Ptarmigan Lake Trail mountain bike – Alaska

Mountain Bike Ptarmigan Lake

At 7ish miles round trip, and about 2 hours (including time to chill at the lake), Ptarmigan Lake is a great short(er) mountain bike ride that delivers exciting trail, beautiful views, and a nice change from the standard Kenai mix of trails!  It’s a challenging ride both uphill (I had to walk plenty of it) and downhill (it’s on par with the Primrose descent of Lost Lake).  Trailforks ride log here, for the return/downhill only (and started just after leaving the lake).  We rode it June 15, and the brush wasn’t an issue – it seems like the upper section will get very overgrown and hiking reports confirm it does.     

Ptarmigan Lake itself is super stunning and worth the ride!

 

Ptarmigan Lake Trail starts from it’s namesake campground, between the Primrose end of Lost Lake and the South end of Johson Pass, making it a great trail to combine with a weekend riding either of the longer classics.  Directions can be found here.

It starts super chill and wide and there’s a right fork (left goes to a mine) that keeps you riding right along the river for awhile.  There are lots of roots in this section, and they continue as you begin to climb away from the river.  There’s just enough hike-a-bike to make you wonder if it’s worth continuing, but don’t give up!

The trail initially parallels the river, which is super lovely to ride!

The trail eventually transitions out of the roots to a far more pedal-able surface, except for the intermittent big root, narrow rocky corner, etc. that still had me off my bike and pushing plenty.  This section looks like it will get super overgrown as the summer progresses.

After about an hour we reached the lake – it is STUNNING and leaves one wondering why this trail isn’t better known . . . it’s as beautiful as any other lake in the area, maybe moreso with the glaciated 6210’ Andy Simons Mountain in the background.

Ptarmigan Lake is so cool!

 

Classic Kenai turquoise . . . my favorite color

 

This was 8:30 pm and we definitely had some bugs – otherwise could have stayed a very long time to enjoy this view.

The return is very rideable – we walked around one root on the downhill as it looked like it would grab and damage a tire, and I didn’t clear some uphill sections through big roots, but it’s otherwise a fun challenge that keeps you on your toes the whole time!  I’d say it’s very comparable to the Primrose descent from Lost Lake . . . the technical sections require similar bike skills.  The Ptarmigan descent is a bit more exciting in that it’s more unrelenting (Lost Lake has longer sections without challenge) and stays challenging to the very end (unlike Lost Lake that mellows considerably as you go).   

This root looked like it would grab a tire and not let go – we walked around!

Some hike-a-bike on the way out too – stunning area tho!

Rideable and techy roots

Coming out of one of the fun sections . . . lots to keep you paying attention!

 

Classic Kenai forest riding – super good dirt, 1000 types of green.

Overall this is a fabulous bike ride and I highly recommend mountain biking Ptarmigan Lake, especially if you like a technical trail and some challenges on the descent!  It’s so fun to ‘discover’ new trails after years of riding here!!!

If you like this one, you might also enjoy Summit Creek and for sure the Primrose side of Lost Lake 

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

Ride Essentials

Trail Snacks

A Girl's Guide to doing life on your own terms

GRAB MY FREE GIRL'S GUIDE + GET MONTHLY TIPS FOR CREATING A HIGH FLOW LIFESTYLE.

Thank you for subscribing!

Free Guide

Don't worry! We will always respect your email address and never share or sell it.

  1. Eddie Parks says:

    Looks like a great time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

A Girl's Guide to doing life on your own terms

GRAB MY FREE GIRL'S GUIDE + GET MONTHLY TIPS FOR CREATING A HIGH FLOW LIFESTYLE.

You're in! Check your inbox for your Guide!

Free Guide

Don't worry! We will always respect your email address and never share or sell it.

Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Tips, Trips & Trails for mountain bikers

Become an Insider

Don't worry! We will always respect your email address and never share or sell it.