If you live in Airport Heights, Fairview, Rodgers Park, College Gate, North Star, or Valley of the Moon, the closest single track for fat biking isn’t on official parkland. Instead, it winds through Alaska Pacific University’s hilly, forested campus.
Much like trails at Far North Bicentennial Park or Campbell Tract, APU trails are natural surface, and lack the machine cut berms and jumps of Kincaid or Hillside. With APU’s relatively consistent spruce-birch forest, the trails are laced with roots, which make for slow, lumpy summertime riding. Just a few inches of snow smooth out these rooty trails and provide fantastic fat biking.
The core of APU’s single track is a fairly long stretch of trail with an southeastern terminus near University Lake. You can access it from one of the multiple formal or informal trails that connect Chester Creek and the lakeside trails. Look for a bunch of fat tire tracks on a trail that’s about 18 inches wide.
At first, the trail meanders through nearly flat woodlands. As it curves northwest, the trail climbs up and over what appear to be small moraine lumps, before reaching a short steep pitch that most people will have to walk up. After crossing a ski-only trail, the fat bike single track continues, now through lumpier, more technical terrain with sharper curves and some off-camber slopes.
Though it is impossible to see, this part of the trail is not far from Northern Lights to the north or APU to the south. Several trail spurs provide options to exit the park, but cyclists will want to maximize trail length. In general, stay on the most used trail, and when in doubt veer left. There are a couple rightward spurs that shortly connect back to Chester Creek Trail where it parallels Northern Lights.
The primary trail stem ends at a fairly wide, informal trail just south of the Bragaw/Northern Lights intersection. Here, Chester Creek trail is just a few yards to the north. For more fat biking, hang a left and ride to an improbably meadow with stunted spruce trees, which has one of the best views of the Chugach Mountains in this area. Multiple single track trails head off from this meadow. To the right, following a powerline easement, single track continues through more hills before ending just south of Goose Lake. This particular unmarked trailhead would be difficult to identify if you hadn’t used it before.
Since APU’s primary single track is a long corridor generally paralleling Chester Creek, it is a good add-on for rides to Far North and Campbell Tract. Instead of driving out to that park complex, bike instead. You’ll spend the same amount of time overall, but more time bicycling and less time loading and unloading bikes.