Want to let the kids romp on a beach beneath a million-dollar view of mile-high peaks? Paddle a pristine lake? Inspect the way-cool, rustic spillway of an old dam?
Tucked into the woods at the northern foot of Eklutna Lake in Chugach State Park, this campground offers families unique access to a mountain wilderness valley laced with interesting features and 25-mile network of multi-use trails.
With 50 sites on a quiet loop, plus eight overflow sites in the adjacent day-use area, the campground provides outhouses, campfire rings, water pump, picnic tables and many flat, easy-walking paths for evening strolls.
The ‘Inland Sea’ Awaits
You’re never more than a few minutes from the shore of seven-mile-long Eklutna Lake itself, what the park calls “an inland sea.” Fed by snowmelt and glacial streams, the lake contributes 30 million gallons a year to Anchorage drinking water, and feeds a power station that produces three percent of the region’s electricity.
If paddling or beachcombing grows old, the campground connects to the lakeside trail, a mostly flat route straight into the backcountry.
There’s lots for a family to do while camping at Eklutna Lake.
- Bike the lakeside trail. This easy-to-maneuver route reaches 12 miles to the head of Eklutna Lake and beyond. Never far from the shore, the trail is popular for introducing kids to mountain biking. A great destination is the beach beyond Yuditna Creek, three miles out, known to collect big piles of driftwood that people use to build tipi-like shelters.
- Hike to tundra. Starting just across a creek from the parking area, Twin Peaks Trail climbs 1,500 feet in 2.5 miles on a well-marked route suitable for all ages.
- Cruise around the campground trails. A network of walking and biking paths lace the forest just west of the camping areas and are ripe for exploration. Some lead to the Eklutna Lake dam and its decades old spillway into the Eklutna River, with access to the valley’s remote western slopes.
- Paddle the lake. Closed to motorized boats, Eklutna’s pristine waters are open to hand-powered watercraft. (A concessionaire often rents canoes and kayaks.) Bring PFDs!
- Fish for Dolly Varden char. These feisty and tasty fish will hit spinners and flies, especially near stream mouths.
- Rent a public use cabin. One cabin is inside the campground, two are on the lake, and a multi-party backcountry hut is a dozen miles out. Here is more available information for Eklutna Lake Kokanee Cabin, Serenity Falls Hut (Eklutna Lake), Eklutna Lake Dolly Varden Cabin, and Yuditna Creek Cabin.