White Mountains National Recreation Area, Alaska (NW Loop)
The White Mountains Recreation Area is one of the most extensive winter trail systems in Alaska. With well maintained cozy cabins roughly 10 miles apart, skiers, ski-jourers, dog mushers, snowshoers, snowmachiners and even cyclists easily share the trails.
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Over 250 miles of groomed trails and 12 public use cabins make route options extensive. The gentle rolling hills dominate the landscape and only a few steep pitches are found in the mix. The shortest loop option would be 38 miles with 3 cabins along the way. From there the loops start to push 80-100 miles. Out and back trips can be what ever you want in roughly 10 mile increments.
The trip depicted here shows the northwest loop. It was done over 11 days, included some backtracking on trails and covered 112 miles.
The waypoints not along the route are the other cabins available for use and you can build your trip to suit. The trails are usually groomed (check the grooming report with the BLM when you book your cabins) and it’s pretty easy going. There’s not much elevation change to speak of save between Lee’s Cabin and Eleazar’s Cabin or over Cache Mountain Divide (btw Cache Mountain Cabin and Windy Gap Cabin). A few little hills tucked in here and there. Get a detailed topo map.
Visit the BLM webpage for booking details and current info:
• Southeast Loop done in 2009 (with video & photos)
• More photos and blog post of Northwest Loop (described above)