Did you know that there is a Himalayan Trail on campus? Me neither. But George found it and suggested a route for this week that will let you discover it as well. It’s fairly well hidden through the trees just up the hill behind Patty Center. It’s not a lighted trail so a headlamp could come in handy. And of course reflective gear is essential for getting around campus in the winter darkness.
We’ll start by heading east from Patty Center and down the hill past the power plant to the corner of College and University. Turn left on the bike path, but only go as far as the next left where you’ll turn in to the Taku Parking lot. Head up the hill where you’ll take a right turn behind the fine arts complex and then a left turn onto Yukon Drive. Go just past Wood Center and take another left onto the access road that will take you to the Chapman Building and a little-known roundabout. Veer to your right along the front of the building, through the parking lot, and up the hill along Ambler Lane. You can look down to your left to see Patty Center. Continue through the parking area and you’ll come to a sign that marks the start of the Himalayan Trail. You’ll shortly come to a Y in the trail where you will veer to the left instead of following the rest of the Himalayan Trail to the right. You’ll do some zigs and zags until you come out above the sledding hill. Stay to your right and go past the snow fence and onto the Equinox route. When you come out to the open field, keep heading diagonally up the hill above the greenhouse and back to Yukon Drive across from the museum. You can choose to bypass the Himalayan Trail by staying on Yukon Drive from Wood Center all the way to the museum. That’s the yellow line on the map.
Cross Yukon Drive at Sheejek and pass the museum on your right and the Murie Building on your left until you get to the back of the West Ridge parking area and take a left. Follow that around, pass the ski hut, and take a right into the parking area at the top of the hill where they shoot off the New Years Eve fireworks. Go around the gate onto the commuter trail, staying above the farm until you come out on the Sheep Creek bike path where the lighted UAF sign is. If you get to a groomed ski trail you’ve missed a left turn down to Sheep Creek. At the bike path, take a sharp left turn and follow it all the way back through the roundabout and back to Patty Center. Total distance is 4.4 miles. If you want to add to that, when you get to the Sheep Creek bike path, take a right instead and head out as far as you want and then turn around a return to Patty Center. If you went to Miller Hill and back, that would add on an extra 1.4 miles.