Stampede Trail
The Stampede Trail in Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 was a mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 trail blazed in the 1930s by Alaska miner Earl Pilgrim to access his antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

 claims on Stampede Creek, above the Clearwater Fork of the Toklat River. Located in Denali Borough; what is now known as Stampede Road begins two miles north of Healy at Mile 251.1 of the George Parks Highway (Alaska Route 3), the main highway connecting Anchorage and Fairbanks.

In 1961, Yutan Construction won a contract from the new state of Alaska to upgrade the trail as part of Alaska's Pioneer Road Program, building a road on which trucks could haul ore from the mines year-round to the railroad. The project was halted in 1963 after some fifty miles of roads were built, but no bridges were ever constructed over the several rivers it crossed, and the route was shortly rendered impassable by thawing permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

 and floods. The trail has since been used by backcountry travelers on foot, bicycle, snowmachine
A snowmobile, also known in some places as a snowmachine, or sled,is a land vehicle for winter travel on snow. Designed to be operated on snow and ice, they require no road or trail. Design variations enable some machines to operate in deep snow or forests; most are used on open terrain, including...

, and motorcycle
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...


The trail's main obstacle is the crossing of the Teklanika River
Teklanika River
The Teklanika River is a feeder stream to the Yukon River drainage and a tributary of the Nenana River in the central interior region of Alaska. Flowing northward from headwaters at the Cantwell Glacier in the Alaska Range and reaching to the Tanana River, it drains an area widely visited by...

. The river's fluctuating depth can hinder attempts to ford it. In August of 2010, flooding resulted in the drowning death of Claire Ackermann, a hiker from Switzerland.

Into the Wild

The trail gained notoriety in 1992 when Outside magazine
Outside (magazine)
Outside is an American magazine focused on the outdoors. The first issue debuted in September 1977 with its mission statement declaring that the publication was "dedicated to covering the people, sports and activities, politics, art, literature, and hardware of the outdoors..."Its founders were...

 published an article written by Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

 titled "Death of an Innocent" describing the death of Christopher McCandless
Christopher McCandless
Christopher Johnson McCandless was an American hitchhiker who adopted the name Alexander Supertramp and hiked into the Alaskan wilderness in April 1992 with little food and equipment, hoping to live for a time in solitude...

, who had lived in a bus parked on an overgrown section of the trail near Denali National Park. The old bus had been left behind by the Yutan Construction Company during the road building to serve as a backcountry shelter for hunters, trappers and ranger patrols. The bus can be seen on Google Earth (63°52′06.23"N 149°46′09.49"W) and Google Maps.

In recent years, the trail has seen a pilgrimage of visitors seeking where McCandless perished. The September 2007 release of the film version
Into the Wild (film)
Into the Wild is a 2007 American biographical drama film directed by Sean Penn. It is an adaptation of 1996 non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer based on the travels of Christopher McCandless across North America in the early 1990s. The film stars Emile Hirsch as McCandless with...

 of Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

's 1996 book about McCandless, Into the Wild, has revived interest in the trail.
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