This trail starts out on a boardwalk, but shortly afterwards turns onto a trail that traverses the right side of the valley as you head away from the parking area. Some people choose to go straight up to a pass that looks down on Ship Creek and is a high ridge traverse. However, if you continue down the main trail, it eventually drops down to the South Fork of the Eagle River and a couple miles further to two lakes, Eagle and Symphony, that nestle together towards the end of the valley. Interestingly, despite their close proximity, the lakes get their water from different sources; one from glacial run-off and the other from snow melt and ground water. This causes the water colors to vary dramatically from one lake to the next so you'll note the color of one as deep blue and the other as turquoise. Little elevation is gained on the way to the lakes, so this is a great trail for cross country skiing or running. Backcountry camping is available at the lakes and multiple other routes lead out of this area to high terns, or peaks, glaciers, etc.
Berry picking is a popular activity in the valley, though it requires some effort to access. If you're after low-bush blueberries, you'll need to hike a ways to get out of the last of the spruce trees and into the alpine areas.
This trail is undergoing renovations, some of which is highly controversial. To understand more about what you see and experience, read this article by the Anchorage Daily News that provides some insights.
Directions: To get to the trail head, take Eagle River Loop/Hiland Drive exit off the Glenn Highway. Follow it onto Hiland Drive, which veers off to the right, and follow it up and over the South Fork of Eagle River. Just after the South Fork Bridge, take a right onto South Creek and follow it to West River Drive where you'll take a right. The parking lot is on your left.
Distance: 4.8 miles