Other Local Trails for Skiing

The cross-country ski trail network that winds through Birch Hill Recreation Area and onto neighboring Fort Wainwright land offers some of the best cross-country skiing in the nation. However, the wider Fairbanks/Interior Alaska area has many other trails. Below are descriptions of most of the areas. Links to pages that have grooming reports, if any, are below each listing. Some of the Facebook pages listed have just grooming reports while others have a broad variety of posts with grooming reports mixed in. (Find Birch Hill grooming reports here.)

Groomed for Cross-Country Skiing

University of Alaska Fairbanks:
Includes many kilometers of trails groomed for skate and classic skiing, some for classic only, and some that are lighted. A warming hut (without a bathroom) is located on the West Ridge near the Geophysical Institute. For grooming/maintenance donations: go to the North Campus Facilities page and click on the “Give Now” button or scroll down to “Donate to the Trails!” You can also donate to the University Trails Club.
Difficulty: A variety of difficulty levels. Smith Lake is flat and has access from the Sheep Creek-West Tanana Drive parking lot. (You’ll go backward on a gentle section of Big Whizzy for a while. Look for the signs.) More challenging trails include Big Whizzy, Viereck, and the northwestern corner bordered by Yankovich and Miller Hill roads.
Grooming reports: Page, Facebook

Pearl Creek Nordic Park:
A classic-only trail system near Pearl Creek Elementary School. This system ties into the UAF system through the Skarland Trail. Park at the school. For grooming/maintenance donations: make check out to “Pearl Creek Community Park Fund” and send it to Tako Raynolds, 1819 Muskox Trail, Fairbanks, AK 99709-6626.
Difficulty: A variety of difficulty levels. The gentlest trails are generally down low bordered by Skarland, Commuter, and Powerline trails. The most southern section of Skarland in that area has Thrill Hill. (Use the Thrill Hill Bypass to avoid it.) Skarland and Commuter trails climb into the hills and can be challenging.
Grooming reports: Facebook (often includes reports on Fairbanks Golf Course trails, near intersection of Farmer’s Loop and Ballaine roads)

Creamer’s Field:
Groomed by the Alaska Skijoring and Pulk Association, these trails offer good, fairly flat skate skiing. See the ASPA Trails webpage for more information and to donate for trail grooming/maintenance. For general information about Creamer’s, see the Friends of Creamer’s Field Web site.
Difficulty: Generally flat.
Grooming reports: Facebook

Tanana Lakes Recreation Area:
A borough park with some trails groomed for skate and classic. Also connects to snowmachine trails, including those that head out onto the Tanana River and go for miles.
Difficulty: Generally flat.
Grooming reports: Page

Chena Lake Recreation Area:
A borough park with trails groomed for classic and skate. Relatively flat. No entrance fees charged during winter.
Difficulty: Mostly flat.
Grooming reports: Page

Fairbanks Golf Course:
Has winter trails groomed by local volunteers (mostly Stan Justice). Groomed for both skate and classic. Note that fatbikes are allowed. If fatbikes are damaging groomed ski skate lane, please go elsewhere. No set rule beyond “be nice.” Trails connect to ADMA trails (see below), which are also open to fatbikers.
Grooming reports: Skarland & Pearl Creek Park Trail Users Facebook page.

Goldstream Sports classic trails:
A classic-only system maintained by employees of Goldstream Sports. For trail grooming/maintenance donations: donation buckets in the store or online.
Difficulty: Much of the system is relatively gentle, but it has some narrow challenging hills throughout.
Grooming reports: Facebook

Peat Ponds in Goldstream Valley:
The Peat Ponds, an Interior Alaska Land Trust property, has trails that are groomed, some with classic tracks. The Dunbar Trail runs though the property and extends east to Obrien Street and west for miles and miles roughly paralleling the railroad tracks. The trails are groomed by Metropolitan Garage.
Difficulty: Relatively flat.
Grooming reports: Facebook

Two Rivers Nordic Ski Trails:
A system of trails next to Two Rivers Elementary School that are groomed for skate and classic skiing with loops up to 7.5 km. Leave right from the school parking lot. Here’s a color map of the trails. Here’s a black-and-white map.
Difficulty: A variety of difficulty levels. Generally the farther out you go the more challenging the hills.
Grooming reports (and other info): Two Rivers Alaska Ski Trails Facebook

The Darrell L. Coe Nordic Ski Trails at Salcha Elementary School:
This system is groomed for skate and classic skiing. It is an expanding loop system, with a 15-kilometer loop currently the longest. Leave right from the school parking lot.
Difficulty: A variety of difficulty levels. Generally the farther out you go the more challenging the hills. However, Grizzly Loop, near the school, has challenging hills.
Grooming reports: Intermittently done on the Salcha Ski Club Facebook page.

Not Groomed Specifically for Cross-Country Skiing

Alaska Dog Musher Association Trails:
Used and groomed by dog mushers and skijorers, this trail system is open to skiers. If you access the trails from Mushers Hall on Farmer’s Loop (as opposed to from elsewhere in Creamer’s Field), you’ll need a trail pass. Get information about passes and the trails at the ADMA website. To donate for trail grooming/maintenance see “Passes & Sponsorships” on the website.

Goldstream Public Use Area:
A parking area at about mile 2.5 of Ballaine Road is the most popular access point for this system of multi-use trails.

Isberg Recreation Area:
Still in development, this area now has a parking lot off Oboe Court near the intersection of Cripple Creek and Isberg roads. It has access to several ungroomed snowmachine trails, and the skijoring club grooms a few of the trails for skiing.

Chena River State Recreation Area:
This recreation area out Chena Hot Springs Road has many miles of trails. Some are groomed for snowmachines and are popular with skiers looking for a backcountry experience. Some are completely ungroomed. Several trails have backcountry cabins.
Grooming reports: Page (has reports statewide)

White Mountains National Recreation Area:
This BLM-administered area has many miles of trails groomed for snowmachines that are popular with backcountry skiers. The area has several backcountry cabins.
Grooming reports: Page, Facebook

Chena and Tanana Rivers:
No specific website. These rivers typically freeze and are used by a variety of winter trail users. Be cautious of open areas, especially next to the power plant just downstream of the Cushman Street bridge in downtown Fairbanks. Both rivers have sloughs that often have winter trails.
Note: The Chena River, if safe, is groomed from the Cushman Street Bridge up the river 10 kilometers in preparation for the Sonot Kkaazoot ski marathon held in March. Check the Sonot Kkaazoot blog or the NSCF Facebook page for updates.

Minto area trails:
In April 2021, the Sonot Kkaazoot blog reported that a teacher in Minto has put in and groomed miles of trails for skiing, skijoring, and mushing in the area. Find out more here.

Other Trail Resources

The Fairbanks area has many more trails that are not a part of any contained system. Finding them can be difficult without some guidance. No comprehensive trail guide of the area exists. However, these resources can help: