Things to Do in the Chugach National Forest

A hiker along the lush and green Berry Pass trail

Discover trails for hiking, backpacking, packrafting, and mountain biking. Photo courtesy of Haley Johnston.

1. Hike & Bike

Hundreds of miles of trails beckon from dozens of trailheads. The Trail of Blue Ice offers a flat, family-friendly outing through scenic Portage Valley. Devil’s Pass Trail is a popular portal for mountain bikers into the heart of the Kenai Mountains and Resurrection Pass. Johnson Pass Trail follows a portion of the pioneer wagon trail between Seward and Hope. See all Chugach National Forest parks & trails.

2. Camp

Williwaw Campground nestles close to Portage Valley recreation. Porcupine Campground allows you to explore the gold rush hamlet of Hope. The Russian River Campground is legendary for red salmon fishing with a classic Forest Service layout. In total, there are more than 20 official campgrounds, plus unlimited dispersed or backcountry camping.

A picnic table in a forest setting at Ptarmigan Creek Campground

There are more than 20 official campgrounds in the Chugach National Forest

A public use cabin in the Chugach National Forest

Choose from 40 public use cabins for your backcountry getaway

3. Rent a Cabin

Alaskans love to rent Chugach National Forest cabins. More than 40 public use cabins span the forest in all sorts of habitats, from remote beaches on islands to overlooks perched above glaciers to outposts in mountain passes. Reserve them well in advance, especially if you’re looking for weekend dates.

An Alaska Railroad Train at the Whistle Stop

Spencer Glacier is only accessible by The Alaska Railroad. Photo by Laura Kraus.

4. Do the Whistle Stop

For a unique outing to an active lake-terminating glacier, take the Glacier Discovery Train to the Spencer Glacier Whistlestop in the mountains beyond the head of Turnagain Arm.

Venders (here and here) offer guided hikes, mountaineering and kayaking amid icebergs, with camping and hiking options. The very popular Spencer Bench public use cabin offers a bird’s eye view of the scene.

Chugach things to do view wildlife Russian River Falls Russian River Falls 2

A brown bear fishes for dinner in the Russian River Falls

5. View Wildlife

With its unique highway access—often traversing valleys with sweeping views of surrounding mountains—the Chugach National Forest offers extraordinary potential to see wild animals during road trips. Try Tern Lake where the Seward and Sterling highways meet, with potential views of Dall sheep, mountain goats, black bears, moose, terns, swans and bald eagles. For a primal encounter with salmon determined to spawn, visit the Williwaw Fish Viewing Platform in Portage Valley or hike to the Russian River Falls. Marine wildlife thrives in Prince William Sound and Resurrection Bay, accessible aboard cruises out of Whittier, Valdez and Seward.

6. Visit Glaciers

Living, flowing ice dominates much of the national forest, with a glaciers perched in just about every alpine nook or remote valley. The famous Portage Glacier spills icebergs into its own lake, with an easy hike to Byron Glacier (where there be ice worms!) close by. The Begich, Boggs Visitor Center on the lakeshore features interactive displays and information about the glacier, plus general natural history, heritage and geography about the region. Or ride a marine charter to tidewater glaciers in Prince William Sound or Resurrection Bay from Whittier, Valdez and Seward.

Chugach things to do visit glaciers Portage Glacier Kathleen Barth KB Hi Res 140726 9277

The stunning Portage Glacier. Photo by Kathleen Barth.

Chugach National Forest Parks & Trails View All

This wildlife sweet spot is worth a vis­it. The Russ­ian Lakes Trail begins off the access road to the Russ­ian Riv­er Camp­ground in Coop­er Land­ing, at mile­post 52 of the Ster­ling High­way. Get off-the-beat­en path, hike two miles to the falls and enjoy the imme­di­ate reward of spec­tac­u­lar salmon viewing. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 8 miles

This 4.1‑mile trail starts through for­est and muskeg mead­ows. You’ll cross a beau­ti­ful bridge over a creek that in mid-July and August is full of spawn­ing chum salmon Then once you’re at the top take in views of Cor­do­va, Nel­son Bay, and Prince William Sound. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 9 miles

Pri­mar­i­ly built to pro­vide pack-rafters and kayak­ers access to the head­wa­ters of Twen­tymile Riv­er, this 9‑mile-long trail has also proved a draw for hik­ers — and with good rea­son. Just 45 min­utes south of Anchor­age, it makes for a very scenic hike into some high, wild, glac­i­er-girt­ed country.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 38 miles

This 38 mile long USFS trail starts in Hope and climbs Res­ur­rec­tion Pass (elev. 2,600) towards the south before descend­ing to the oppo­site trail­head near Coop­er Land­ing. There are 8 pub­lic use cab­ins along the trail, mak­ing this an advanced but com­fort­able day cab­in-to-cab­in hike. There are also 19 camp­sites avail­able for tent camping.

Locat­ed about 3 miles up a grav­el road from Snug Har­bor Road along Kenai Lake. A prim­i­tive camp­ing area is near­by over­look­ing the lake 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 700 feet

This leisure­ly, 0.75-mile trail begins just south of Whit­ti­er, a lit­tle sea­side town locat­ed some 2 hours south of Anchor­age. The trail doesn’t climb much, but it will take you high enough to get an unob­struct­ed view of numer­ous water­falls, includ­ing the long-drop­ping waters of Horse­tail Falls as it sheets over the sheer rock face of Black­stone Ridge. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 10 miles

Well-main­tained and suit­able for sum­mer hik­ing and bik­ing, the 10-mile Devil’s Pass Trail fea­tures a steep route up a spec­tac­u­lar V‑shaped val­ley that inter­sects with the Res­ur­rec­tion Pass Trail and a rental cab­in in the alpine realm. The coun­try is rugged, with great access to cross-coun­try tun­dra explo­ration and berry picking.

Difficulty: Easy

Win­ner Creek Trail in Gird­wood (45 min­utes south of Anchor­age) is one of our favorite trails to take vis­it­ing friends and fam­i­ly. It’s an easy 3‑mile hike or bike ride on a wide, well-devel­oped trail with gen­tle ele­va­tion gain that winds through America’s north­ern­most rain­for­est, cross­es a wood­en bridge over a thun­der­ing blue-water gorge, con­nects to a hand tram high above thrash­ing Glac­i­er Creek, then ends on Crow Creek Mine Road just below  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

If you have the abil­i­ty to trans­port bicy­cles, this trail makes for a great after­noon trip. The dirt path winds through the Portage Val­ley, pass­ing glacial lakes and end­ing at Portage Lake (this part of the trip is 5 miles each way). Make sure to bring your cam­era: you’ll see hang­ing glac­i­ers and, very like­ly, some wildlife.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 6 miles

This trail is a good day hike for the whole fam­i­ly. It alter­nates between open mead­ows and forests and offers the option of tent camp­ing or stay­ing in Cres­cent Lake Cab­in. There are options for longer hikes and there is a lot of wildlife to be seen such as moose, goats and bears.

Difficulty: Difficult

This trail is also called the Prim­rose trail at the north end. It begins in a beau­ti­ful rain­for­est and even­tu­al­ly takes you up to a mul­ti­ple of beau­ti­ful lakes in high meadows.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 3600 feet

This fam­i­ly-friend­ly, 2.5‑mile trail climbs 3,600 feet to a sum­mit halfway between the sea and the heavens

Distance: 4 miles

More a gat­ed road than a trail, this hike large­ly remains a local secret among the res­i­dents of Coop­er Land­ing, the fish­ing mec­ca locat­ed some 105 miles south of Anchor­age on Ster­ling High­way. Many in this town con­sid­er it their per­son­al get­away, which makes it quite a pop­u­lar secret. A fore­man for Chugach Elec­tric (the com­pa­ny that man­ages the dam on Coop­er Lake) said he often expe­ri­enced con­ges­tion while dri­ving to the dam, due to the heavy  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

The 23-mile John­son Pass Trail offers hik­ers, back­pack­ers and bik­ers a well-marked route through a lush pass in the Kenai Moun­tains — fea­tur­ing grad­ual climbs, two lakes with fish, spec­tac­u­lar peaks and some way cool gorges.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 11 miles

If you have some out­door expe­ri­ence and an adven­tur­ous spir­it, con­sid­er this 11-mile tra­verse up the Col­orado Creek val­ley and down the Sum­mit Creek. Begin­ning 2 hours south of Anchor­age, this tra­verse doesn’t involve any rock scram­bling, riv­er cross­ings, or ardu­ous bush­whack­ing. But if you feel com­fort­able hik­ing in wide and track­less coun­try, you may reap the reward of hav­ing an entire val­ley to yourself.

Difficulty: Easy

This short day hike — with an eas­i­ly acces­si­ble trail­head a few hun­dred meters from the Begich Bog­gs Vis­i­tor Cen­ter — offers you big views of the Byron Glacier.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 23 miles

The wild­flow­ers are abun­dant and ver­dant under­growth can be check high some­times. Most of the trail lies below tree­line, so there are estab­lished camp clear­ings along the way that are nes­tled into the trees. One of the best camp­sites is 10 miles in from the north­ern trail­head, set among trees on a spruce-cov­ered knoll look­ing over the trail and Bench Lake.

This is a day use site that offers 13 pic­nic sites with tables, a fish view­ing plat­form, water, toi­lets, an infor­ma­tion board, and fire grates.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 38 miles

This 38 mile long USFS trail climbs Res­ur­rec­tion Pass (elev. 2,600) and descends to the north to anoth­er trail­head­trail­head near Hope on Tur­na­gain Arm. There are 8 pub­lic use cab­ins along the trail, mak­ing this an advanced but com­fort­able day cab­in-to-cab­in hike. There are also 19 camp­sites avail­able along the trail.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles

This 2‑mile-long, fam­i­ly-friend­ly trail, which begins 90 min­utes south of Anchor­age at the far end of the Whit­ti­er Tun­nel, remains the only easy way to see Portage Glac­i­er on foot. And it’s has a spec­tac­u­lar con­clu­sion: After crest­ing Portage Pass, the trail drops through glacial scrub before pop­ping out on the wide grav­el shores of Portage Lake, direct­ly across from the snout of gor­geous Portage Glacier.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 21 miles Elevation Gain: 3500 feet

Con­sid­ered to be one of the best hikes in all of the Chugach Moun­tains, Crow Pass fol­lows a por­tion of the orig­i­nal Idi­tar­od Trail, includ­ing its high­est point. End to end, it’s a 21-mile trail, which most peo­ple do in 2 days, but just the first 4 miles will lead you past some breath­tak­ing scenery. Along the way you’ll find glac­i­ers, water­falls, wild­flow­ers, wildlife, mine ruins, and berries (in late August and Sep­tem­ber). Hik­ing is not  ...more

No oth­er min­ing trail on the Kenai Penin­su­la climbs as high or takes in more exten­sive views as the 6‑mile-long Crown Mine Trail. Begin­ning some 2 hours south of Anchor­age on the appro­pri­ate­ly named Mine Road just south of Trail Lake, this trail climbs to 3,900 feet above sea lev­el to a unique spot — a glacial cirque lit­tered with min­ing paraphernalia.

Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 1056 feet

Begin­ning 103 miles south of Anchor­age on the Seward High­way, the 3.5‑mile-long Ptarmi­gan Lake Trail makes for a fine fam­i­ly out­ing. The lake itself is a long and nar­row body of water squeezed between ridges and moun­tains that tow­er as high as 6,000 feet. It even offers a small beach upon which to relax and enjoy the view while cool­ing your feet.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 4 miles

If you want a great work­out — to stun­ning moun­tain views high above the val­ley floor below — but want to save your knees on the way down, this trail is for you. It leaves from the Alyeska Resort tram build­ing and climbs steep switch­backs 2.2 miles and 2000 feet to the mid-moun­tain restau­rant where you can catch a free aer­i­al tram ride back down to the hotel. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 21 miles

Pop­u­lar with hik­ers and back­pack­ers, this easy-to-fol­low trail con­nects the state’s most intense sock­eye salmon sports fish­ery with stun­ning moun­tain back­coun­try. It offers many of the Kenai Peninsula’s high­lights in one trip. The 21-mile route access­es Russ­ian Riv­er Falls, Low­er and Upper Russ­ian Lakes, Coop­er Lake, 3 fed­er­al­ly man­aged recre­ation­al cab­ins, and numer­ous campsites

Rent a moun­tain bike (and all the body armor you need) for a thrilling, two-wheel ride down Mt. Alyeska. Lessons and tours of the route are offered. Or, go for a hike on one of the many area trails, either with a guide or on your own. You can even strap on some cram­pons and go trekking on a glacier. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 8 miles

This mean­der­ing, sin­gle-track path leads to some of the Kenai Mountain’s most remote and frag­ile high coun­try. On a route once trekked by gold rush prospec­tors, this trail ascends from spruce for­est through the jun­gled zone of alders into a realm of sweep­ing tun­dra, with incred­i­ble views and pro­duc­tive berry pick­ing. Plus, the top of the nine-mile jour­ney ends in Res­ur­rec­tion Pass, about mid­way through the 39-mile Res­ur­rec­tion Pass Trail.

Difficulty: Moderate

This is an easy .8‑mile board­walk trail with lots of stairs. The board­walk leads to over­look of the Cop­per Riv­er Delta with many signs. Be sure to bring your cam­era, this is a great place to see moose and bear. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 2 miles

The hike begins through the for­est before it begins to climb. There are rock cairns to help guide you along the way. From the top, you’ll have impres­sive views of the Sheri­dan and Sher­man glaciers.

Difficulty: Easy

This 1,100 foot long wood­chip trail winds along the Kenai Riv­er. It was estab­lished in 1992 to pre­serve, pro­tect and inter­pret the Kenaitze Indi­an Tribe cul­tur­al and nat­ur­al resources in this area. This is also a good spot for fishing. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 19 miles

This is part of the Chick­aloon-Knik-Nelchi­na Trail Sys­tem. The trail is rough and indis­tinct and inter­con­nects with many oth­er trails in the sys­tem. There are many moose, cari­bou, brown bear and Dall sheep in the area. Sheep can­not be hunt­ed on Sheep mountain. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

These pop­u­lar trails lead to two beau­ti­ful, pris­tine lakes. Even bet­ter, they’re both easy hikes, which makes them per­fect for peo­ple of all ages. Bring a fish­ing pole and angle for stocked trout in Merid­i­an Lake or grayling in Grayling Lake.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles

The 3.3‑mile long trail is most­ly board­walk over muskeg. This is an excel­lent spot to bird-watch, look for water­fowl feed­ing on Eyak Lake. Trum­peter swans fre­quent this lake. Most fly south for the win­ter how­ev­er, up to 100 swans will win­ter here in this ice-free lake. 

Difficulty: Moderate

This trail fol­lows Pow­er Creek then leads it’s hik­ers up mul­ti­ple switch­backs. Mid­way, the Cor­do­va Elec­tric Hydropow­er Dam Can be seen from the trail. The last half pass­es by many beaver ponds and hang­ing glaciers. 

A Chugach clas­sic with big glac­i­er views, this trail is wide­ly con­sid­ered one of the best in Alas­ka! It begins out­side of Gird­wood and ends at the Eagle Riv­er Nature Cen­ter, with an option to pack­raft rough­ly 9 miles of Eagle Riv­er. Suit­able for a novice back­pack­er and begin­ner pack­rafter (if you choose the pack­raft­ing route option).

Difficulty: Difficult

This is a light­ly slop­ing trail that par­al­lels the Scott Val­ley and pass­es the shores of large and small lakes. The trail pass­es through an area that was pre­vi­ous­ly logged. It is not a well-main­tained trail. 

Difficulty: Easy

This trail is a con­nec­tor between the Hotel Alyeska and Crys­tal Moun­tain Rd. 

Difficulty: Moderate

The trail fol­lows the south end of Coop­er Lake and ends at Upper Russ­ian Lakes Cab­in, 13 miles from the win­ter trail­head. There is lit­tle ele­va­tion gain or loss on this forest­ed trail.

Difficulty: Moderate

This trail is basi­cal­ly a min­ing access trail that is very steep in the begin­ning, very wet in some places, but lev­els out to a beau­ti­ful moun­tain valley. 

Trails were estab­lished by prospec­tors trav­el­ing through the Tur­na­gain Pass area. The Ingram Creek trail fol­lowed the creek from Tur­na­gain Arm up to Tur­na­gain Pass. After the pass, the trail fol­lowed Gran­ite Creek to Sixmile Creek, which then led prospec­tors to Sun­rise and Hope.

Difficulty: Easy

The trail is hilly at first but then lev­els out for the remain­der of the hike. There are nice camp­sites at both ends of the lake. Hik­ers can also go check out the remains of an old min­ing cab­in on the east­ern shore of Ptarmi­gan Lake. 

Difficulty: Easy

We do not rec­om­mend this trail, because some­times the only access is across a rail­road trestle. 

Difficulty: Easy

The trail begins at mile 12.1 of the Seward High­way. Watch close­ly for the sign and pull into the off-high­way park­ing area. The trail begins as the Idi­tar­od Trail, and many improve­ments have been made to this sec­tion. The Troop Lake Trail branch­es off of this famous trail approx­i­mate­ly 1 mile from the start, reach­ing the lake about a half mile later. 

Difficulty: Moderate

This trail is part of the Hill­side Trails Sys­tem. It is not one of the trails that is groomed for ski­ing in win­ter. This trail mean­ders up and down hills and along­side beau­ti­ful Long Lake. Wildlife can be seen from the lake, most­ly birds with the occa­sion­al moose. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 6 miles

This trail cross­es Indi­an Creek sev­er­al times on its grad­ual climb through the old growth for­est. Brush and Alder give way to a panoram­ic a‑line near Indi­an Creek Pass. Parts of the trail can be dif­fi­cult to fol­low, espe­cial­ly when trav­el­ing through the grass of the sub-alpine. This is part of the Arc­tic to Indi­an” win­ter ski traverse.

Difficulty: Easy

There is a good guide for this trail avail­able at the Begich, Bog­gs Vis­i­tor Cen­ter at Portage Glac­i­er. Num­bered trail posts cor­re­spond to things in the guide. This is a great place to view spawn­ing salmon in the fall. It is a well-main­tained path with a thir­ty-foot bridge. This hike is wheel­chair acces­si­ble and there are lots of berries and var­i­ous wildlife species.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 6 miles

This ridge route has amaz­ing views of Prince William Sound, Eyak Lake, and the Cop­per Riv­er Delta. About halfway down the trail, there is small shel­ter avail­able for day use or overnight camp­ing. It is avail­able on a first-come first-serve basis.

Difficulty: Easy

Locat­ed at Mile 1.0 of the Portage High­way, this site has a short board­walk trail along sev­er­al ponds. It is a good site for observ­ing water­fowl that nest and rear their young in the ponds and riv­er channels.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles

The trail takes hik­ers past mine activ­i­ty on the low­er part of the trail. The first mile is steep, but after that it lev­els out. Moun­tain goats and brown bears are seen on the moun­tain­side occa­sion­al­ly. There is excel­lent berry-pick­ing here in the fall. This trail should only be trav­eled in the sum­mer due to avalanche danger. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 16 miles

If you want a taste of dim spruce for­est along a wild riv­er bot­tom, try the first few miles of this most­ly lev­el route into the Res­ur­rec­tion Riv­er Val­ley. From the trail­head Mile 7 of Exit Glac­i­er Road, the trail runs 4.5 miles to Mar­tin Creek and is suit­able for moun­tain bik­ing or ski­ing after snow­fall. It fea­tures two prim­i­tive camp­sites and occa­sion­al access or views of to the river.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 2 miles

The first mile and a half of this trail leads up over rocky slopes that offer a great view of Eyak Lake and the Orca Inlet. At this point the trail splits in two and the hik­er has a choice of going around the south end of Mt. Eyak or climb­ing straight up to the top.

Known to locals as the Divide Ski Area, this trail was built by ded­i­cat­ed com­mu­ni­ty vol­un­teers from the Seward Nordic Ski Club.

Difficulty: Easy

This trail has impres­sive views of the Chugach Moun­tains. Short spur trails offer access to five small lakes that are excel­lent for cut­throat fishing.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 7 miles

This trail fol­lows an old min­ing road to the-still active- Prim­rose Mine. After mile 4 the trail becomes steep and erod­ed. There is a view­point that offers nice vis­tas here. The trail con­tin­ues to a bridge that will take you to Lost Creek and Lost Lake even­tu­al­ly. This is a good 2 – 3 day hike for fish­ing and camping.Keep an eye out for black bear and moun­tain goats. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 1049 miles

This trail was once used as access to gold min­ing ter­ri­to­ry. In 1925 a dipthe­ria epi­dem­ic threat­ened Nome and the route was cov­ered in 127 hours to deliv­er serum to those who were ill. It is now raced every year on dog sled to com­mem­o­rate that and is the longest sled dog race in the world. The trail is easy in pieces and dif­fi­cult in its entirety. 

Difficulty: Easy

This is an easy 2.4‑mile hike with excel­lent fish­ing for sock­eye, Dol­ly Var­den and cut­throat. You’ll find access to McKin­ley Trail and McKin­ley Lake pub­lic use cab­ins. It is a well-main­tained trail that has sev­er­al bridges for easy stream cross­ings and inter­pre­tive signs to explain the trail’s history. 

Difficulty: Easy

Locat­ed at Mile 17 of the Cop­per Riv­er High­way. An acces­si­ble board­walk leads vis­i­tors to stun­ning views of both the expan­sive wet­lands of the Cop­per Riv­er Delta and the sur­round­ing moun­tains. A wide vari­ety of wet­land ani­mals includ­ing trum­peter swans, moose, brown bear, and shore­birds can be seen in the area, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the spring and fall. The first half of this trail is paved with geoblock, so that it does not have a negative…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 5 miles

This well-main­tained trail has a lev­el path with grad­ual grades. It fol­lows an old wag­on road and par­al­lels Tur­na­gain Arm. There are many berries, which makes this a fun activ­i­ty for the whole fam­i­ly. It is sug­gest­ed that you bring binoc­u­lars to see wildlife up-close on the moun­tains above. 

Palmer Creek and the road that fol­lows it were named after George Palmer, who in 1894 first dis­cov­ered gold on its banks. The creek was the site of ear­ly plac­er min­ing and lat­er lode min­ing. Evi­dence of the his­toric Lucky Strike and Hir­shey mines, as well as the Swet­mann camp, can be found along trails that lead to Palmer Lakes. Sev­er­al hik­ing trails are acces­si­ble from the Palmer Creek Road. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 2 miles

This is a steep climb that ends where Crater Lake sits. The first half climbs over rocky sec­tions with numer­ous switch­backs, with mud­dy areas and wood bridges. The sec­ond half con­tin­ues to climb, but at a much nicer grade. At mile 1.2 there is an inter­tie to Ski Hill trail and at the lake there is the option to hike the Alice Smith Inter­tie. The entire loop from Crater Lake to Pow­er Creek Trail­head is 12 miles. Along this trail there is good…  ...more

Take a stroll down the board­walk as it winds along the riv­er. There are sev­er­al inter­pre­tive signs with infor­ma­tion about fish­ing, dall sheep, raft­ing and boat safe­ty. You’ll also find access to Pio­neer Vil­lage where you can pan for gold at Prospec­tor John’s Authen­tic Gold Panning.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 23 miles

The John­son Pass Trail orig­i­nat­ed in the 1890s as a route for Idi­tar­od min­ers who raced north from Seward to Nome. It lat­er was devel­oped into a wag­on road by mer­chants and min­ers who set­tled the area. The Alas­ka Road Com­mis­sion then used it as a thor­ough­fare through the 1930s. Today this pop­u­lar hik­ing trail trav­els por­tions of the his­toric Idi­tar­od Trail between Moose Pass and Gran­ite Creek with bridged streams, most­ly easy grades, and…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Hik­ing up Mt. Alyeska is a chal­lenge, but the reward is great views of Tur­na­gain Arm, the sev­en hang­ing” glac­i­ers of Gird­wood Val­ley, and peaks stretch­ing deep into the Chugach Moun­tain range. Below you’ll find our rec­om­mend­ed routes to the top; all leave from the Alyeska Hotel (where you’ll find trail maps). While any sum­mer day is good for this hike, try to time your vis­it around one of the area’s events — you’ll have some­thing extra to…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

This lake is in a val­ley with two oth­er lakes but this one has its own trail. The trail is well-main­tained. It is a grav­el trail that leads to a great spot to camp and fish. This is an ide­al fam­i­ly day hike or overnight. 

Difficulty: Moderate

This ski trail weaves through muskeg and for­est and grad­u­al­ly gains ele­va­tion until it ends. The trail leads to a high muskeg that over­looks the Cop­per Riv­er Delta, Heney Range and the Gulf of Alas­ka. This trail is very wet dur­ing all sea­sons exclud­ing win­ter and is not a hik­ing trail. 

This very active glac­i­er forms a wall along the fabled Cop­per Riv­er near a his­toric rail­road route that once ser­viced the world’s largest cop­per mine. NOTE: A bridge at Mile 36 of the Cop­per Riv­er High­way is cur­rent­ly (2020) impass­able, with repairs not expect­ed for sev­er­al years. Child’s Glac­i­er is not cur­rent­ly acces­si­ble by road. Con­tact Cor­do­va Ranger Dis­trict for cur­rent venders pro­vid­ing trans­porta­tion options to the far side.  ...more

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Chugach National Forest Scenic Day Drives View All

Portage Val­ley south­east of Anchor­age at the head of Tur­na­gain Arm offers so many poten­tial adven­tures that you might have to tow a trail­er loaded with gear to sam­ple them all. What will you find here? Bik­ing, hik­ing, pic­nick­ing, fish­ing, pad­dling, wildlife view­ing, poten­tial ice­berg sight­ings — plus a nat­ur­al his­to­ry vis­i­tor cen­ter packed with inter­ac­tive dis­plays about the ecosys­tem of the val­ley and Prince William Sound. It’s like an outdoor  ...more

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Chugach National Forest Public Use Cabins View All

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This 16′ X 16′ cab­in is con­struct­ed of bee­tle-killed, milled spruce logs and has two full size bunk beds with a capac­i­ty to sleep eight peo­ple. Locat­ed in Deci­sion Point State Park, this cab­in can be reached by pri­vate boat, kayak, float­plane, or com­mer­cial water taxi.

12 by 14 rus­tic cab­in on Res­ur­rec­tion Creek in spruce-birch for­est with moun­tain views. Sleep­ing bunks for six with space for eight. Equipped with counter space, table, bench­es, wood stove, split­ting maul and hand saw. Out­house and bear locker. 

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A two-sto­ry log cab­in with a loft sleeps eight with bunk space for sev­en. It has counter space table, bench­es and a wood stove for heat. Oth­er fea­tures include split­ting maul and hand saw, an out­house — and a row­boat with oars. Check Availability 

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Mile 11.9 Russ­ian Lakes Trail.Handsome 12×14 trapper’s style log cab­in that over­looks the lake and a stun­ning view. With bunk space for six and sleep­ing for eight. (The For­est Ser­vice rec­om­mends space for 4, so expect close quar­ters.) Check Availability  ...more

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Oper­at­ed by the non-prof­it Alas­ka Moun­tain and Wilder­ness Huts Asso­ci­a­tion, Man­i­to­ba Cab­in is intend­ed to pro­mote wilder­ness expe­ri­ence and cama­raderie in the spir­it of Euro­pean-style trekking huts. While very pop­u­lar among back­coun­try skiers dur­ing win­ter week­ends, the facil­i­ty often has open­ings dur­ing week­days. Dur­ing the sum­mer, you might have the entire place to yourself.

Mile 2.3 Russ­ian Lakes Trail. This rus­tic cab­in in a flat area along the east­ern shore of Low­er Russ­ian Lake fea­tures a row­boat with oars. It sleeps eight, with bunks for six, and includes cook­ing counter, table, bench­es, wood stove, spit­ting maul and saw, and an out­house. Check Availability   ...more

A 12ft x 16ft rus­tic A‑frame cab­in with a loft. The cab­in is locat­ed 200 yards south of Beach Riv­er on the Gulf of Alas­ka side of Mon­tague Island.

The 12x20-ft, rus­tic cab­in has a loft and a cov­ered deck. Locat­ed 4.2 miles from Pow­er Creek Trail­head, which begins approx­i­mate­ly 6.9 miles north of Cor­do­va, Alaska.

Mile 8.6 Russ­ian Lakes Trail. Rus­tic cab­in with bunks for six and sleep­ing space for eight. Fish­ing for Dol­ly Var­den and rain­bow trout in the near­by Russ­ian Riv­er. Fea­tures counter space, table, bench­es, a wood stove, split­ting maul and hand­saw, and out­house. Check Availability  ...more

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This 1517 trapper’s style cab­in perched on a ridge 1,800 feet above Spencer Glac­i­er offers one of the most spec­tac­u­lar views in the world. The panora­ma sweeps across a wild moun­tain-scape of sheer faces and avalanche chutes. Close to the cab­in, vis­i­tors will find alpine mead­ows with wild­flow­ers and inter­est­ing geol­o­gy, and chances to see var­i­ous wildlife.

12-by-14 rus­tic cab­in tucked away from the trail in a scat­tered spruce for­est near the more open sub­alpine zone at 2,200 feet. Sleeps 6, with table, wood stove, split­ting maul, cross­cut saw, and outhouse. 

The 12x14-ft rus­tic struc­ture can sleep up to 6. Access to the cab­in is by wheel plane on the beach at low tide only, typ­i­cal­ly a 25-minute flight from Cordova.

On the south­west shore of Coghill Lake, on a lagoon just before the Coghill Riv­er, on the east side of Col­lege Fiord in Prince William Sound. Trail is 3 miles.

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Mile 29.2 Res­ur­rec­tion Pass Trail. This cab­in sits at the south end of Juneau Lake. A rus­tic cab­in with counter space, a table, bench­es and a wood stove for heat. Sleeps eight with bunks for six. Oth­er fea­tures include a split­ting maul and saw, an out­house — and a canoe with pad­dles for explor­ing the lake. Check Availability  ...more

A 12ft x 14ft rus­tic cab­in at the north­west end of Cres­cent Lake in the Kenai Mountains.

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Cab­in is near Crow Pass in the Chugach Moun­tains, 3 miles from the Crow Pass Trail­head and is locat­ed 500 yards East of the Trail at the old cab­in site 

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16-x-16 log cab­in in an alpine val­ley nes­tled amid steep moun­tain slopes. Sleeps 6, with table, oil stove, and out­house. Note: You must bring #1 stove oil if you want heat. One gal­lon lasts about one hour. Devil’s Creek Trail inter­sects here, a 10-mile descent to the Seward High­way trail­head. Devi’s Pass Lake is about one mile down the trail. Check Availability  ...more

A 12ft x 14ft rus­tic cab­in over­look­ing the south­ern shore of Cres­cent Lake. It is a 7 mile hike via Carter Lake Trail and an 11 mile hike via Cres­cent Creek Trail. 

A rus­tic log cab­in with counter space, a table, bench­es and a wood stove for heat. Sleeps eight, with bunks for six. Oth­er fea­tures include split­ting maul and saw, out­house — and a row­boat equipped with oars for explor­ing the lake. Check Availability   ...more

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16-by-16 rus­tic log cab­in on Fox Creek in the Res­ur­rec­tion Creek val­ley near the edge of by spruce/​birch for­est with views of near­by moun­tains. Sleeps 6, with table, wood stove, split­ting maul, cross­cut saw, and outhouse.

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The 14x16-ft rus­tic cab­in can sleep up to six peo­ple. Access to the cab­in is by wheel plane at low tide from Cor­do­va or Seward.

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Chugach National Forest View All

With 60 sites on paved loops, Willi­waw is suit­able for large motorhomes and offers great access to the Trail of Blue Ice — a non-motor­ized mul­ti-use trail that tra­vers­es the val­ley floor. Also near­by bik­ing, salmon view­ing, hikes, and glac­i­er viewing.

Set in a hand­some birch for­est over­look­ing Tur­na­gain Arm, this camp­ground in Chugach Nation­al For­est close to the his­toric vil­lage of Hope is a fam­i­ly clas­sic. The 34 sites offer all the usu­al ameni­ties (pic­nic table, camp­fire ring, out­hous­es, water pump) and are laid out with an eye toward pri­va­cy. Just 81 miles from Anchorage.

If you want to camp beside sub­alpine Upper Sum­mit Lake close to trum­peter swans and fish­ing for rain­bows, take the fam­i­ly to this camp­ground deep in the Kenai Moun­tains off Mile 46 of the Seward High­way. The 35 sites are spread along a loop in the alder, wil­low and spruce woods on the hill­side above the lake, with clear-run­ning Ten­der­foot Creek pass­ing through 

Bik­ing, fish view­ing, a nat­ur­al his­to­ry cen­ter and a flat hike to a glac­i­er are with­in easy reach of this qui­et, inti­mate camp­ground in Portage Val­ley at the head of Tur­na­gain Arm in the Chugach Nation­al For­est. The 12 sites in the grav­eled, wood­ed Black Bear are yards from the Trail of Blue Ice — a non-motor­ized mul­ti-use trail that tra­vers­es the val­ley floor.

Bertha Creek Camp­ground is a great choice for a low-key cam­pout in a recre­ation­al gold-pan­ning area on a qui­et loop where the kids won’t get lost. Locat­ed just south of Tur­na­gain Pass in the Kenai Moun­tains about 65 miles south of Anchor­age, the camp­ground is tucked into an open for­est beside the con­flu­ence of Bertha and Gran­ite creeks at the base of steep mountains.

16 sites in a wood­ed set­ting. Trail to Ptarmi­gan lake departs from the campground.

Quartz Creek camp­ground is sit­u­at­ed on the banks of sparkling Kenai Lake. This is a great spot to cool off on a hot day. Kenai Lake has a good sandy swim­ming beach and a trail that fol­lows along near­by Quartz Creek. Cast your line for some awe­some fly-fish­ing at the creek or look for the near­by horse sta­ble for a scenic ride. 

Cas­cade Bay, at the North­west end of Eaglek Bay, holds the trea­sure of the largest water­fall in Prince William Sound. There is no lack of fresh­wa­ter in the Bay, with anoth­er rea­son­able water source com­ing in just to the East of the Falls. Be pre­pared for the noise of the falls, and tons of jellyfish!

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