Mountain biking Red Mountain from Jackaloff Bay

Mountain biking to Red Mountain, the home of the once-active Kenai Chrome Mine, from Jakolof Bay outside Seldovia, Alaska is a worthy ride in a super cool area, and a great excuse to take your mountain bike further afield to explore!

 

Getting there: Located across Kachemak Bay from Homer, the trail is accessed by either plane or boat . . . I flew in, and the runway in Jakolof (4Z9) is long and in good shape, and has lots of space to pull to the side as well as fire rings and great camping options.

Once a road, and now a 4wheel trail, the ride from Jakolof Bay to Red Mountain is actually pretty fun and the trail is transport to a super rad area that can be explored more deeply once you’re there!    

 

The first 5.5 miles are in the woods and pretty overgrown – it’s screaming for someone to go up it with a pair of loppers to clear some alders back!  That said, it rides well and the surface is good, so that’s enough!  There are multiple sections where it’s washed out, but 4 wheelers have ridden a new trail in where necessary, and there’s some really narrow singletrack for those with the gusto to ride it with the exposure!  

This was late September growth . . . mid-summer might be rough!

 

This is narrower than it looks, and a bit unnerving to ride over the somewhat overhang, and also fun! There’s also a ride-around so this section can be avoided!

 

The old road is pretty washed out, but you don’t have to get your feet wet to cross!

 

 

Once the trail meets the Windy Creek, there’s also wash out sections with massive downed trees, also with 4-wheeler ride arounds that totally work!  They’re a little muddier than the “main” road, but not too bad.  

Wheeler trails offer ride-arounds of the washed out parts – a little muddy, but it works!!

At about 5.5 miles, the trail enters more alpine and the views of Red Mountain open up . . .at about 7.5 miles you reach a bridge over Windy Creek and a lovely valley with incredible views in every direction.  There’s many great camping options here, and a huge metal fire ring to augment any camping adventure!  It would be totally worthy to bike a camp up here and stay awhile to explore the upper valley.  

Trail opens up for the first views of the upper valley

And it keeps getting better!

 

FIre pit says it all . . . Red Mountain!

 

Cross the bridge and access the upper trail to the mine . . . it gets overgrown but if you get through that part, the access to the upper valley is good.

 

The color of the water didn’t get old . . .

 

The upper trail is just to the looker’s left of the shaded peak . . . the mine is up there too! Super cool valley 🙂

Such a rad place!

The trail then continues through some super thick alder, before switching back left and climbing steadily to the mine.  This section was snowed in when I rode in late September, but would be a worthy ride in mid-summer for sure!  Except for the alder section which I’d probably carry my bike uphill to avoid, honestly!  

I didn’t go explore up higher on account of the snow, but you can see the switchbacks up to the mine and pass! Worth a return trip for sure!

The ride down was super fun – the tech sections rode well and it was all pretty fast.  Even in late September I needed gloves to ease the hand-smashing of the alders!  

 

I rode a Specialized Turbo Levo SL e-bike for this trail – my first time ever riding one!  It was a perfect trail for it, in my opinion!  I made the 1200’ climb up over 7.5 miles in just over an hour, stopping plenty to take pictures!  And the way down was a super fun 30 minutes!  I loved having the power to make the flatter sections more fun, and the bike road super well through the tech!  I’m totally sold on battery-powered to add fun and speed things up!  As it was, I was worried about leaving the plane without a great tie-down, the bears in the area that could be feasting on my bushwheels, and the shorter days and impending cold!  So, I was happy to do the whole recon ride in 2 hours, including time spent lounging in the sun in the beautiful valley surrounded by red mountains 🙂 

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