Chena River to Ridge Race Course Information
The race will start and finish at the Twin Bears camp, mile 30 Chena Hot Springs Rd. Racers will follow a trail north from the southwest end of the lake at Twin Bears for ~1/2 mile to the intersection with the Yukon Quest trail. Racers will turn right and travel along the Yukon Quest trail for about 2 miles before turning left to follow the Colorado Cr. and Compeau trails in a counter clockwise direction. Around race mile 8, racers will pass the Colorado Creek public use cabin and then immediately begin a steep climb toward the ridgeline. This signifies the beginning of the Compeau trail. The trail climbs from 700’ to approximately 2400’ during the first 9 miles and then roughly contours just below the ridgeline with frequent, short climbs and descents for the following 4 miles. The views of the surrounding high country and the Alaska Range to the south are stunning. A small aid station with refreshments will be located near mile 14 of the race course, the junction with the Little Chena Dozer line trail. The race course then descends for 6 miles to the valley floor and the intersection with the Yukon Quest Trail. This descent is occasionally interrupted by several small climbs. Racers will continue straight across the 4-way intersection with the Yukon Quest trail for an additional ~1/2 mile and hang a left onto the return trail to Twin Bears. Continue on the return trail for about 1/2 mile before entering the lake on the southeast end. This will be the end of the short course and the midway checkpoint for those doing the 55-mile route.
Racers doing the 55-mile course will retrace their path from the southwest end of the lake and again turn right onto the Yukon Quest trail. However, instead of turning left at the Colorado Creek trail as they did for the first loop, continue an additional ~1/2 mile and turn left on the Stiles Creek trail. Racers will then ascend the Stiles Creek trail in a clockwise direction, climbing to a high point around 1800’, and then descending to the bottom of the valley at about race mile 42. There will be a second aid station close to mile 35 near the first apex of the loop that will have refreshments before passing Stiles Creek public use cabin. The last ~7 miles will follow the Yukon Quest trail back to the 4-way intersection with the Compeau trail. Racers will turn left on the Compeau trail and familiar territory. Follow the Compeau trail for ~1/2 mile as with the first loop, turn left on the return trail to Twin Bears and on to the finish line.
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Chena River to Ridge Course Map (703 downloads)
The Chena River to Ridge race will have minimal support and racers need to be self sufficient and carry plenty of food/fluids. The race start, mid-race checkpoint for the 55-mile racers, and finish lines for the short and long courses are all located at the Twin Bears camp, milepost 30 Chena Hot Springs Rd. There will be three aid stations on the course; one for the 26-mile racers and two additional aid stations for the 55-mile racers. Aid station #1 on the 26-mile loop is not a mandatory checkpoint, and racers are free to stop and refuel or continue past. Aid station #2 at the start/finish area, and Aid station #3 on the Stiles Creek loop are mandatory checkpoints for the 55-mile racers.
Mile 14 Aid Station:
There will be small aid station near race mile 14 on the first loop of the course, located at the junction with the Little Chena Dozer fire line. This aid station will have hot and cold water, some sweet and salty snacks, and a warming tent. Racers are not required to stop or check in with the aid station volunteers. We do ask that you make sure your bib number is visible to the volunteer or you verbally inform the volunteer of your number as you pass by the aid station. This volunteer will be keeping track of the racers and relaying this information to the staff at the finish line.
Mile 26 Checkpoint:
If you are racing the 55-mile course, there is a mandatory checkpoint at mile 26, which is also the finish line for the 26-mile race. Racers must check in and out with the race volunteer at the checkpoint. If you fail to check in and out, you will be disqualified. The checkpoint will have refreshments similar to the aid station (see above) but we will also be grilling hot dogs (vegan ones too) for all racers.
Mile 35 Aid Station:
A warming tent at mile 35 will serve as a 3rd aid station in the 55-mile race this year. The tent is near the high point of the 2nd loop and may serve as a nice break if the wind is howling up on the ridge. There will also be hot and cold refreshments similar to the mile 14 aid station. Beginning this year, racers are required to check in with the aid station volunteer. Late in the event, racers can become widely separated, perhaps when it is dark. The volunteers will be keeping track of who passes through the checkpoint at what time and relaying this information to the staff at the finish line.
The AK Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grooms the race course trails (Colorado Cr, Compeau, and Stiles Cr) throughout the winter months. There is no guarantee the race course will be freshly groomed prior to the event. The trail may be soft due to fresh snow and in some locations, such as the upper portion of the Stiles Cr trail (2nd race loop), you may encounter snow drifts. Most of the trails are regularly used in the spring and it is very likely there will be a firm base even if the groomer hasn’t been out for a few weeks.
DNR does provide a trail report for the Chena River Recreation Area. You can find a link to the current PDF report on their News Release Page under Park Condition Reports