Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

1st Annual Mineshaft Grinder Race on August 17th

April 30, 2019


The Mineshaft Grinder Race

One of the missions of KMTA is to promote and preserve the history of the National Heritage Area. This August, KMTA will celebrate the mining history by ushering racers up Palmer Creek Road in the inaugural Mineshaft Grinder. Participants will chose between Gold, Silver, or Quartz Grinders on Saturday, August 17.

  • The Gold Grinder is an uphill-only bike race for riders to grind up ~1900’ gain over ~11 miles. At the end of Palmer Creek Road, riders may opt to work their claim for a time deduction by hauling a bucket of rocks a short distance along the roadway before joining friends for an untimed social ride back down.
  • Runners will race both up and down hill, turning at ~2 miles with ~300’ gain for the Quartz Grinder or at the switchbacks ~4 miles in with ~1200’ gain for the Silver Grinder

Mineshaft Grinder Race Options

  • Quartz and Silver Grinders (Running): $35 adults, $15 youth. Start: 10:30 AM
  • Gold Grinder (Biking): $50 adults, youth contact the race director for entry. Start: 10:00 AM

Other Good Info to Know

  • Bib pickup will include a helmet (for cyclists) and safety check at Hope School from 9-10:15 am.
  • Parking is limited, please carpool if possible.
  • Palmer Creek Road will remain open to vehicle traffic throughout the day and racers are required to follow the rules of the road.
  • Spectators are encouraged to bike or hike to cheer on their friends.
  • All races start at Hope School for a safer transition to Palmer Creek Road.
  • We will celebrate winners, door prizes, and August in Hope at race sponsor Creekbend Café at 1 pm.

Fundraiser for Hope School and the KMTA NHA

Race proceeds will benefit our partner Hope School and the community heritage programs of the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area.

Thank you to our sponsors: more fun and greater impact!

Turnagain Kayak & Coffeehouse is a Hope-based paddlesport education company that offers coffee and food and equipment rental, sale, classes… and coffee.

Jaffa Construction is a family-owned business that services power plants across Alaska.

Awards celebration venue host Creekbend Company offers Hope hospitality, fantastic food & magical music events.

Lael Wilcox rides the Palmer Creek Road August 8, 2017, in Hope, Alaska. (Rugile Kaladyte)

Race Sign Up

To sign up for the race click here.  

Not racing… please volunteer instead!

We are looking for volunteers in the following areas:

  • Course Staging and Support (9 AM-1:30 PM)
  • Awards and Cleanup (1 PM-3 PM)

To volunteer please click here.


Have questions email Lia Slemons at

The Why Behind the Mineshaft Grinder

August in Palmer Creek Valley is a special time, when fireweed is in full bloom and alpine ridges may sport sun or snow. In August of 1911, John Hirshey staked four claims at the head of Palmer Creek. Gold sparkled throughout one of the quartz veins in the August light. Hirshey pulled together the finances to build and operate a stamp mill at the mine, which he named Lucky Strike. Lucky Strike was not a one-season wonder. Hirshey’s operation became the most consistent lode gold producer of the Kenai Peninsula.

Hirshey Mine Circa Early 20th Century Photo provided by Hope-Sunrise Historical Society

Palmer Creek Circa Early 20th Century Photo provided by Hope-Sunrise Historical Society


This race is under permit Chugach National Forest.

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