Want to feel like you’ve ventured deep into the mountains without walking all day? The Rapids Camp Yurt grabs some of the best views in the Eagle River Valley. The yurt and its viewing deck are perched high, giving their inhabitants a feeling they are standing among the peaks around them. In summer, the sound of the river running provides a soothing white noise.
This rustic log cabin nestles into the forest about 1.5 miles up the Iditarod Trail off on a side trail. It has the feel of an old-time Alaskan trapper’s home. Although perched at the edge of hard-core wilderness — deep inside the mountains — this cabin is close to trails maintained by the Nature Center itself, giving families with small children the option of combining short hikes with education. The facilities can also be used as a first-night stop for people doing the Cross Pass Crossing to Girdwood. They will be quiet: no motorized recreation allowed.
Located at the back of Eklutna Lake, Serenity Falls is one of Alaska’s largest huts. With an enormous bank of windows facing the falls and a mountain so high as to nearly block the sky, the place feels as though you have crossed into the alpine realm. Yet it’s a relatively easy 12-mile hike or bike along the wide, flat Eklutna Lakeside Trail, making it a great choice for families with kids or large groups.
Nestled just off the Seward Highway near Bird Creek, these two new, spacious cabins might allow you to fulfill almost any family-friendly Alaskan recreation fantasy in a single weekend. They offer unmatched options for all kinds of activities — biking, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing — with exceptionally easy access by car.
If you’d like to spend the night listening to the rush of a wild river, visit this snug yurt overlooking Eagle River with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Located less than two miles form the Nature Center off the Albert Loop Trail, the yurt sleeps up to four, with two on wooden bunks and two on the floor. It features a deck, two chairs and a table, plus a wood stove with firewood stacked in a shed. Eagle River is your water source.
Located about four miles south on the western shore of Eklutna Lake inside Chugach State Park, the new, spacious Kokanee Cabin offers backcountry paddling and skiing with a strong wilderness vibe. Off the trail system and reachable only by traveling across the lake, the cabin is surrounded by forest that’s seen almost no human use. With this isolation, it’s a place that asks for self-sufficiency and gives solitude, plus a taste of what it might feel like to be a pioneer on a remote lake.
New in 2016, Dolly Varden Cabin offers the same recreation opportunities that you’d find while car camping in the Eklutna Campground, but you sleep inside an insulated, propane-heated cabin with loads of space. Aimed at people who might want to experience the paddling, biking, hiking and climbing possibilities of the stunning Eklutna Valley, but don’t want to “rough it” or chop wood for heating.
The Yukla Yurt can be used as a first-night stop for people doing the Cross Pass Crossing to Girdwood. It's also a great base for exploring the valley or for taking a hike on the upper half of the Dew Mound Trail. The area will be quiet: no motorized recreation allowed. This yurt is the furthest from Nature Center, with a more remote feel than Rapids Camp Yurt.
With exceptionally easy access for families, Yuditna Creek cabin may be one of the most versatile backcountry cabins in the state, whether cycling, skiing or hiking. Located at the end of a three-mile trip down a mostly flat trail along Eklutna Lake into the heart of Chugach State Park, the cabin offers a perfect base for all-day adventures in a spectacular mountain valley.