Eklutna Lake in Chugach State Park
Eklutna Lake Valley, in the midst of the towering Chugach Mountains is a scenic area for year-round recreation. Take the Eklutna Lake exit at Mile 26 on the Glenn Highway, and follow park signs ten miles to Eklutna Lake.
Summer visitors enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, climbing, picnicking, fishing, boating, and riding ATVs. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, dog mushing, and snowmobiling. Camping, wildlife-viewing and photography may be enjoyed in any season.
Eklutna Lake Campground has 50 campsites, water, latrines, picnic
tables and fire pits. An overflow camping area has 15 sites. Camping
fees are posted, and camping is allowed for 15 consecutive nights.
Interpretive displays and a telescope for viewing wildlife and lake activities are located near the trailhead parking area. There is a picnic shelter for group activities in the day-use area. A large group picnic and camping area may be reserved by calling the Public Information Center at 269-8400. Facilities are accessible to those experiencing physical disabilities.
For backcountry camping with some conveniences, there are two remote
campgrounds along the Lakeside Trail: Eklutna Alex Campground at mile
8.8, and Kanchee (porcupine in Athapaskan) at mile 11. These can be reached
by foot, bicycle, ATV, horseback or snowmachine. There are toilets in
each campground and a picnic table and fire ring at each campsite. There
is no fee for staying in these campgrounds.
The Eklutna Glacier carved this valley as it retreated,
leaving horizontal scarring on rock formations as evidence of its passage.
Glacial and freshwater streams flowing into the valley created
the 7-mile-long lake.
The lake is an excellent place to canoe, kayak, fish, wind surf, sail and motorboat. However, the weather can change rapidly in this valley, bringing sudden high winds, especially in the afternoon. Watch the weather closely and always wear a personal flotation device when boating.
Non-motorized boats, or boats with an electric motor, are allowed on Eklutna Lake. Boats must be carried by hand from the parking lot to the lake, a distance of up to several hundred feet depending on the level of the lake. It is high in the fall but as much as 60 feet lower in the spring. Very little water enters the lake during the cold winter months but it fills rapidly in the summer with rain, snow and glacial melt.
Prior to June 4th, 2004, non-powered boats 10 feet or greater in length used on any water of the state were required to be registered. These boats are no longer required to be registered; however, you may register a non-powered boat if you wish to.
The best fishing spots are at the spillway near the south side of the picnic area, and where the Twin Peaks, Yuditnu, Bold and Eight-mile creeks flow into the lake. Dolly Varden, the most abundant fish in the lake, are caught most often with salmon eggs and spinners.
Eklutna Lake feeds a power plant and provides drinking water for the Anchorage area.
The vegetation surrounding Eklutna Lake varies with the elevation. A dense forest of spruce and birch dominates lower elevations. Ferns, mushrooms, and wildflowers such as dwarf dogwood, fireweed, and the parasitic broomrape cover the forest floor. At higher elevations the forests are replaced by fields of wildflowers such as mountain avens. Observe the change from wild beach pea, Sitka burnet and wild geranium on lower slopes to nootka lupine, Indian paintbrush, spotted saxifrage and cut-leaf anemone further up, leading to the blueberries and mosses of the tundra.
Berry picking is popular in late summer and early fall. Highbush and lowbush cranberries, currants, raspberries, and watermelon berries grow along the lower trails. Blueberries, bearberries and crowberries are found higher up. Be careful to correctly identify berries before eating them as some are poisonous.
Moose, muskrats and waterfowl may be spotted near the lakeshore. Brown and black bears, wolves, and mountain goats, inhabit the wilderness regions of the park and Dall sheep are often seen on the steep hillsides. A rock face at mile 1 of the Lakeside Trail is a spring lambing area and a particularly good place to see sheep year-round.
Smaller mammals living in the area include fox, lynx, porcupine, hare, ground squirrel, ermine, marmot, vole, and pika. Golden eagles, hawks, ptarmigan, grouse and several varieties of songbirds nest in the area. A telephoto lens or binoculars will help you enjoy wildlife in its natural habitat.
Special precautions must be taken to avoid problems with bears. Do not leave food or garbage in the open or in your tent. Cook and eat at least 100 feet down-wind from your campsite. To avoid a surprise encounter with a bear, make noise when you travel - tie a bell to your pack, whistle, talk, or sing. Bears, like other animals, may feel threatened if you get too close, and when threatened their reactions are unpredictable.
Eklutna Lake Trail Guide Map
Eklutna Lake Area Trail Information