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Thread: Ride to Knik Glacier?

  1. #1
    Member trochilids's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Palmer, Alaska

    Default Ride to Knik Glacier?

    HI folks,

    I have a friend who's interested in riding our sleds up to Knik Glacier outside of Palmer this weekend. Both of us are fairly novice riders, and will be on Yamaha Venture-Lite touring sleds. I love the Willow area for riding those sleds, and am admittedly apprehensive about a run up the Knik without a good trail, but am willing to take educated advice from this group. Would you recommend it for folks like us with our gear? Or not?

    Having not done that run, I don't know what to expect. If the reports indicate that it's a walk in the park and anyone can do it, then that's one thing -- but if folks say it's a pretty technical ride with little trail and lots of deep powder and thin ice, that that's completely another...

    Last edited by trochilids; 03-09-2010 at 23:56. Reason: Typos...
    Palmer, Alaska
    "There are some things money can buy. For everything else, there's ALASKA!"

  2. #2
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Assuming you're going from the Jim creek area and riding the river bottom you shouldn't have any problems. Just remember that the bottom is uneven and littered with boulders and logs so depending on snow depth and how wind hammered the snow is proceed with due caution.

    In flat windy areas snow that looks smooth will often have areas of varying snow density, sort of like shallow waves on a lake. The crests will be harder and the troughs soft. At speed in this kind of snow you will porpoise and can get out of control, bucked off, and hurt bad pretty easily. Basically, take it easy.

    Watch for overflow/open water and don't follow each other too closely.

    Hope you hit it on a bluebird day

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    Finding your way won't be a problem--you start by following the Jeep trail through the woods, and then stay in the left quarter or so of the valley. Lots of the trails braid into each other, so it's hard to get lost. Once you are through the woods, the next 10 miles of terrain are typically pretty smooth.

    At about the halfway point, the summer (ATV) trails head off to the left and through a wooded area called Wolf Point. This allows summer users to bypass a deep channel of the Knik River that they can't cross. However, it might be frozen over at this point, allowing you to keep paralleling the overall tree line as you head to the glacier.

    Past Wolf Point, the terrain becomes rougher, as you cross a lot of small stream beds, so watch out for quick drop offs in elevation (creek banks). In this area, try to move out to about a mile or two from the base of the mountains you are following on your left. If you stay in close to the mountains, you'll get drawn into a maze of creek channels meandering through thick alders. You can get through this way, but it's just easier to bypass this until you know your way around the area a bit.

    You will cross several rivers on this ride. The last one (Metal Creek) is the fastest running and most likely to give you problems (not to mention that you're over 20 miles from the parking lot at this point).

    Your biggest challenge will probably be finding adequate snow cover. The area is typically windblown, and snow doesn't stay around very long. Once you are on the gravel bar (which is the majority of the ride), the terrain is gravel, some rocks, and lots of dried up river braids. Recent ATV riders have reported a lot of overflow (but that was before this week's snow dump).

    If you decide not to head to the glacier, another good sled ride out there is to head up Jim Creek to the lake(s), towards Maud Road. Turn left and follow the first creek up past the sand dune and upstream a few miles.


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