Bird to Gird Pathway


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Bird to Gird Pathway Facts

States: Alaska
Counties: Anchorage
Length: 13 miles
Trail end points: Alyeska Hwy (Girdwood) and Seward Hwy/Rt. 1 (Indian)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6177122

Bird to Gird Pathway Description

The Bird to Gird Pathway, a designated National Recreation Trail, parallels State Route 1 along the Turnagain Arm of an inlet off the Gulf of Alaska. The paved trail, also known as the Indian to Girdwood Bike Path, runs for 13 miles between shore and glacier-covered mountains in Chugach State Park. You're likely to see wildlife along the way, including beluga whales and other sea mammals in the inlet and big game on dry land, such as mountain goats.

Dramatic views of the water and mountains led to the designation of the Seward Scenic Highway; part of the trail uses the old road, which was rerouted, and part of the trail occupies an old rail bed. Along the trail you'll find interpretive signs of the interesting geologic features, and the path leads to other local trails in Girdwood, Bird and Indian. There's a campground in Bird and covered rest areas with picnic tables along the route.

Parking and Trail Access

You can park at the following areas: at the west end in a small lot off Seward Highway; at a much larger lot farther east; off El Rocko Lane; at the southern dip in the trail along Seward Highway; in a small turnout area close to Girdwood; and near the Girdwood terminus.

Bird to Gird Pathway Reviews

Inline skating on Bird to Gird

SKATERS BEWARE, TRAIL HAS STEEP GRADES!!! I have logged hundreds of miles skating on a portion of this trail, and never seem to tire of it.

The portion that is best for skating is from the pullout at Milepost 100 of the Seward Highway to Girdwood. This is a 20 mile round trip. The beginning and end are 8 feet wide; the bulk of this is 10 feet. There are 2 steep hills that are 12 feet wide.

West of Bird Point the trail has a mile-long level section (always fun to skate, especially with a tailwind), the rest is hilly and winding.

East of Bird Point it climbs then descends a couple hundred vertical feet. I have measured grades greater than 6% in this area.

The trail has its share of root cracks (even on one of the steepest slopes) to be aware of.

SKATERS NEED TO HAVE GOOD BRAKING SKILLS ON THIS TRAIL!!! I always carry a "brake pole" (similar to a hockey stick with a rubber foot instead of a blade). I drag it to slow my speed; I have never skated the 20 miles without needing to use it.

Approach it cautiously, control your speed, and enjoy the trail!

First Sighting of a Grizzly Bear and Hopefully the Last

Was working in Anchorage and Fairbanks on travel assignments. Rode this beautiful windy uphill trail from Bird to Alyeska Resort. Ok I know you want to know about the trail, but I want to describe the bear. I saw many a moose while working in Anchorage, not so in Fairbanks, but the bear on the trail will stay in my memory till I die or get dementia. One of my travel nurse buddies paid $800 to take a bush flight to see the bears and here we were a stones throw from one for the price of a bike rental. (We were on assignment in Fairbanks and few to Anchorage for a cosmopolitan weekend) The bear got wind of our sent looked up tilted his head and headed to the woods. We rode on to Alyeska threw down some liquid courage and rode back FAST DOWNHILL WITH 50 MILE AN HOUR TAIL WINDS. It could not have been more exciting!! (They even closed the airport for several hours due to the high winds.) It amazes me how fast one can ride down hill, with tail winds, under the influence, and screaming most of the way-to warn the bears of course. If in Anchorage (and an avid biker) this trail is splendid and should not be missed.

Great Trail

A perfect ride the trail has a few hills and excellent vistas. Bike to Girdwood have ice cream or lunch and then bike back.

Bird to Gird Pathway

This is a great trail, which travels alongside the Alaska Railroad right of way down Turnagain Arm, just south of Anchorage. It connects the communities of Bird and Girdwood, hence the name. ( I think it's called Bird because the original residents didn't know how to spell Ptarmigan, Alaska's state bird...) There are often sightings of Beluga whales and Dall sheep along the way, and always the entertainment of the ravens and magpies so common in Alaska skies. Some of the trail travels through wooded areas, and near the start of the path, at Bird Creek, there is a small state campground--a perfect place to park and ride. Or to camp overnight, if you are making this a part of a longer trip.

The trail is mostly flat, at least when it is following the railroad right of way. But about halfway along, the trail passes under the Seward Highway and follows the old road, now bike path, up and over a point of land. Even then, once you are up on the hill, out of noise of the traffic below, the path levels out until you get close to the Girdwood road turnoff. After that it is all slightly uphill to the town and ski resort, where there is a wonderful cafe and bakery to refresh yourself at!

And speaking of refreshing one's self, there are toilets at the campground, at a vehicular rest area just where the bike path goes under the highway, and at a rest station on the path very close to the Girdwood road intersection. This is a delightful afternoon interlude, only about 30 miles south of Anchorage. One more proof that the nice thing about Anchorage is that it's only a short distance from Alaska!

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