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Mitkof Highway Recreation Corridor

Petersburg:

The small size of the community and slow traffic speeds makes Petersburg a bicycle friendly community, having adequate bicycle lanes and paved shoulders throughout the community. The Petersburg terminal of the Alaska’s Marine Highway is located in the southwest extent of downtown and on the Mitkof Highway Recreation Corridor bike route.

Petersburg has good cycling services and is served by two bike shops. Life Cyclery is a full service shop offering bicycle repair, new and used bicycles for sale, and rentals. They are located at 402 North Second Street, (907) 650-7387 http://locator.trekbikes.com/locator/profile/131073. Petersburg is also served every other week during the summer by Klondike Bike’s mobile bike shop from Wrangell. Klondike Bike is a full service bicycle shop featuring bicycle repair, new and used bicycles for sale, bike rentals and self-guided touring information. They are located in Petersburg at 102 South 2nd Avenue, (907) 470-4453 http://klondikebike.com/. Petersburg has several gas stations that can provide a basic level of service. There are no cycling services on the Mitkof Highway Recreation Corridor route. Bicycle racks are located throughout the community and can be found at local destinations including super markets, the ferry terminal, library, and government offices. A separated paved path connects the airport to downtown and the first 1.5 miles of the Mitkof Highway.

Summary:

The Mitkof Highway is a major recreation corridor for Petersburg with many biking, camping and interpretive opportunities. The road currently has a limited shoulder, improvements and a potential pathway to mile 27 in conjunction with construction of the South Mitkof Ferry Terminal is in the works. It is best used as access to other bike routes. Highlights include the picnic sites at Blind Slough, Blind River Rapids trail which is a wide boardwalk suitable for wheelchairs, a Trumpeter Swan observatory for viewing these birds and others during migration, and Man Made Hole's picnic sites.

Activity:

Road and Mountain Biking

Intrinsic Qualities:

Recreation, Cultural

Length:

33.5 miles one way

Elevation:

200 feet elevation gain

Difficulty:

The Mitkof Highway Recreation Corridor is a newly paved roadway with a separated paved path along the first 1.5 miles and then a very limited paved shoulder along the remaining route. The new pavement (2009) and light vehicular traffic makes this an excellent route for both road and mountain bikes.

Starting Point:

The Mitkof Highway Recreation Corridor starts at the Petersburg terminal of the Alaska Marine Highway and heads south along the shoreline of Mitkof Island. From the Petersburg Airport head one mile northwest on Haugen Drive to downtown and turn south on South Nordic Drive 0.8 miles to the ferry terminal and the start of Mitkof Highway. Once the new South Mitkof ferry terminal is constructed at the south end of the route the starting point could be from either end.

Trip Details (On Highway):

  • Ohmer Creek Campground: Located at 22 mile Mitkof Highway. The campground has 10 sites suitable for tents or trailers up to 35 feet long. Each site has a parking pad, picnic table, and grill. Two sites are barrier-free. The campground has a summer host and drinking water and wheelchair-accessible toilets.
  • Ohmer Creek Trail: Located at the campground and offers a barrier-free ¼-mile interpretive trail. Beyond the barrier-free portion of the trail, a boardwalk trail continues another 1 mile to Snake Ridge Road and loops along the road back to the trailhead. Ohmer Creek offers trout and salmon fishing in late summer and fall.
  • USDA Forest Service -Blind River Rapids Trail (#454) and Recreation Area: This 0.25 mile boardwalk trail leads to a popular fishing spot and recreation area. The trailhead is located at 14.2 mile Mitkof Highway and includes parking and an accessible outhouse. At the end of the trail is a small day-use shelter. No overnight camping permitted. King salmon return to the river in June and July, and silver salmon return in September. Steelhead also run up the slough in April and May.
  • USDA Forest Service-Trumpeter Swan Observatory: A small observatory at mile 16.1 miles of Mitkof Highway allowing sheltered photographic and viewing of wintering birds along Wrangell Narrows. Blind Slough is one of two most northern wintering areas for the Trumpeter Swan. Swans can usually be seen November 1 to February 28th.
  • Blind Slough Recreation Area: Recreation area along the Wrangell Narrows at mile 17.5 Mitkof Highway. This new facility includes two large picnic shelters, tables, grills, an accessible restroom, and drinking water. No overnight camping.
  • Man Made Hole Recreation Area: Former gravel pit converted to swimming and picnic area located at 20 mile Mitkof Highway. Area includes picnic shelters, picnic tables and grills and a short accessible trail to the swimming ponds. No overnight camping.
  • Wilson Creek Recreation Area: Located at mile 27 Mitkof Highway this scenic viewing area and recreation site includes picnic tables and grills. No approved drinking water or overnight camping. Excellent views of Sumner Strait and surrounding islands.

Trip Details (Off Highway):

  • Twin Ridge Ski Trail (#606) and Upper Twin Ski Trail (#605): Popular trails for winter activities including snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and sledding that is accessed via Twin Creek Road at 7.5 mile Mitkof Highway. The trailheads are at 3.3 and 3.4 miles up The Twin Creek Road which is not maintained for in winter.
  • Three Lakes Trail (#600) and Recreation Area: 4.5 mile easy boardwalk trail that is accessed via Three Lakes Loop Road (#6235) at either 10 mile or 20 mile Mitkof Highway. The trailhead is located 15 miles (from north) or 6 miles (from south) on Three Lakes Loop Road. The trail connects to several small lakes and includes fishing and berry picking.
  • Ideal Cove Trail (#508): Primitive 1.5 mile trail connects the Three Lakes Trail with Ideal Cove. Access is via the Three Lakes Trail (see above).

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 starting location. To view the current FAA webcam image from Petersburg, click HERE.

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