Eska Falls – mountain biking

Eska Falls is a must-ride ride for anyone that loves cross country riding to beautiful places.  I think it may get overlooked since the Kenai Peninsula is so much better known for this style of riding.  

The trail itself starts a few miles up a 4×4 road – you can easily park at the bottom, although many cars made it up (I saw a RAV 4 and another car-like SUV up there).  My Toyota Tacoma did it fine – the first rocky section is the worst from a clearance standpoint.  So, if you’re happy with that part, your car should be fine . . . 

There’s an ATV trailhead and a singletrack trailhead further on (with a car turnaround).  The singletrack is a consistent climb all the way to the open area near the falls . . . starts mellow and gets steeper and then mellows out a bit near the top.  Overall it’s super rideable with a few punchy sections that some may walk.  There’s lots of turns and switchbacks that actually make the climb pretty fun cuz you have to ‘drive’ the bike a bit more than the terrain probably demands.  

Curvy trail – fun on the way up and down, though never truly technical.

 

Consistent grade and beautiful pedal up . . . some punchy sections, but not bad.

 

Super scenic

 

Views get better as you go . . . the Talkeenta Mountains really are something special

The singletrack tops out in open tundra a ways away from the falls . . . then it’s a ride on great 4 wheel trails to the base of the falls, which is totally worth it from both a ride and views standpoint.  

Wheeler appreciation moment . . . . glad for the ability to ride to falls!

 

Hard to do justice to the falls . . . stunningly beautiful!

 

I couldn’t resist scampering up to the top of the falls . . . views got even better!

 

Nice perspective on the wheeler trail back to the singletrack

Overall, my times were: 1:45 to the falls from the trailhead, about 15 minutes on wheeler trail to descent and 30 min singletrack descent.  I spent a lot of time at the falls, hiking to the top and watching water – it’s an absolutely stunning place to hang out and so hard to leave!!!  While Trailforks shows it as 6 miles round trip, my ride was nearly 11 miles since I went all the way to the falls.  

The singletrack descent was pretty fun, although less fun than I thought it might be on the way up (just being honest!).  While the turns are fun, the pitch isn’t super steep so it doesn’t ride all that fast.  Super enjoyable and all downhill though, which is very very nice!!!!  

Overall, an absolutely fabulous ride and I highly recommend it.  I would be cautious not to do it when it’s wet as the dirt gets super greasy – even in my case, I was glad to descend mid-afternoon (3:30pm or so) such that the morning dew had the chance to evaporate and the trail dried out a bit. 

Since I was up north, I drove to Hatcher Pass and rode El Dorado after this ride . . . made for an exciting day!

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

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