Devil’s Creek to Cooper Landing – Resurrection Trail – mountain biking

Mountain biking Devil’s to Cooper Landing via the Resurrection Trail South is probably the easiest car shuttle for the Resurrection Trail and a super fun and worthy ride of about 27 miles, with a moderate net elevation loss.  The downhill to Swan Lake is super fun, the scenery is great, and it’s always cool to ride point-to-point!

The climb up Devil’s is pretty straightforward and about 2 hours to the junction with the Resurrection Trail.  Take the left at the junction and head out across the wide open valley.  The trail is ‘mountainous flat’ in this section – no sustained climbing or descending but hardly flat in the true sense of the word!  

June 2nd, 2020 – looking from the trail junction toward Cooper Landing . . . the descent begins at the obvious horizon line, just on the rider’s right side of the valley.

 

This picture is taken on June 11 – just over a week later – and it’s already so much greener! It’s amazing how fast things change!

And then the descending begins – most of the elevation is lost in this one descent to Swan Lake.  It’s fun and technical in places, and definitely a highlight of the trail.  Although it asks you to pay attention, it’s all rideable and I didn’t walk any section.  That said, I wasn’t daydreaming either!

From Swan Lake (you can ride to the lake and reconnect to the main trail via an independent branch – i.e. it’s not an out/back to the lake), the trail follows the river thus losing some elevation but plenty of short climbs as well.  Typical riverside riding profile.  The dirt is nice as you’re in the forest again and it’s super pleasant riding.

Lovely forest riding 🙂

At about 7.5 miles from the Devils trail, you’ll arrive at Juneau Lake, which is super beautiful.  The trail rides right along the shore and it’s here that you encounter the remnants of the 2019 Swan Lake fire.  Pedaling through the burn is kind of surreal and pretty cool to do.  That said, this is also where the very long flat section begins and the riding becomes a pretty boring doubletrack with a lot of pedaling!  There’s a solid 5+ miles of this flat riding until you get to a bridge (a left turn will take you to Bean Creek TH) and back onto singletrack.

Juneau Lake is stunning – this part of the trail is pretty cool!

 

The burn is pretty cool, though the doubletrack riding gets kind of old!

The riding from the bridge/Juneau Falls area to the TH is pretty fun, although it gets super overgrown (I rode it June 2 and it was okay, by mid June it’s problematic) later in the summer.  The riding is mostly down, with short climbing sections, and really nice trail character.  It’s pretty flowy and a great way to end the ride!  I think this section might have actually been my favorite part, although the descent to Swan Lake was also pretty rad!  

Overall the ride from the trail junction to Cooper Landing was a solid 2 hours for me of consistent riding.  While a net elevation loss, it is hardly ‘all downhill’ . . . don’t be fooled!!!  According to the USFS pdf the trail is 16.7 miles and 2200’ elevation loss.  The ride is super worthwhile and I definitely recommend it!  Additional USFS info is here.

If you don’t have enough cars to run the shuttle, Wildman’s in Cooper Landing offers shuttle services.   If you take the left at Bean Creek to exit the trail, it will take you easily to Wildman’s where your car would be waiting!  

I definitely recommend mountain biking from Devil’s to Cooper Landing via Ressurection Trail South – while there’s some drudgery of flat sections, it’s got great descents, changing scenery, and a very manageable shuttle . . . ride on!

For more mountain biking trail reports, check out the whole guide to Alaska biking!!!  Ride on and enjoy 🙂

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  1. Heather says:

    Love your write ups, thanks!

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