Arctic Valley provides a quick jaunt into the wilderness of Alaska tucked in between Anchorage and Eagle River adjacent to JBER (Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson). Near the bottom of the road is a great sledding hill that starts at Waypoint 3 and goes down to Waypoint 2, although a JBER Recreation Pass is required if you want to explore beyond the road, sledding included. Bears and wolves along with other wildlife frequent the area, so keep an eye open and see what may be looking back at you! Along the way, there are great views of the greater Anchorage area, Denali, and the northern lights (aurora borealis) on a clear night sky. At the top of Arctic Valley Road (pay to park) you can pick blueberries, hike up and see an old Nike Missile site, site "Summit" (fenced off) that is still used today as a communications site for various government agencies, or go explore the backcountry. During winter the Arctic Valley Ski Area is a great place to ski, it is run by volunteers and is only open on the weekends. In the winter, 4WD (4x4, 4 wheel drive) or good working AWD (all wheel drive) is a necessity as the road is infrequently maintained and is often snow covered and icy from overflow, especially near the top.
The road was icy and snow covered from the base all the way to the top. I wanted to try making it up in 2WD and I might have gotten a little sideways on a few corners on my way to the Ski Area. I passed a yoga photoshoot or something on the scenic S turn at waypoint 4. Keeping it classy Anchorage, I like it.
Agree, not a trail but a well-maintained road. I did this in late August and hiked a nice 3 hour circuit trail to one of the peaks and back down through the valley. I highly recommend doing the hike as part of the trip because if you're going just looking for 4wd trail, you will be dissapointed. So the "trail" gets 3 stars or lower but the hike gets 5 stars. Of note, there is a little crawling to be had by going underneath the power lines, which cuts through the switch backs of the main road, but do so at your own risk. There are no signs that say "keep out" but it felt a little unauthorized. Then again... It's Alaska. If you do take the power-line route, be cautious when re-entering or crossing the main road since the road is frequently traveled. Taking the last power-line route down led me to a small older trail, left of the power-line that was heavily over-grown but still fun. It even had a little mud in it. Unfortunately, I didn't see any wildlife on the trip.
It's not a trail guys, it is literally a "ROAD", Arctic Valley Road. It is a maintained, open-year-round, two lane, gravel road leading to a National Park Trailhead as well as a public ski resort and lodge.
It is a place of beauty, and nature sighting such as bears and moose are common on this road. Its just a road to a lodge but its the first gravel road just minutes outside of anchorage that has a good bit of length to it at about 10 miles and a constant up hill of about 10 or 15 degrees. Washouts and snow coverage can make this an adventure at times but the lodge has interest in keeping the road passable by the common Prius.
Kyle has been into off-roading since getting his license at 16 and wheeling the family SUV (possibly without informing his parents of these wheeling trips in their vehicles). He graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with an Electrical Engineering degree. He lives in south-central Alaska and is raising his two young kids. Kyle stays busy year-round by working full-time as an Electrical Engineer who spends his weekends wheeling, hunting, fishing the local lakes, and raising his family. He is eager to share his love of the outdoors with others, especially when it involves a 4WD. His goal is to create an amazing resource for locals and travelers alike to enjoy the endless beauty Alaska has to offer while respecting the trails and keeping them open for years and generations to come.