3 Best Motorcycle Rides In Alaska | Alaska's Harvest Bed and Breakfast in Palmer, Alaska

3 Best Motorcycle Rides In Alaska

3 Best Motorcycle rides from Alaska's Harvest B&B

Updated 2/1/2018

WE ride! We ride as much as 15,000 miles in a year.  We have taken the bikes on every paved highway in Alaska and many of the unpaved, and 'under construction' roads as well.  Here are the places to go when your time is limited.

1. Heading east: From Alaska's Harvest B&B to the Matanuska Glacier

The ride from Palmer to the Matanuska Glacier then on up to eat at  Sheep Mountain Lodge is breathtaking!  The Glenn Highway (Hwy 1) has earned the title "National Scenic Byway" for good reason! and even provides an audio guide to listen to as you make the incredible drive.  From Alaska's Harvest B&B to the Matanuska glacier is approximately one hour.  The glacier is at mile marker 101.  The glacier itself is 26 miles long (heading into the range of mountains) about a mile across the front that is visible from the highway and is 4 miles across at some points.  Fantastic food and indescribable views are abundant at Sheep Mountain Lodge at mile marker 113.5.  The views on the return ride are a bit different than most of the views on the way out as you see the Matanuska River much more often.  From Palmer to Chickaloon Chickaloon the road winds moderately, but there is no issue with tight switchbacks or severe traffic.  There is gasoline a bit farther past Sheep Mountain Lodge, at mile 128, Eureka Lodge.  There are several pull-outs for stopping to take pictures along the way! Make use of them!  The road is one lane each direction 95% of the distance.  Then of course, return to your home away from home to relax here at Alaska's Harvest B&B!!

2. Heading north: From Alaska's Harvest B&B to Talkeetna

The ride from Palmer to Talkeetna is a pretty straight forward ride.  The main traffic you'll encounter is in Wasilla as you must drive through Wasilla, unless you take the road over Hatcher Pass!  Then there are just a few very small towns to drive through, Houston and Willow.  The best view you will ever have of Denali (better than literally driving to it) will be from the small town of Talkeetna.  Talkeetna is approx and hour and ten minutes from Alaska's Harvest B&B.  On the Parks Highway (Hwy 2) headed north, turn right at the Talkeetna Spur turnoff, mile marker 99.  This is the place to gas up as there is little other to choose from. Then the straight road is 13 miles long before you enter the actual town of Talkeetna.  Our favorite viewing place of Mt Denali is from the back deck, also a cafe, of the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge.  If the day is clear and the mountain is showing, you can NOT go wrong taking this ride!

3. Heading south: From Alaska's Harvest B&B to Girdwood

The ride from Palmer to Girdwood  provides a bit more in the way of spotting wildlife. The summer months provide sighting whales and typically being able to plan on seeing moutain goats and Dall Sheep on the cliff edges as you drive south of Anchorage.  Girdwood is 37 miles south of Anchorage.  From Palmer to Girdwood takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.  The worst of it would be just driving through Anchorage which is a typical "large" city (360,000 population).  The ride from Palmer to Anchorage is beautiful, basically straight and 2 lanes each direction as you cross the Palmer Hay Flats and most often you can spot moose on the south side of the Glenn Highway (Hwy 1).  Heading straight through Anchorage on the New Seward Highway (Hwy 3) takes you immediately to the Cook Inlet and the Turnagain Arm where you have the ocean on one side and the impressive mountain cliff faces on the other.  This is a fun, beautiful ride.  Most of the road is a single lane of traffic each direction, but there are adequate sections of passing lanes, so be patient and enjoy the view.  There are several restaurants to enjoy in Girdwood, our favorite is Chair 5. On the Seward Highway (Hwy 3), you can gas up at the Tesoro that marks the turn to the Girdwood townsite.

4. Ride over Hatcher Pass/Independence Gold Mine

It is only 10 minutes from Alaska's Harvest B&B to reach the Hatcher Pass playground! Famous for its photo perfect Little Susitna River running through it, the Talkeetna Mountains surrounding the drive, the abondoned  Independence Gold Mine to explore near the top and the endless view from the summit, I consider the drive over Hatcher Pass a biker's 'must-do' ride!  If you take the road from Palmer, you can drive from Palmer Fishhook Road on good paved roads, all the way to the trailhead of Gold Mint Glacier Trail. The the road takes a sharp left uphill turn and the pavement ends.  It is a hard packed gravel and we have taken the motorcycles over it many times. It is a beautiful scenic ride and well worth it.  That road comes out on the Parks Hwy at mile marker 71.2.  The drive is a 65 mile drive from Palmer to the Parks Hwy junction. You will be on gravel most of the drive over the summit and until you reach  The Parks Hwy.

 

                                                    

On any given day of the summer riding season you are likey to face challenges.    We often just look in the three directions biking is an option and head for the one that provides the clearest sky!  Alaska weather is unpredictable, though our valley is easier to plan around than actual Denali weather. Another very common difficulty faced while biking in Alaska is that "summer" = road construction!  Be aware that a day trip can be lenghthened greatly as most often there are no alternative roads available to avoid stopping for road construction.  But unless you're made of sugar, it's always worth the ride rain or shine!                                                                               

Most of the beauty rests visibly below any stormy cloud cover, so GO FOR IT! When you get back to Alaska's Harvest B&B, we provide rags to wipe down your bike and let it shine again!