tour.  You’ll get a technically uneventful trail as wide as 4 push strollers!  If you’re a fairly component rider, ask for the all mountain or free ride tour (most free ride trails are fast descending twisty single tracks with a few bumps).  The words XC are synonymous for “lets climb for 4 hours on a boring fire road, i’m scared of anything technical, and let’s not ride any singletrack (or singletrail as it is called in some countries).”  Outside of the riding, Morzine is a fun town with lots of bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, and Brits!   Beware that Morzine is also known as Manzine.  I didn’t see many women there.  Also beware that Morzine is EXPENSIVE!  I’m attaching some pictures.  Enjoy!  

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Zugspitze/Garmisch, Germany (Skiing)

The Zugspitze Garmisch ski resort comprises of two ski areas.  The Zugspitze Glacier Bowl and the Garmisch Classic area.  We took the ski train and stayed in the bowl where we found plenty of powder and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.  It was a gorgeous weekend for skiing.


Ski Train


800g steak