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Haines Highway Trail

Haines:

Haines is a small bicycle friendly community, having moderate connecting bicycle lanes and paved shoulders throughout the community and slow vehicle speeds. The Haines terminal of the Alaska’s Marine Highway is located three miles north of town with three foot paved shoulders connecting to downtown. The Haines Highway starts at the ferry terminal and extends through town and 42 miles to the Canada/US border.

Haines has excellent cycling services and is served by one bike shop. Sockeye Cycle is a full service shop offering bicycle repair, new and used bicycles for sale, and rentals. They provide numerous guided bicycle tours along the Haines Highway, on the Golden Circle Route (Haines to the Yukon and back down to Skagway), Bike and Canoe tours in the Yukon, and tours throughout Southeast Alaska. They also offer information on self-guided tours. Sockeye Cycle is located downtown at historic Fort Seward at 24 Portage Street, (877) 292-4154 or (907) 766-2869, http://www.cyclealaska.com. Haines also has limited auto service stations that can provide a basic level of service. There are no cycling services on Haines Highway once north of the community. Bicycle racks are located throughout the community and can be found at local destinations including super markets, the ferry terminal, and public facilities.

Summary:

The Haines Highway is a National Scenic Byway starting at the Alaska Marine Highway terminal and traveling north to the Canada/US border. The bike route starts at the Portage Cove dock at the historic start of the Haines Highway in downtown Haines. The highway travels through town and then follows the mountain lined Chilkat and Klehini Rivers before climbing to the border. The highway passes along scenic and resource rich natural landscapes that include the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, the Tlingit community of Klukwan, and abundant cultural and recreation opportunities. The highway is currently being improved in phases and includes a variety of paved shoulders ranging from old pavement of two feet wide to newer five foot paved shoulders and segments of separated bike routes along the highway. The highway is a major trucking and tourism driving route, however it is also a popular cycling route to the Yukon and the Golden Circle Route. More information on the highway and resources can be found at the America’s Byways website http://byways.org/explore/byways/12395.

Activity:

Road and mountain biking with recreational opportunities

Intrinsic Qualities:

Scenery, Historic, Cultural, Natural Resources

Length:

40 miles

Elevation:

800 feet elevation gain

Difficulty:

Moderate, due to the travelling along a state highway with a wide range of paved shoulder conditions and widths. This is a popular route for cyclists but can also experience moderate vehicle, RV, and truck traffic volumes in the summer months at speeds of 45 miles an hour or greater once outside of Haines. The route often experiences strong headwinds when travelling from the Canada/US border to Haines. The route is appropriate for all types of bicycles.

Trip Highlights:

This scenic road passes through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve; it provides travelers access to Canada and the interior.

Trip Details:

The road begins in downtown Haines at the Portage Cove dock, 3 miles from the ferry terminal; accessible by car, charter vehicle, public bus, walk, bike, etc. Note: Mileages shown below are approximate.

  • State Portage Cove Recreation Area: This is a small walk-in and cycling campground managed by Alaska State Parks for tents only. Large turf area with accessible toilets, water and outstanding views. Limited on-site parking.
  • Historic Fort Seward: This is a 1900 fort consisting of housing, barracks and a large parade ground. Today it is a mixture of housing, restaurants, lodging, art galleries and commercial shops including Sockeye Cycle.
  • Mount Ripinsky Trail (Mile 6.9): Trailhead for strenuous 9.8 mile SEAtrail hike to an elevation of 4,800 and back to Haines community. No facilities.
  • Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve (Mile 9.4): A State managed 48,000 acre Preserve designated to protect the world’s largest concentration of bald eagles and their habitat. Eagles can be seen year round with the greatest concentrations (3,500 to 4,000 birds) between October and February along the river bottomlands and the bike route. Numerous pull outs and unorganized camping is found along the highway within the Preserve.
  • South Council Grounds, State Recreation Site (Mile 19.3): Key viewing area for eagles and includes restrooms, picnic shelters, interpretive panels, water, and two interpretive trails parallel to the highway to the North Council Grounds Recreation Site.
  • North Council Grounds, State Recreation Site (Mile 20.7): Key viewing area for eagles and includes seasonal restrooms, picnic shelters, interpretive panels, and trails connecting to the South Council Grounds Recreation Site.
  • Village of Klukwan and Jilkat Kwaan Cultural Heritage Center (Mile 21.5): New Heritage Center currently under construction offering state of the art visitor and cultural center including exhibits, tours, restrooms, and food.
  • Porcupine Bridge and access to Porcupine Bike Routes (Mile 26.3): Access to SEAtrails Porcupine Road/Sunshine Mountain Trail Bike Route
  • Mosquito Lake State Recreation Area-Via Mosquito Lake Road (Mile 27.1): Campground consisting of thirteen sites next to Mosquito Lake, with restrooms, dock, boat launch and a picnic shelter. Can be very buggy.
  • 33 Mile Roadhouse (Mile 33.1): Historic roadhouse providing gas, food, lodging, and tours (heli-skiing and snowmachine).
  • US Border and Customs Station at Dalton Cache (Mile 40.3): Restrooms and basic visitor services. Historic Dalton cabin adjacent customs station.
  • Canadian Customs at Pleasant Camp (Mile 40.6): No services. Border open between 8 am and midnight (AST).

Contact:

Haines CVB (907) 766-2234; Alaska State Parks, (907) 766-2292

Google Earth File:

Click HERE to download a Google Earth file of the bicycle route. To view profile in Google Earth, right-click on the route in the 'Places' window and choose 'Show Elevation Profile.' Note: Trail route is approximate. Also, the imagery that Google uses is slightly shifted.

Weather:

HERE is the official National Weather Service forecast for the trail location. To view the current FAA webcam image from Haines, click HERE.