CHUGACH STATE PARK
Beyond the foothills at Anchorage's edge lies the third largest state park in America -- a half-million acres of some of the most accessible hiking, skiing, camping, wildlife viewing, snowmachining, rafting, and climbing in Alaska. Those of us lucky enough to live here feel the influence of Chugach State Park almost daily. The mountainous backdrop to Anchorage reminds us that, although we live in an urban setting, we really reside in the middle of a vast wilderness. The Chugach foothills are a beacon for changing weather and resident wildlife have been known to wander into town.
There is one public use rental cabin at Eklutna Lake. The Eagle River Nature Center has a cabin and a yurt for rent. Cabins and yurt in both areas have a fee and reservations are required.
There are three campgrounds in Chugach State Park, offering experiences ranging from fishing, hiking, whitewater rafting, wildlife viewing, and spectacular sunsets. Two are north of Anchorage -- one at Eklutna Lake, and one on Eagle River -- and the third is south of Anchorage at Bird Creek.
All have wooded sites with fire rings and picnic tables, water and latrines. Campground hosts offer assistance and answer questions about the area. Firewood is often available near the host's site for a small fee. Campsites for organized groups are available by reservation at Eklutna Lake Group Use Site.
Non-motorized boats, or boats with an electric motor, can be used on Eklutna Lake, where they must be hand launched. Whitewater rafting and kayaking are permitted on Eagle River.
Dolly Varden can be found in the spring at Eagle River and in the feeder streams at Eklutna Lake. Bird Creek hosts pink salmon in June and July, and silvers in August. A new fishery for king salmon has opened in Eagle River. Many other lakes and streams throughout the Anchorage area are stocked with rainbow trout.