IMBA EPIC Ride - Johnson Pass, Alaska


A great classic Alaska backcountry ride. This demanding single-track, part of the Iditarod National Historic Trail, was built during Alaska's historic gold rush era. Beautiful views and a breathtaking waterfall are just some of the ride's highlights.


The trail tread is mostly fast and flowy, but there are plenty of shorter sections of rock and root gardens. Unlike Resurrection Pass, Devil's Pass, or Lost Lake, riding above the treeline is limited to a mile or two at the pass. Two lakes at the pass provide an opportunity to cool off and have lunch.


The north and south trailheads are 30 miles apart on the Seward Highway for shuttling cars.

Food and drink

The nearest township is Cooper Landing with a population of around 300 people. Cooper Landing has a small grocery store with basic supplies.

Trail map

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34.864 km / 21.664 mi

Total Distance

780 m / 2,559 ft

Total Ascent

829 m / 2,721 ft

Total Descent

456 m / 1,496 ft

Highest Point

Additional Info:

Riding this trail north to south is most popular; however, there are fun descents on both ends of the trail.

Riding North to South (traditional route) has a mostly steady climb. Up 50 feet, down 20, up 50, down 20. There are many steep semi-technical spots. The trail has a little bit of everything...loose shale, hero dirt, water crossings, technical rocks. Once past Johnson Lake, you get a great 5 mile downhill, a short climb, then 2.5 mile downhill, followed by rolling terrain to the south trailhead.

Be mindful going into blind corners, as there are some cliffy areas.

This trail is best to ride early Summer or very late Summer. Overgrowth makes it very difficult to ride during mid-summer, while snow and avalanche paths make it difficult in the Springtime. Downed trees across the trail and numerous shallow water crossings are often present in early or mid-June.

Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
Fitness Level: Medium
MTB Segment: cross country
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Gravel Road
Trail Signage: Average
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle
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