Yukon Quest Trail Information
In 2022, the Yukon Quest will be running four races, the YQ300& YQ100 in the Yukon and the YQ550 & YQ200 in Alaska. The four races will run over 1,000 miles through 11 communities in Alaska and Yukon, following historic Northern travel routes.
- YQ200 ALASKA – Circle to Fairbanks (Below has the information for this link)
- Yukon Quest Trail Map (same image as 1000 mile)
- Yukon Quest Distance Chart (same image as 100 mile)
- 2022 Race Approximation Schedule (required update)
- The Race in Action (required update)
- Where to Watch the Race (required update)
- Mushers' Guide to the Trail (required update)
YQ200 ALASKA – CIRCLE TO FAIRBANKS
Circle City to Central: (approx. 75 miles)
Leaving Circle you are on the road for ¼ mile, then off on a trap line trail, (right side), for 8 miles to Birch Creek. Expect it to be 15 degrees colder on Birch Creek than in Circle. 15 miles of Birch Creek will bring you to Carl Cochran’s place which may or may not be open. Just out from Carl’s you cross under the highway bridge, (Steese Highway); it is a short 50 miles to Central, with 30 plus miles on Birch Creek. It is winding, endless, and almost always the coldest section of the Yukon Quest. Be prepared for minus 60. Expect overflow and beautiful Northern Lights…
Birch Creek will noticeably narrow and soon you leave the creek on the southwest bank for a 11 mile run to the Circle Hot Springs road; much of this run is through exposed swamps. Medicine Lake is just past half-way. You cross the Hot Springs airstrip and parallel the road for 8 miles on the power line to the Central checkpoint. Good parking for dogs, good facilities for mushers.
Central to Mile 101: (approx. 28 miles)
You leave Central on the highway, make a small detour off the left side a mile out to avoid a blind corner, cross the road and run a 14 mile section thru swamps, firebreaks and mining areas. At the base of Eagle Summit you will cross the Steese Highway and again be in a mining district while gradually climbing 9 miles toward the summit. There is an important dogleg in this climb; ½ mile below the top you will come to the first of 13 large tripods which mark the route. You will angle right, keeping the higher slopes of the mountain on your left and slightly drop before turning sharply back left and climbing the last ¼ mile on the steepest section of the trail. This is almost always very hard windblown snow. Remove booties for traction, some mushers carry ice cleats for their boots for here. The top of Eagle Summit is less than ¼ mile wide, windblown with tundra showing.
Braking down the 101 side is fair, however, and it is not as steep. 6 miles to checkpoint Mile 101, straight down the valley. Watch for windblown ice, overflow, and bare gravel. There are fair facilities here for dogs and mushers. You are just shy of 39 miles to Chena Hotsprings Rd., a bit over 41 to the next checkpoint.
Mile 101 to 52 Chena Hotsprings Rd: (approx. 41 miles)
Leaving 101 you will follow along the road for 7 miles, in and out of the ditch or on a parallel trail depending on overflow. Near 94 mile of the Steese, you leave the edge of the road and drop into the Birch Creek headwaters. There will be a few overflowed creeks over the next few miles as you travel up the valley on your way to Rosebud Summit. You cross Birch Creek one last time and begin the long ascent toward Rosebud; it is a 5 mile steady climb.
Once near the top, Rosebud Summit consists of a series of short climbs and descents, it usually is pretty good traveling, with fair braking on the down hills. The last descent drops you into the timber at the head of the N. Fork of the Chena River. A very steep descent through burned timber; watch for tree roots that catch your brake; avoid trees when possible… It’s about 14 miles to Chena Hotsprings Rd. from the pass, another 3 to the checkpoint at mile 52 of the Hot Springs Rd. You will have an 8-hour mandatory layover here. Use it wisely and remember that you are around 70 miles from the finish line.
Two Rivers Checkpoint to Fairbanks: (approx. 72 miles)
Watch for recreational teams, snow machines and skiers from here to town. 2 miles out from the checkpoint you pass Angel Creek. The trail crosses under the Chena Hot Springs road two times---the first crossing is 28 miles from Pleasant Valley, the second 24 miles. This section of trail is well-traveled and relatively fast; expect overflow at the creeks as everywhere.
2 miles before Pleasant Valley Store you will cross over the Chena Hot Springs road. Watch for traffic. The trail runs parallel to the road past the store and turns left to run down Pleasant Valley road. This is a subdivision road with occasional traffic; it is plowed and icy—tough to hook down. You will go straight off the road and then turn right on to a very well-maintained dog trail which leads 15 miles west before turning south 2 miles and dropping onto the Chena River. You are then on the river all of the way to the finish. You will cross under the Nordale Road Bridge about 5½ miles after reaching the Chena River, it’s another 17 miles to downtown Fairbanks and the Banner.