Resurrection Trail – mountain biking

Mountain bike Resurrection Pass Trail:

The Resurrection Pass Trail runs 38.4 miles between Hope and Cooper Landing and is a classic mountain bike trail of Alaska!  It can be ridden point-to-point, or using Devil’s Creek trail to ride Devil’s to Hope or Devil’s to Cooper Landing.  Riding the whole trail requires a car shuttle (can be arranged by Wildman’s) or key swap, the latter being a much more efficient option!

Resurrection can be ridden South-to-North (Cooper to Hope) or North-to-South (Hope to Cooper) and I don’t think either way is better.  The climb out of Hope is long and gradual, though has some roots to navigate.  It’s consistently up (with very short downs) to the pass.  The Cooper Landing climb is up from the trailhead, flat through the Juneau Lake area, and a steep climb from Swan Lake to the pass area.  The Cooper descent is steep initially to Swan Lake, then has a long flat section and a fun end.  Equally, the Hope descent is a fun downhill-mostly cruise with moderate pedaling and is super fun.

Either way, once you hit the pass area (long flat section that feels like it neither climbs nor descends), it’s a solid hour to ride from one end to the other.  About halfway across, you’ll see the Devil’s Creek Cabin and turn off to Devil’s Creek Trail (don’t get sucked into a turn if you’re trying to through-ride!).

Mountain biking from Resurrection Pass to Hope (the Hope descent):

Once you reach the Resurrection Pass sign (the actual pass), you’re at what I would call the beginning of the Hope descent. Whatever you do, please do not utter the words (or think the thought), “it’s all downhill from here!”  It is not!  And you still have nearly 20 miles to go!  It takes a solid 2-3 hours to get to the trailhead (faster without stops!), which makes this ride a true cross country ride all the way to the end!  That said, you get to lose 2100 feet of elevation as you finish!

Just about to the Resurrection Pass sign!

From the pass, the trail actually climbs a bit and then starts descending in earnest.  There are periods of true descent, some downhill coasting/pedaling, and some small climbs (especially near drainages).  You’ll pass East Creek Cabin (14.5 miles to go), Fox Creek Cabin (11.5 miles to go), and Caribou Creek Cabin (7 miles to go) as you continue.  

The section right after the pass is super aesthetic!

The width of the trail makes the ride hold up well even mid-summer when other trails are overgrown!

Once you reach Caribou Creek Cabin, you’ve got 7 miles to go and I think this is actually some of my favorite section of trail!  There’s a few fun descents, a few short climbs, you’re riding along the river, and it passes super quickly in my experience.  

If you’re riding mid-summer, a stop at the Sea View for drinks, food, music, and views is a fabulous way to end the ride!

 

Mountain biking from Resurrection Pass to Cooper Landing (the Cooper Landing descent):

The Cooper descent starts with an actual downhill-style descent to Swan Lake, some up/down along the river, then a long flat pedal (a lot on doubletrack) through the Juneau Lake area, and a fun final descent to the trailhead.

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!  

 

Trail thoughts

The downside for me of doing the entire Resurrection Pass Trail in one go is that it’s just long!  There’s a decent amount of ‘slog’ on both sides, so I much prefer to use Devil’s Creek to do the initial climb and ride out Resurrection . . . experience the whole trail in 2 rides instead of one!

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

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