Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Which way to Caribou Hills?

  1. #1

    Default Which way to Caribou Hills?

    My family and I are new to the sport and would greatly appreciate any info on what trail system is best for beginners wanting to get to caribou hills. We would be coming from Kenai and was told that Clam Gulch is an option, also Oil Well Road? I was told that I would do best going the Clam Gulch route with someone that Knows the trail. I was also informed that Oil well rd. is great access but the road is a tough haul with a trailer full of sleds.
    thanks for any input

  2. #2
    Member JOAT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Soldotna, ALASKA since '78
    Posts
    3,720

    Default

    You've been told right. Clam Gulch is the most popular trail, most likely because it is the first trail you get to when heading south. It's not a bad trail and you would be able to run it as a beginner without a guide. Though a guide will always help you avoid taking those wrong turns. (GPS highly recommended so you can find your way back!) Just pay attention to the color coded markers and stay on the groomed trail.

    Clam Gulch has a large trailhead parking area right on the highway. The first bit of the trail is hilly and winds around through swamps and such. Clam Gulch combines with Centennial trail as you get closer to the Hills. Centennial starts on Tustumena Lake road. Limited parking, but the trail is generally straighter and faster. It doesn't look like they've groomed the first leg of Centennial yet this year. There are some swamps and lakes that must freeze up solid before the groomer can drive over them.

    There is also Falls Creek and the 126 Trail. Both have limited access to the trailhead so they don't get used as much by folks who trailer down.

    Oil Well road is a much longer highway drive and then a white-knuckle drive for miles and miles down a dirt road that takes you basically right into the Caribou Hills. This road is generally used by folks who have cabins at the end of the road. The parking area at the end isn't very big. And yes there is lots of tractor-trailer logging traffic on this road. You must yeild the right-of-way to them. You must have a CB radio to know where the trucks are. There are a couple narrow spots on steep hills where you need to stop and wait for vehicles coming up to clear it before you go down. I would recommend taking a guide for your first trip on this road.

    Get your trail map here... http://www.akchch.org/?page_id=45 (you can download a pdf and print it to take with you)

    Trial grooming reports... http://www.akchch.org/?page_id=5

    General Info... http://www.akchch.org/

    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  3. #3
    Member aufevermike's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
    Posts
    159

    Default

    All is correct. I must say one thing. GET yourself one of the trail maps. The map place across from Fred Meyers has them for $22. You may want to head in for the first time via oil Well road. You don't need to go all the way in. In fact, there are 3 major hills on that road that can be treacherous. However, at mile 8.5 is the only one you may need to encounter. The reason being at mile 14 there is a free parking area courtesy the "Happy Hookers'" in Ninilchick. The first hill is not all that bad as the others. The hill is the Dolly Creek, for reference. Also there is no road maintainence past mile 5. After that the road does get plowed just by resident people. It is ice, but if you use caution you wont have any problems. If you decide to park at the Happy Hookers area you can then take the road via sled up about another mile to the other hill and access the Strait-In trail. From there you can enter any area of the "Hills".
    Then again, check with me begore you go any route, I'd be happy to show you around, if I'm available.
    MIke

  4. #4

    Default

    Thank you for the great info JOAT and Mike. Thank you Mike for the guide offer. I have a friend who turns out has ridden the caribou hills area since he was a kid. He said he has been looking for some one to go ride with. This trip may look like a sequel to the Griswald family Christmas vacation. wish us luck....

  5. #5
    Member bgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Kenai
    Posts
    344

    Default

    I haven't seen a logging truck on oil well road for YEARS. There are a few sketchy spots but nothing like it was years ago. Take your chains just in case and drive slow and you will have zero problems. Marathon plows most of the road all year long. The rest gets plowed fairly often and there is generally enough trafic all year long to keep it open for even cars to pass without issue. There is a nice parking lot on the right hand side as you get closer to the end of the road, but I cant remember exactly what mile post it is, and another just before teh end. Both are well marked or plainly obvious. The parking at the end of the road is normally fine, there wont be too many trucks there unless its newyears weekend or some other major holiday.

    There is also the East End road option, just drive to homer, turn down east end road, drive till you see the elementary on your left, then park at the pulloff on your right or in the DOT parking lot. Please be respectful with your parking.
    The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

  6. #6
    Member bgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Kenai
    Posts
    344

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AKGREEN View Post
    Thank you for the great info JOAT and Mike. Thank you Mike for the guide offer. I have a friend who turns out has ridden the caribou hills area since he was a kid. He said he has been looking for some one to go ride with. This trip may look like a sequel to the Griswald family Christmas vacation. wish us luck....

    We are headed down in the AM. Meet us at the Soldotna Fredmeyer parking lot at 8am Sunday the 20th and we'll get you to some riding. Grey crew cab chevy with two place alum trailer. My name is Brook
    The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks for the p.m. bgreen sorry I missed your message been gone all weekend, and just got home. My family is bent on trying the clam gulch trail system so I think we are going to try that some day this week. I have been told by several people however that its extremely bumpy, has anyone been on it recently?
    thanks again

  8. #8
    Member bgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Kenai
    Posts
    344

    Default

    I rode it last weekend, it wasn't near as bad as I've seen it in the past. Its not great, but not bad. Pretty icy in the low lands though, ice scratchers would be a benefit. I had to stop once on the way in to let the sled cool down and I was trying to find all the fresh snow I could the whole way in. There has been some snowshowers in the last few days, so you might not have any cooling trouble.

    If you take clam gulch, take a good trail map and your compas/gps. It can get kinda confusing with all the logging roads and other trails. It would be really easy to end up on the Tustumena trail on the way out (don't ask me how I know).

    If you do go, and you do get into the "Caribou Hills" make sure you know where your at in relation to the KNWR. Head south for deeper snow. And be really carefull in the burn areas, the stumps are just under the snow level.

    We went in from East End road out of Homer today, snow was good. Tree riding was great.
    The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •