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Old 07-17-2012, 05:38 PM   #1
Alaskajeff OP
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Tenative plans Paxson to Cantwell Aug 2

The family I and are planning on traveling to Fairbanks the 1st weekend of August. Leaving on Thursday the 2nd of August from Palmer. I'll be riding the bike and our Suburban will be the chase vehicle. We will head to the Paxson side andTangle Lakes BLM campground the first night then take the Denali Hwy (135 miles of FUN!!) across to Cantwell on Friday and then on to Fairbanks. Should be a great time weather permitting. Anyone want to tag along for part of the journey?
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:08 AM   #2
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Post road conditions when you get back!! I am planning to go the third weekend of August so I can recover from daughter's wedding Have fun!!
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:35 AM   #3
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Here's an idea. . .

Have you considered running that same route backwards? Meaning, from Anchorage to Cantwell over to Paxson and then North to Fairbanks.

Here's the thinking behind the idea: The better views of Denali (from the highway) are South of Cantwell, and the scenery on the Richardson Hwy is spectacular compared to the Parks. As a bonus, you could ride out to Willow via Hatchers Pass getting in a little extra fun.

Either way, sounds like a great ride. Have fun!
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JustInconsistent View Post
Have you considered running that same route backwards? Meaning, from Anchorage to Cantwell over to Paxson and then North to Fairbanks.

Here's the thinking behind the idea: The better views of Denali (from the highway) are South of Cantwell, and the scenery on the Richardson Hwy is spectacular compared to the Parks. As a bonus, you could ride out to Willow via Hatchers Pass getting in a little extra fun.

Either way, sounds like a great ride. Have fun!
Yeah we thought of that but I KNOW there is free camping at Tangle Lakes on the Paxson side. Do you know of a good spot to pull over around 20 miles or so in on the Cantwell side? But I agree with you on the views. Since 91 we have made the drive between the valley and Squarebanks probably 100+ times. It never gets old. MOST every time minus 3 it's been on the Parks so just looking to mix it up a bit..
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:20 AM   #5
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That's pretty cool that Tangle Lakes campground is free, I didn't know that. That's some real nice scenery out there.

The only place for free camping that I know of on the Cantwell side is 24 miles south of the turnoff to the Denali Hwy. East Fork Chulitna River Campground. It's a little primitive in that there is no firewood for sale, fresh water or campground host, but it's a state run campground and it's free. I have had luck gathering enough deadfall to burn, but it does take some effort.

It's right here: http://binged.it/Oezk7h

If anything, it's a nice midpoint to camp a night for a slow ride on the Parks.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:40 PM   #6
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Yeah we thought of that but I KNOW there is free camping at Tangle Lakes on the Paxson side...
FYI - the state really upgraded the Tangle Lakes campground last summer and now they charge a fee to stay there. The little dip and mud-hole area where Hobo had an accident is now gone.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:42 PM   #7
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Thanks for the inputs all. Great info. Has anyone stayed at Brushkana campground before?
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for the inputs all. Great info. Has anyone stayed at Brushkana campground before?
Brushkana is a nice, quiet little campground and I have stayed there several different times. The last time I was there I seem to recall somebody performed a table dance, but I can't remember who that may have been....

There's an intriguing ATV trail on the right-hand side of the hill right before you get to the campground, on the Cantwell side. Silly me tried riding on it alone during my first-ever summer of riding, when I didn't know any better, and it was quite interesting and I scared myself. To my credit, I did hike in almost a mile on the trail to check it out before attempting to ride it and I didn't have saddlebags or anything on my bike when I did ride in on the trail. When the trail started getting narrower and rockier and steeper and I realized I needed to get out of there, I dropped my bike on the soft tundra while attempting to turn around in the least vegetated area, which still had lots of berry bushes. Once again I was mentally kicking myself for trying something like that while all alone. But that's how you learn what your capabilities are.

Have a great ride!
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:19 PM   #9
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Just a heads up, the 3rd week of Aug is prime hunting for caribou in that area, definitely will be more traffic than usual...
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:13 PM   #10
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I know a good place to camp on the Cantwell side. Look at the Alaska Gazetteer.... follow in about 20 miles or so & find the raft launch symbol on the upper Nenana. about 200 yards (more or less, my memory) east of there is a small road that cuts down toward the river... it does a couple switchbacks and opens into a really nice flat area about 60' square.

other than that, I would go to the Valdez Creek area... tons of cool spots there. the road is right by east end of the Big Sue bridge
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:41 AM   #11
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Just a heads up, the 3rd week of Aug is prime hunting for caribou in that area, definitely will be more traffic than usual...
Thanks Dapman! I will keep that in mind
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:25 PM   #12
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Decided to head to the Paxson side and stay at Tangle lakes or somewhere landmark gap on Thursday night. Weather looks SO SO for Friday so........who knows?
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:40 AM   #13
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And???

So how was the trip?

How were the trails? Muddy or dryish? Man, I love that area!

I'm headed up there this weekend. Gonna park in Cantwell and ride dirtbikes with my son and dad all the way to Tangle lakes and check out the trails and shoot Patarmagans and catch some grayling for 5 days!!!

How about gas? Isn't there some midway spots (Gracious House, MacLaren river lodge, Tangle Lakes) that sells gas for cash?
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:53 AM   #14
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Gas options...

Yes sir you are correct, gas available at Gracious House, MacLaren River and Tangle Lakes... rumor has it that it is more expensive at MacLaren
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by AKTobias View Post
So how was the trip?

How were the trails? Muddy or dryish? Man, I love that area!

I'm headed up there this weekend. Gonna park in Cantwell and ride dirtbikes with my son and dad all the way to Tangle lakes and check out the trails and shoot Patarmagans and catch some grayling for 5 days!!!

How about gas? Isn't there some midway spots (Gracious House, MacLaren river lodge, Tangle Lakes) that sells gas for cash?
The ride went well! A little wet here and there but overall great riding. I didn't take any side trails since we had a chase vehicle and we were due in Fairbanks. I'll link you to photobucket and the pics we took.
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