Stampede Trail

AlaskaPosted by Espen Sat, June 26, 2010 10:56:56

Every now and then you just feel like turning off the highway to poke around for a while, and not really look for something in particular. We heard about the Stampede Trail on our way north, and since we have read and seen the movie “Into The Wild” we just couldn’t resist the chance of checking out the trail leading in to “the bus”. We didn’t know what to expect as all visitors information centers always describe Alaska’s gravel roads as extremely dangerous and tell you to bring AT LEAST two spare tires (and comments as we leave; “It is much better to take the bus” (?!?!?) ). So, what to expect of a “bad” road is not always obvious. However, this was a bad road…

The first part, we found out in Glitter Gulch, is regularly toured with guided Jeep Tours, and not too bad, even if there is large puddles turning into mud holes in rainy weather. These tours go in about 19-20 kilometers and the guide company has a camp there with some facilities and food for the guests. Just beyond the Jeep Camp is a big mud hole and a some small rivers/riverbeds, but it didn’t look too bad, so we decided to go on a little further.

Crossed some smaller streams and the trail got more and more narrow as we drove on.

After about four kilometers further in we decided to turn around. Some of the places we crossed could potentially get very muddy if we got rain, and that was what the weather forecast had promised us for the evening and the next few days. Camping out here would probably be both fun and interesting, but we had not planned and prepared properly for it, so the choice was easy. With two cars, a “dry” weather forecast, and a few days of food and water, it could be a nice little project to see just how far in it is possible to get. Maybe next time…

On our way out we was told by the guy running the Jeep Camp, that after another kilometer or so from where we turned around the trail would become so wet it would be impossible to pass. And a little further in were big rivers with no bridges… Hmm. Maybe a winter trip with 38”?

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