Copper Basin 300 Race Info

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Race Checkpoints, Distances and Facilities:

2018 Race Route:

The Copper Basin 300 sled dog race begins in downtown Glennallen, in front of the KCAM radio station.  From here, the trail parallels the Glenn Highway through Glennallen for ~ 2 miles to it’s junction with the Richardson Highway, then turns left and follows the Richardson Highway north.

The race route parallels the Richardson Highway north for ~ 13 miles, crossing from the west side of the highway to the east side by traversing a short section of the Gulkana River under the highway bridge, then continues on northward for ~ 2 miles to the intersection of the Richardson Highway with the Tok Cut-Off Highway.  

Adjacent to the Richardson Highway intersection with the Tok Cut-Off Highway, the trail turns northeastward, paralleling the Tok Cut-Off Highway towards the first checkpoint at Chistochina (a total distance of ~ 33 miles).  The trail passes through Gakona, crossing the lower reach of the Gakona River here to access the north side of the highway.  The trail then gains elevation when following the historic Valdez to Eagle Trail out of Gakona.  

At approximately MP 33 of the Tok Cut-Off Hwy, the race trail crosses the road under a high visibility light tower (provided by Alyeska) and is manned by volunteers to ensure safe passage for sled dog teams to the east side of the highway.  The first checkpoint is then ~ ½ mile further on across the airfield at the Red Eagle Lodge, where warm shelter is available to race participants, officials and spectators.  Total distance from race start in Glennallen to Chistochina checkpoint is 49 miles.

At this point in time, Lodge owners are uncertain whether food items will be available to purchase.  However, food and drink are available further up the road and trail at Posty’s Sinona Creek Trading Post. From the Chistochina checkpoint, the race course follows the paved bicycle path to it’s intersection with Sinona Creek, then along the creek bed under the highway bridge and then further along while paralleling the highway to the Chistochina River trailhead.

The race trail then turns northward again at the Chistochina River trailhead and follows this traditional use trail ever northwestward.  The race trail crosses Excelsior Creek approximately 37 miles from the Chistochina checkpoint, then up and over the Hump (elevation 4,085 feet) 41½ miles out of Chisto checkpoint, followed by a crossing of the upper Gakona River ~ 45 miles above the Chistochina checkpoint.

Once across the Gakona River, the trail heads due west until it’s intersection with the Alyeska pipeline corridor.  From here, the trail follows the pipeline south for 16 miles until a point where the race course leaves the pipeline to follow an access road west 1½ miles toward the second checkpoint at Meier’s Lake Roadhouse.  From the upper Gakona River crossing to Meier’s Lake checkpoint is ~ 22 miles.  Total distance from Chistochina checkpoint to the Meier’s Lake checkpoint is ~ 68 miles.

A second manned road crossing just before the Meier’s Lake checkpoint will be highly visible to all oncoming traffic with an established light tower in place provided by Alyeska.

Meier’s Lake Roadhouse offers warm lodging and hot food to race participants, officials, and spectators alike. From the Meier’s Lake checkpoint, the race course heads westward along the Middle Fork Trail for ~ 7 miles to the first Gulkana River crossing, at which point the race trail turns southward and intersects Twelvemile Creek ~ 8½ miles out of Meier’s Lake checkpoint.  The third checkpoint at BLM’s Sourdough Campground is another 24½ miles further on down the trail.  Total distance from Meier’s Lake checkpoint to Sourdough Creek is ~ 40 miles.

The Sourdough checkpoint is situated at an access point to the Gulkana River, just off the Richardson Highway.  The nearby Sourdough Lodge is closed; no food or lodging is available here.  However, the checkpoint provides warm shelter for race participants and officials.

From Sourdough, the race trail crosses the Gulkana River again and heads southwestward toward the fourth checkpoint at Mendeltna, a total cross-country distance of ~ 75 miles.  The trail through this section skirts or crosses over numerous lakes including Fish Lake (19 miles out of Sourdough), Crosswind Lake (32 miles out of Sourdough), and Lake Louise (52 miles out of Sourdough).  The Lake Louise crossing is a distance of just over 3 miles from the lake’s eastern edge to the point where the trail leaves the ice on the lake’s southern edge, and then the trail heads due south towards the Mendeltna Creek Lodge checkpoint.  

At the Lake Louise State Recreation Area public access boat launch, a safety checkpoint is available with bales of straw and easy access to the road system for assistance. Heading southward from here, the race course parallels the Lake Louise Road for ~12 miles before deviating a short distance westward and then south again cross-country.

The Mendeltna Creek Lodge checkpoint along the Glenn Highway (MP 153) provides warm lodging to race participants and officials.  

From the Mendeltna checkpoint, the race trail parallels the Glenn Highway for ~ 27 miles until it’s intersection with the Ewan Lake trail.  The race trail then turns left and due north for ~ 12 miles to it’s intersection with the Cindy Trail which runs east and west.  

From this intersection, the race course heads due east on the Cindy Trail until it’s intersection with an Alyeska pipeline road, which then accesses the Richardson Highway again at milepost 126.6.  Distance along this leg of the race trail is ~12 miles.From the race course’s intersection with the Richardson Highway, the trail turns due south again, headed towards the finish line in Glennallen, a distance of ~ 12 miles paralleling the Richardson Highway. Approximate total distance from the Mendeltna Creek Lodge checkpoint to the finish line in Glennallen at Old Paths Baptist Church is ~ 63 miles.

Total race trail distance from start to finish

is approximately 295 miles.