Boating in Chugach State Park
There are many opportunities to explore non-motorized boating within Chugach State Park. Whether by sailboat, kayak, raft, or canoe, here are several places you can start your adventure. Motorized boats are not allowed on any water bodies within Chugach State Park with the exception of electric motors on Eklutna Lake. (AAC 11.20.025)
Please visit the Alaska Boating Safety Program for information related to safety on the water. Wear a life jacket.
Eklutna Lake provides the majority of the boating in the park.
Boats with electric motors (AAC 11.20.025) are allowed on Eklutna Lake, which requires a short walk to the lake. Plan on carrying your boat down to the water. Sailboats have been known to be used on the lake as well. Be aware that sometimes, strong winds develop during the afternoon.
Kayaking and canoeing are the most common way people explore the lake, and rentals are readily available at the Lifetime Adventures rental cabin.
Eagle River is a common place for many people to raft, canoe, or kayak. No motorized boats are allowed on the river. There is a popular 3-4 hour trip from Mile 7.4 access to the Eagle River Greenbelt Access depending on river conditions. BE AWARE Eagle River has claimed several lives due to sweepers, strainers, rapids, and unexpected river conditions coupled with boaters experience. Plan your trip well. Talk to others who have done the float trip.
There are several put in’s, the first is Mile 7.4 Eagle River Road. It has latrines and a good parking area. ($5 day use fee) Water at this location can be low because it is a tributary of the main river. You can hike your gear out to the main channel using the trail that leaves on the upriver side of the parking lot. The second location is Mile 10 Eagle River Road. It is a small pullout that provides direct access to the river. This main section of the river is Class I. There are plenty of pullouts for lunch and looking at the sights. Be cautious in this area for full river sweepers and tree debris.
Take outs for the Eagle river trip depend on your ability. Eagle River Greenbelt Access (Briggs Bridge) takeout has a large sign seen from the river pointing you to the take out on the south side of the river. Eagle River Greenbelt Access (Briggs Bridge) is accessible off the Eagle River Loop Road. ($5 day use fee) If you are more advanced and are familiar with the Campground Rapids, you can take out at the Eagle River Campground. Class levels of the rapids depend on water levels (Class II/III). Individuals should definitely have a look from the campground before attempting this section.
Below the Glenn Highway Bridge crossing you enter Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and a permit from the military is required. More information can be found here: http://jber.isportsman.net/
Pack Rafting is becoming a popular activity in Chugach State Park. The most common area is Eagle River.
Eagle River- (Class I- III) Hike in from Girdwood or up from the Nature Center. Put in at the river ford site which is about halfway between Girdwood and the Eagle River Nature Center. The trip consists of many sweepers, strainers, and braided tributaries. The take out is above the rapids at Echo Bend. Have knowledge of locations before you go. There are no signs visible on this section. Entering the rapids immediately following Echo Bend unprepared could result in serious injury and death. (Class III-IV)