The February 22, 2020, NSCF tour of the River Park trails at Chena Lake Recreation Area (CLRA) was fun. Ten skiers (9 participants plus the tour leader) skied the 5.7 km ski loop and then the 4 km loop. For those doing the 2019/2020 Fairbanks Winter Trails Challenge, we were able to “bag” another trail sign that was located on the longer loop. Afterwards, a few of us also skied the Peninsula Trail loop (1.5 km) for a total of 11 km (6.8 miles). A post-ski lunch at the Pagoda never tasted so good!
Trail conditions were fabulous. It seemed as though the FNSB Parks and Recreation trail groomer(s) knew we were coming and wanted to make an impression. The trail has been groomed wider that what I remember from previous years, which will now allow for walkers, etc. as well as skiers. In the middle of the trail was a nicely placed track.
The weather was a bit chilly, around -18C (0F) with a little breeze, but after months of deep cold snaps, that seemed warm. These trails are non-motorized and follow the Chena River and sloughs and are very peaceful and pretty. The 4 km loop, which is also a nature trail, was groomed, too. During the summer there are numerous interpretative signs that aren’t covered by snow.
Another 12 miles of trails that begin off of Lake Park Road near the park entrance are groomed wide and flat and are multi-use and great for skate skiing. The second trails challenge sign at CLRA is located on the dike that leads from the dam and it is being groomed.
A winter guide which contains a map of the trails and lists other winter activities you can do at CLRA can be found at: https://fairbanksak.myrec.com/info/facilities/details.aspx?FacilityID=14703.