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Alaska Department of Natural Resources

Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation

Potters Marsh Boardwalk

Chugach State Park

Recreational Opportunities

Off Road Vehicles in Chugach State Park

Off-road Vehicles (which does not include motorcycles) are permitted at certain access points within Chugach State Park. Please be knowledgeable of area boundaries before riding in area. Citations will be issued for violation.

Many of the current models for sale do not fit in Alaska State Parks allowable ORV definition. Please check the legal definition of an Off Road Vehicle here. 11 AAC 20.990(21)

A person under 14 years of age may not operate a vehicle in a state park unless accompanied by and under the direct supervision of a parent or person 21 years of age or older. Proof of age or a state identification card shall be presented at the request of a park ranger. 11 AAC 12.110


Bird Valley

Description: Off Road Vehicles are allowed on logging roads from the trailhead up valley to the signed closure (Approx. 4.5 miles). Trail is closed to ATV’s December 1st through March 31st. The main trail follows the creek up the valley floor. Ride with care, as there are large trees in this area. 11 AAC 20.015
Fee: No fee at this trailhead.
Location: To access this area go to Mile 101 of the Seward Highway to the Bird Creek Trailhead, then turn toward the mountains on Konikson Road just passed the gas station. Follow road .6 miles to trailhead and parking.
Things to see: Great family riding area. Trails are old logging roads lined with large spruce. There are beautiful views of surrounding mountains and Bird Creek. Hiking trails leave from many spurs.


Eklutna Lakeside Trail

Area Description: The Off-Road Vehicle area is only on the Lakeside Trail. Open only Sunday through Wednesday. Trail is closed to ATV’s December 1st through March 31st. 11 AAC 20.015 Please obey the speed limit (15mph) while riding on the lakeside trail.
Fee: $5 parking fee/calendar day or annual day use pass.
Location: Take the Eklutna exit at Mile 26 of the Glenn Highway and follow the park signs ten miles to Eklutna Lake. Park in the large signed lot to the left.
Things to see: Users in the Eklutna Lake Valley will have views of steep canyon walls, waterfalls and the Eklutna Lake Glacier. Wildlife such as Dall sheep and mountain goats may be seen as well. Access to Yuditnu and Serenity Falls cabins are off the Lakeside trail. Great family riding area.

Biking

Biking is a popular activity in Chugach State Park. Whether you are out for an afternoon ride with your family or out soloing one of the more challenging trails in the front range, a trail that fits your needs awaits.

Be aware only specific Chugach State Park trails are open to biking. Make sure you know the trail that you plan to ride is open by regulation. Citations are issued for violations. 11 AAC 20.050

Bicycles are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas and on the following trails. Bicycles are also allowed on any trail when it is specifically open to snowmobiles.

Chugach State Park Bike Map


Anchorage Hillside Biking Trails

INCLUDED TRAILS:

- Gasline (From Prospect Heights Trailhead to Indian Trailhead)
- Powerline Trail
- Powerline Access Trail (Glen Alps to Powerline)
- Wolverine Bowl Trail
- Middle Fork Loop from intersection of Near Point to signed end of Homestead Road
- South Fork Rim Trail (NOTE: This is not the South Fork Trail in Eagle River. Please see Hillside Biking Map.)
- Silver Fern Trail
- White Spruce Trail
- Llama Trail

Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
Special Features: Good Loop Trails, Downhill ride from Glen Alps connects to municipality trail system and BLM trails in Far North Bicentennial Park.

Hillside Biking Map


Beaver Pond Trail

Access: Mile 91.4 Bird to Indian Bike Pathway.
Distance: 2.5 mile trail, first 1/2 mile of trail is on state park land.
Difficulty: Hard, switchbacks, steep climbs, roots.
Special Features: Main trail follows base of penguin ridge. Large trees. Ends on Crow Creek Road. Loop back on Alyeska Highway bike path for added fun!


Bird Creek Trail

Access: Bird Creek Trailhead, Mile 101 Seward Hwy. Turn toward mountains on Konikson Road and go 0.6 miles to park trailhead and gate.
Distance: 4.5 miles to signed closure. Riding allowed on all old Logging roads in Valley
Difficulty: Easy, Seasonal muddy areas.
Special Features: Main trail follows creek up valley floor. Large trees. Fork to right at 0.7 mile leads to Penguin Creek. Great family riding area.

Bird Valley Guide


Eklutna Lakeside Trail

Access: Eklutna Lake Trailhead.
Distance: 12.7 miles or 21.8 kilometers one way to Eklutna Glacier.
Elevation Gain: 300 feet or 91 meters.
Difficulty: Easy - abandoned roadbed with bridges.
Special Features: Trail follows lakeshore for 7 miles, then onto glacial gravel bars. Last mile is footpath through glacial debris. Views of steep canyon walls, waterfalls and Eklutna Glacier. Wildlife includes Dall sheep, mountain goats, pikas.

Eklunta Brochure


Indian to Girdwood 'Bird to Gird' Pathway

Access: Parking areas near Girdwood, Indian, Bird, or Bird Creek Campground.
Distance: 13 miles from Indian to Bird.
Elevation Gain: limited
Difficulty: Easy. Paved. Turnagain arm wind gusts can make riding difficult.
Special Features: Good views of Turnagain Arm. Wheelchair accessible.

Indian to Girdwood Pathway Trail Guide


Peters Creek Trail

Access: The trailhead is located at the end of Malcom Drive near Sierra Mesa Circle in Chugiak. Access to this area is via the Peters Creek Exit at Mile 21 of the Glenn Highway.
Distance: Approximately 5 miles to signed closure.
Difficulty: Moderate to advanced.
Special Features: There are nice woodland views at lower elevations. Be sure to stay on the trail in these areas. There are also views of upper Cook Inlet and Eagle River from this area.


Rabbit Lake Trail

Access: Canyon Road Trailhead
Distance: 4.4 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Special Features: Past the gate, the trail follows an old roadbed through brush and quickly opens up to views of Rabbit Creek Valley. The road then peters out and a narrower trail leads to Rabbit Lake. Biking allowed to Rabbit Lake on trail only. No biking allowed past Rabbit Lake on the McHugh Lake Trail.

Rabbit Lake Trail Guide


Fat Tire Bikes

Fat Tire bikes are a popular growing sport in the Anchorage area. We support this exciting sport and have worked to add a few new winter riding opportunities into the Chugach Trail System. Fat Tire Bikes are defined as:

a two wheeled, non-motorized, self-propelled bicycle
(A) created for cycling on soft, unstable terrain;
(B) having a tire width of 3.7” or greater; and
(C) having a tire pressure of less than 20 pounds;

Fat Tire Bikes are allowed on all trails open to regular bikes in 11 AAC 20.050

Fat tire bicycles are also allowed on the following trails between November 15 and March 31:
(1) Middle Fork Loop Trail;
(2) Lost Cabin Valley Trail; and
(3) Eagle River Water Trail to wilderness boundary at Icicle Creek.
Access via: ER campground, Greenbelt Access (Briggs), Mile 7.4, Mile 10, and Albert loop snowmobile corridor (ERNC)
(4) Eklutna Lake (frozen water body)

Hiking

Chugach State Park boasts over 280 miles of trails. With so many to explore where do we start? The trails listed below are some of our favorite trails here at the park. Come and explore them. They range from beginner to advanced. If they are listed here they are not open to motorized use or bicycles.


Anchorage Overlook Trail

Access: Glen Alps Trailhead.
Travel Means: Foot, wheelchair accessible.
Distance: 1/4 mile or 0.4 kilometer loop.
Elevation Gain: 53 feet or 16 meters.
Difficulty: Easy. Paved trail and gravel trail.
Special Features: Sitting area and viewing deck with views of Anchorage, Alaska Range, and Cook Inlet. Good for sunsets. Wheelchair accessible.
Anchorage Hillside Trail System Guide
Map
Chugach Hillside Brochure and Map


Rodak Nature Trail

Access: Eagle River Nature Center.
Travel Means: Foot.
Distance: 2/3 mile or 1 kilometer loop.
Elevation Gain: 100 feet or 30 meters drop from parking area.
Difficulty: Easy - trail is graveled with seating.
Special Features: Viewing deck at salmon rearing stream. Interpretive signs.
Eagle River Nature Center Trail Guide    Map


Thunder Bird Falls Trail

Access: Mile 25, Glenn Highway, Thunderbird Exit, follow signs one mile to trailhead parking.
Travel Means: Foot.
Distance: 1 mile or 1.6 kilometers one way to view of Thunderbird Falls.
Elevation Gain: 100 feet or 30 meters.
Difficulty: Easy - rolling terrain with boardwalk and viewing areas.
Special Features: Birch forest on steep hillside overhanging Eklutna Canyon. Views of 200 foot high Thunderbird Falls.
Thunder Bird Falls Trail    Map


Flattop Mountain Trail

Access: Glen Alps Trailhead, use stairs.
Travel Means: Foot, some scrambling.
Distance: 1.5 miles or 2.4 kilometers one way.
Elevation Gain: 1300 feet or 396 meters to summit.
Difficulty: Difficult. Steep, some scrambling. Be careful - falls have resulted in injuries and fatalities.
Special Features: Most often climbed peak in Alaska. Hikers above can kick down rocks. Good views of Alaska Range, Cook Inlet, Turnagain Arm, Anchorage. Mountain hemlocks, tundra.
Flattop Mountain Trail Guide    Map    Chugach Hillside Brochure and Map


Bird Ridge Trail

Access: Bird Ridge Trailhead, Mile 100.5 Seward Hwy.
Travel Means: Foot.
Distance: 1.5 miles or 2.4 kilometers to trail's end above tree line. Route continues along ridge crest.
Elevation Gain: 2500 feet or 760 meters to trail end at ridgecrest.
Difficulty: Moderate. Steep, some scrambling.
Special Features: First snow free spring hike, first wildflowers. Good views of Turnagain Arm. Exposed and windy.
Bird Ridge Trail Guide    Map    Turnagain Arm Trails Brochure


Twin Peaks Trail

Access: Eklutna Lake Trailhead
Travel Means: Foot.
Distance: 2.5 miles one way to tree line and trail's end.
Elevation Gain: 1500 feet or 457 meters.
Difficulty: Difficult - steep trail, and in some areas, loose footing.
Special features: Trail climbs into sheep country. Spectacular view of lake below. Good berry picking in fall. Open tundra invites exploration.
Eklutna Lake Trail Guide    Map


Albert Loop Trail

Access: Eagle River Nature Center.
Travel Means: Foot.
Distance: 3 miles or 5 kilometers loop.
Elevation Gain: 100 feet or 30 meters drop from parking area.
Difficulty: Easy, though seasonal muddy spots.
Special Features: Mixed forest to gravel bars of glacial Eagle River. Trail guide booklet available.
Eagle River Nature Center Trail Guide    Map


South Fork Valley Trail

Access: Hiland Road to mile 7.5, then right, follow signs 0.5 mile to trailhead.
Travel Means: Foot.
Distance: 6 miles or 10 kilometer one way to Symphony and Eagle Lakes.
Elevation Gain: 400 feet or 122 meters.
Difficulty: Easy, with boardwalk over some of the muddy areas, and a bridge at stream crossing. Wet trail areas near lakes. Boulder field surrounds lakes.
Special features: Spectacular view of surrounding peaks. Lakes at back of valley were dammed by rockslide.
South Fork Valley Trail


Wolverine Peak Trail

Access: Prospect Heights Trailhead, Mile 2 of Near Point Trail.
Travel Means: Foot.
Distance: 5.2 miles or 8.4 kilometers one way to summit.
Elevation Gain: 3380 feet or 1040 meters.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
Special Features: Views of Alaska Range, Anchorage, Cook Inlet. Plane wreckage near summit. Good berries in fall. Moose, sheep and arctic ground squirrels.
Wolverine & Williwaw Trails    Chugach Hillside Brochure and Map


Middle Fork Trail

Access: Prospect Heights Trailhead, Mile 1.3 of Near Point Trail.
Travel Means: Foot. Bicycles allowed first 3 miles.
Distance: 6.5 miles or 10.5 kilometers one way to largest lake.
Elevation Gain: 1600 feet or 490 meters.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Some muddy areas.
Special Features: Spruce woods and mountain hemlock groves give way to open tundra and jewel-like alpine lakes, backed by sheer face of Mt. Williwaw.
Anchorage Hillside Trail System Guide    Map    Chugach Hillside Brochure and Map


Turnagain Arm Trail

Access: Potter Trailhead - Seward Hwy., Mile 115; McHugh Creek Trailhead - Seward Hwy., Mile 112; Rainbow Trailhead - Seward Hwy, Mile 108; Windy Corner Trailhead - Seward Hwy, Mile 106.
Travel Means: Foot.
Distance: Potter to McHugh - 3.3 miles; McHugh to Rainbow - 4.2 miles; Rainbow to Windy - 1.9 miles. Total of 9.4 miles one way.
Elevation Gain: 250-700 feet or 75-210 meters from parking areas to generally level of trail on hillside above.
Difficulty: Most is easy, Rainbow to Windy is moderate.
Special Features: Trail parallels the highway and railroad below, following support route created during building of railroad in 1910's. Good views of Turnagain Arm, coastal vegetation, first spring wildflowers. Sheep at Windy Corner.
Turnagain Arm Trail Guide    Turnagain Arm Trails Brochure


Historic Iditarod (Crow Pass) Trail

Access: Eagle River Nature Center, or from Girdwood take Crow Creek Road to road end and Crow Creek Trailhead (managed by Chugach Nat'l. Forest).
Travel Means: Foot only.
Distance: 23.2 miles or 50 kilometers one way. See Special Features for shorter hike options along this trail.
Elevation Gain: 2500 feet or 762 meters to pass from Crow Creek Trailhead, 3500 feet or 1067 meters to pass from Eagle River Trailhead.
Difficulty: Easy to difficult.
Special Features: Trail follows historic Iditarod supply route. Mining ruins, spectacular views of peaks, glaciers. Much wildlife. Excellent day hikes from either end or spend a few days and hike trail length. Unabridged stream and river crossings can be difficult. Crossing Eagle River on the Crow Creek Trail Video (.mp4).
Crow Pass Brochure

Shorter hikes from Nature Center include: to Echo Bend (easy), 3 miles one way; to Heritage Falls (easy, large falls visible across eagle river), 4.5 miles one way; Twin Falls (moderate, stream crossings, beaver ponds, waterfalls), 9 miles one way. Rich in wildlife - moose, beaver, bears, sheep, eagles. Hikes from Crow Creek include: to mine site (moderate, steep) 2 miles one way; to Crystal Lake and USFS cabin (moderate, steep, spectacular, reservations required for cabin) 3 miles one way; to pass and Raven Glacier (moderate, spectacular) 4 miles one way.

Crow Pass National Historical Trail Guide    Map

Horseback

Horseback riding has always been a traditional use within Chugach State Park. Horse use by regulation is combined with mules and burros. Many trails are not able to handle the erosional impacts created by horses. Please be careful when traveling on trails not built for horses, especially during periods when soils are soft.
The use of these animals is allowed in Chugach State Park except in the following areas:

• Eagle River Valley
• Meadow Creek Drainage
• Turnagain Arm Trail
• Flattop Mountain Trails

Trails may also be closed on the Anchorage Hillside, South Fork of Eagle River and Indian Creek for erosional issues.

Use must be limited to 10 animals or less. Tethering of animals within 100 feet of fresh water is prohibited. No loose herding of animals allowed. (11 AAC 20.030)


Powerline & Gasline Trails:

Access: Upper Huffman Trailhead. Large lot for horse trailers.
Distance: 6 mile loop.
Difficulty: Easy
Special Features: Trail gives you great vistas of Anchorage, Denali, and Susitna.
Anchorage Hillside Brochure


Eklutna Lakeside Trail

Access: Eklutna Lake Trailhead.
Distance: 12.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 300 feet or 91 meters.
Difficulty: Easy - abandoned roadbed with bridges.
Special Features: Trail follows lakeshore for 7 miles, then onto glacial gravel bars. Views of steep canyon walls, waterfalls and Eklutna Glacier. Wildlife includes Dall sheep, mountain goats, pikas
Eklutna Brochure


Bird Valley

Access: Bird Creek Trailhead, Mile 101 Seward Hwy. Turn toward mountains on Konikson Road and go 0.6 miles to park trailhead and gate.
Distance: Plenty of miles of Valley Trails. Advanced riding up valley to Bird Pass. Access into Ship Creek Drainage
Difficulty: Easy, Seasonal muddy areas.
Special Features: Main trail follows creek up valley floor. Large trees, Views of Bird Ridge, Penguin Creek.
Bird Valley Guide


Indian Valley

Access: Indian Valley Trailhead, Mile 103 Seward Highway. Turn toward mountains on Boretide Road. Follow Road to end.
Distance: 6 mile trail to Indian Pass. Trail access to Ship Valley.
Difficulty: Moderate to advanced.
Special Features: Great woodland valley views. Upper Valley has views of Turnagain arm.
Indian Valley Trail Guide

Boating

There are many opportunities to explore non-motorized boating within Chugach State Park. Whether by sailboat, kayak, raft, or canoe, here are several places you can start your adventure. Motorized boats are not allowed on any water bodies within Chugach State Park with the exception of electric motors on Eklutna Lake. (AAC 11.20.025)

Please visit the Alaska Boating Safety Program for information related to safety on the water. Wear a life jacket.


Eklutna Lake

Eklutna Lake provides the majority of the boating in the park.

Boats with electric motors (AAC 11.20.025) are allowed on Eklutna Lake, which requires a short walk to the lake. Plan on carrying your boat down to the water. Sailboats have been known to be used on the lake as well. Be aware that sometimes, strong winds develop during the afternoon.

Kayaking and canoeing are the most common way people explore the lake, and rentals are readily available at the Lifetime Adventures rental cabin.


Eagle River Rafting

Eagle River is a common place for many people to raft, canoe, or kayak. No motorized boats are allowed on the river. There is a popular 3-4 hour trip from Mile 7.4 access to the Eagle River Greenbelt Access depending on river conditions. BE AWARE Eagle River has claimed several lives due to sweepers, strainers, rapids, and unexpected river conditions coupled with boaters experience. Plan your trip well. Talk to others who have done the float trip.

There are several put in’s, the first is Mile 7.4 Eagle River Road. It has latrines and a good parking area. ($5 day use fee) Water at this location can be low because it is a tributary of the main river. You can hike your gear out to the main channel using the trail that leaves on the upriver side of the parking lot. The second location is Mile 10 Eagle River Road. It is a small pullout that provides direct access to the river. This main section of the river is Class I. There are plenty of pullouts for lunch and looking at the sights. Be cautious in this area for full river sweepers and tree debris.

Take outs for the Eagle river trip depend on your ability. Eagle River Greenbelt Access (Briggs Bridge) takeout has a large sign seen from the river pointing you to the take out on the south side of the river. Eagle River Greenbelt Access (Briggs Bridge) is accessible off the Eagle River Loop Road. ($5 day use fee) If you are more advanced and are familiar with the Campground Rapids, you can take out at the Eagle River Campground. Class levels of the rapids depend on water levels (Class II/III). Individuals should definitely have a look from the campground before attempting this section.

Below the Glenn Highway Bridge crossing you enter Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and a permit from the military is required.


Pack Rafting

Pack Rafting is becoming a popular activity in Chugach State Park. The most common area is Eagle River.

Eagle River - (Class I-III) Hike in from Girdwood or up from the Nature Center. Put in at the river ford site which is about halfway between Girdwood and the Eagle River Nature Center. The trip consists of many sweepers, strainers, and braided tributaries. The take out is above the rapids at Echo Bend. Have knowledge of locations before you go. There are no signs visible on this section. Entering the rapids immediately following Echo Bend unprepared could result in serious injury and death. (Class III-IV)

Winter Use

Winter landscapes can be explored with multiple modes of transportation. Listed below are many ways people venture into the Chugach Trails. Try one or try them all!

Cross Country Skiing: Cross-country skiing is allowed anywhere in the park. Anchorage Hillside, Eagle River Nature Center, and Eklutna Lake are good places for beginners and intermediate.

Back Country Skiing: Backcountry touring and skiing is a popular winter activity in the park. Knowledge of avalanche terrain, weather, and snowpack are your responsibility. Before going into the backcountry, take a class. Know what to bring and how to use it. Visit the Alaska Avalanche School for more information.

Ski Touring: Once again, know before you go. Take a class and be aware of the variables when skiing uncontrolled areas. There are several popular traverses in the park.

Arctic to Indian Traverse (Ship Creek Valley):
Access: Indian Valley Trailhead or Arctic Valley Trailhead.
Travel Means: Foot or ski.
Distance: 22 miles or 35 kilometers one way, first 3 miles are drop to valley floor.
Elevation gain: 1000 feet or 305 meters drop to valley floor, 1000 feet or 305 meters gain to Indian Pass.
Special Features: First 1.7 mile is on military land. Use respectfully. Designated wilderness, spectacular scenery. Wolves, bears, moose, beaver.

Eklutna Traverse (Unmaintained Route):
Access: Eklutna Lake Trailhead or Girdwood Valley.
Travel Means: Foot or ski
Distance: Depending on route taken ~ approximately 38 miles
Difficulty: High. Avalanche terrain, undefined trail, crevasse crossings.
Special Features: Glacier Traveling, Visit Mountaineering Club of Alaska website for hut information.

Classic/Skate Skiing: When time and resources permit several trails in the park will be groomed for classic and skate skiing. These trails include 15 miles of loop trails out of the Glen Alps Trailhead, and a short loop out of Eklutna Trailhead through the campground. Several local groups may also groom trails within their local areas. These include trails connecting to the Eagle River Campground and sections of the Indian to Girdwood Bike path around the Bird Campground.

Downhill Skiing: Downhill skiing is available in the park at the Arctic Valley Ski Area Arctic Valley is run entirely by volunteers from the Anchorage Ski Club, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit.

Snowshoeing is a great way to explore wooded areas and is also a good workout. Explore Anchorage Hillside trails leaving from Upper Huffman Trailhead or the Eagle River Greenbelt Accesses.

Dogsledding is easiest where there are old roadbeds. Try the Eklutna Lakeside Trail, Peter's Creek, or Eagle River from the Eagle River Greenbelt Accesses.

Skijouring: If you think being towed on skis behind a dog sounds like fun, try the dogsled areas mentioned above.

Ice Climbing: Of the many popular ice climbing areas in the park, the most accessible are the frozen waterfalls along Turnagain Arm. Others can be found in the Eagle River drainage and the Eklutna Lake Serenity Falls area.

Photography: Winter is very photogenic. Carry extra batteries, keep them warm and protect your cold camera from condensation.

Skywatching: Night is non-existent in summer but comes in double doses during winter months, along with brilliant stars and northern lights. Dress for extreme cold. Skywatching is a sedentary activity. The Eagle River Nature Center conducts astronomy programs.

Tracking: Many animal tracks are visible in winter snow. Good areas for finding tracks include the Eklutna Lake area, the trails around the Eagle River Nature Center, and Ship Creek.

Winter Wonderland:
Winter is the longest season in the Chugach Mountains. Freezing temperatures and snow are an important part of the weather for up to ten months of the year. In higher elevations, snow can fall anytime in August and remain on the ground through May. The harsh winter weather challenges resident wildlife and park visitors alike.

Fortunately, the challenges of winter are accompanied by many rewards: bright snowy days, tracks left by wandering wildlife, the frozen beauty of ice crystals, whole frozen waterfalls, lingering alpenglow, northern lights...and the chance to play in the snow!

Note from the Ranger Log at the Eagle River Nature Center -- "Dec. 21, shortest day of the year. Minus 22 F the high today, minus 35 F the low. Sun so low in the sky that it is constant twilight on the valley floor, though the sunrise colored the south facing peaks pink for almost an hour. Bird feeders are being hard hit by at least 40 chickadees. Always surprised such tiny birds can manage in this cold. Skied down to river at lunch. New coyote tracks since yesterday. Hoar frost crystals are forming flowers on the creek ice. Their cold fragile beauty shatters like delicate glass under my skis."

Please respect the private property near the trailhead. Parking is poor and we ask that you not block access for the local residents.

For further information, you may contact the Chugach State Park Headquarters office at 345-5014 or the Public Information Center in Anchorage at 269-8400.

Snowmobiling Areas in Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park contains 6 Snowmobile areas located throughout the park. Snowmobile access will be posted open when the Director of Alaska State Parks has determined that there is adequate snow depth to protect underlying land and vegetation.

When snowmobiling in the park make sure that you understand where the boundaries are. Full legal text is provided with links below. Comply with all signage in area. Citations will be issued for violations. 11 AAC 20.040

The most up to date trail contition reports can be found here:
http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/asp/curevnts.htm

All snow machines operating on public lands must be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles and display a valid registration decal. Contact the DMV for further information. Snowmobile registration fees paid to the State fund the Snowmobile Trail Grant Program. These grants are awarded to develop and maintain public snowmobile trails and related facilities and for safety, education, and trail signing projects.

A person under 14 years of age may not operate a vehicle in a state park unless accompanied by and under the direct supervision of a parent or person 21 years of age or older. Proof of age or a state identification card shall be presented at the request of a park officer. 11 AAC 12.110

The legal definition of a snowmobile is defined here. 11.AAC 20.990 (26):

11 AAC 20.990. Definitions
(26) "snowmobile" means a self-propelled vehicle
      (A) intended for off-road travel on snow;
      (B) having a maximum width of 50 inches and a curb weight of not more than 1,000 pounds;
      (C) driven by one or more tracks in contact with the snow; and
      (D) steered by one or more skis in contact with the snow;


Eklutna Lake Valley

Area Description:The snowmobile area is the valley bottom from the Eklutna Lake Trailhead south to near the toe of Eklutna Glacier. Areas not opened to snowmobiles are the campground, Twin Peaks Trail, Bold Ridge Trail and East Fork drainage. 11 AAC 20.040 (1)
Fee: $5 parking fee/calendar day or annual day use pass.
Location: Take the Eklutna exit at Mile 26 of the Glenn Highway and follow the park signs ten miles to Eklutna Lake. Park in the large signed lot to the left.
Special Features: Users in the Eklutna Lake Valley will have views of steep canyon walls, waterfalls and the Eklutna Lake Glacier. Wildlife such as Dall sheep and mountain goats may be seen as well. Use of the Lakeside Trail is advised, as the lake ice can be unstable, especially at the edges. Caution must be used when crossing the lake ice.
Eklutna Brochure


Ptarmigan Valley

Area Description: (also known as "Little Peters Creek") Trail climbs through forest for approximately 4 miles before opening up above treeline into several bowls available for snowmobiling. Please obey the speed limit (10mph) within the Ptarmigan Valley, which helps to reduce noise level impact on nearby residential areas. Meadow Creek is closed to snowmobiles. 11 AAC 20.040 (3)
Fee: No fee to park at this trailhead.
Location: Accessed from the trailhead off the Old Glenn Highway, in between the North and South Birchwood exits. (East side of the highway, near the Loretta French Ball field and the Rural Discount Center in Chugiak)
Special Features: There are nice woodland views at lower elevations. Be sure to stay on the trails in these areas. There are also views of upper Cook Inlet and Eagle River from this area.


Peters Creek Valley

Area Description: The snowmobile area is Peters Creek Valley from the trailhead up valley approximately 15 miles to the signed wilderness boundary. The last 5 miles of the upper valley is within a wilderness zone and is closed to snowmobiles. the signed Four Mile Creek drainage is not open to snowmobiles. Please respect the private land the first 2.5 miles of the trail. After the first 5 miles, the trail is unmarked and easily lost. Please be aware that there are unbridged stream crossings, steep slopes and gullies prone to avalanches. 11 AAC 20.040 (2)
Fee: No fee to park at this trailhead. Parking is very limited at this trailhead please respect neighbors.
Location: The trailhead is located at the end of Malcom Drive near Sierra Mesa Circle in Chugiak. Access to this area is via the Peters Creek Exit at Mile 21 of the Glenn Highway.
Special Features: There are nice woodland views at lower elevations. Be sure to stay on the trail in these areas. There are also views of upper Cook Inlet and Eagle River from this area.


Eagle River

Area Description: The Eagle River water course and gravel bars downstream of the confluence of Icicle Creek and Eagle River to the Glenn Highway. The South Fork drainage and Meadow Creek are closed to snowmobiles. 11 AAC 20.040 (5)
Fee: $5 parking fee at both Briggs Bridge and North Fork Access (Mile 7.4 of Eagle River Road) or annual day use pass.
Location: Access to the snowmobile area is via the Briggs Bridge Day Use Area off of Eagle River Loop Road or the North Fork Access at Mile 7.4 Eagle River Road.
Special Features: Great family friendly riding area. Wildlife, scenic vistas.


Anchorage Hillside, South Fork of Campbell Creek (Powerline Pass)

Area Description: Snowmobilers must follow a designated two mile corridor beginning at Upper Huffman trailhead to access the open area. Beyond a sign posted at the two-mile mark, snowmobilers have access to the entire Powerline Valley. Williwaw Lakes Valley is not open to snowmobiles. Crossing over Ship or Powerline Pass will also result in violation. 11 AAC 20.040 (7)
Fee: $5 parking fee or annual day use pass.
Location: Following the signs from O’Malley Road to the Upper Huffman Trailhead. Trailhead is at the terminus of Sultana drive.
Special Features: Views of Alaska Range, Anchorage. Flat lower valley riding terrain and intermediate to advanced riding up valley.
Anchorage Hillside Brochure


Bird Creek

Description: The snowmobiles are allowed on logging roads from the trailhead up valley to the signed closure (Approx. 4.5 miles). The main trail follows the creek up the valley floor. Ride with care, as there are large trees in this area. 11 AAC 20.040 (8)
Fee: No fee at this trailhead.
Location: To access this area go to Mile 101 of the Seward Highway to the Bird Creek Trailhead, then turn toward the mountains on Konikson Road just passed the gas station. Follow road .6 miles to trailhead and parking.
Special Features: Great family riding area. Trails are mainly old logging roads lined with large spruce. Views of surrounding mountains and Bird Creek.
Bird Creek Guide

Easily Accessible Viewpoints and Overlooks in Chugach State Park

Upper Huffman

The Upper Huffman parking lot has trail access, picnic tables and latrines, as well as some remarkable views of the Alaska Range on clear days.

Directions: Head east on O’Malley Rd past Lake Otis to Upper O’Malley, turn right on Hillside Dr., left on Upper Huffman, left on Sultana Dr., parking area and paved trailhead parking ahead.


Turnagain Arm Pullouts

Driving south on the Seward Highway along the Turnagain Arm there are numerous pullouts on the west side/waterside of the highway. Some of the pullouts have interpretive displays to read and there are some great wildlife viewing photo opportunities as well.

Directions: Driving from the north to the south on the Seward Highway: Mile 113, Mile 110.5-Beluga Point scenic viewpoint and there are 4 pullouts after Bird Point between Mile 96 and the Girdwood Turnoff at Mile 89.9.


McHugh Creek

The McHugh Creek middle parking lot has parking spots that overlook the Turnagain Arm from a bit of a higher vantage point, there is also a paved walkway with railing and seating that overlooks McHugh Creek as it empties into Cook Inlet. Within the area there are picnic tables, charcoal BBQ’s, latrines and trail access.

Directions: Driving south on the Seward Highway, it is located at Mile 111.7 on the east side/mountain side.


Bird Point

Bird Point is a convenient spot to rest off the Seward Highway, it has good views of the water and shoreline, a large paved lot, latrines, paved walkway with railing and seating and is the main trailhead for the Bird to Gird Bike Path.

Directions: Driving south on the Seward Highway, it is located at Mile 96.5 on the west side/waterside.


Glen Alps Overlook

Glen Alps overlook is a short ¼ mile walk from the Glen Alps parking lot. It provides stunning views of the Alaska Range and downtown Anchorage. A compass rose points your view in the direction of many nearby peaks.

Directions: Head east on O’Malley Rd past Lake Otis to Upper O’Malley, turn right on Hillside Dr., left on Upper Huffman, right on Toilsome Rd. Follow road to top, left into Glen Alps parking lot.

Photography in Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park abounds with photographic opportunities. Whether you are in search of the perfect sunset, mountain range, moose, or a shameless selfie Chugach State Park has it all.

Here are a few pointers to take in to account before you head out in the park:

1. Always carry more than one memory card, you never know when one will fail. This goes for batteries too.
2. 90% of your shots can come with two lenses, a medium wide angle zoom for scenic shots and a longer tele-photo for animals.
3. Make sure you understand the terrain if you go off the trail, falling on rocks or ice with camera gear can be expensive.
4. A good camera bag is a necessity. It keeps your gear dry and protected.
5. Try to not use the "automatic" setting on your DSLR - learn to shoot in manual or aperture preferred mode. The automatic setting is a compromise for color, light, sharpness and depth of field.
6. Take lots of pictures - practice makes a difference!


Area Suggestions for Photography

Turnagain Arm: Sunrises, sunsets, wildlife, and bore tides, scenic views.

Anchorage Hillside: Denali views, mountainous backdrops, northern lights, alpine flora, rutting moose.

Eagle River Drainage: Meandering water, birds, spawning salmon, mixed forest flora.

Eklutna Lake: Reflective lake shots, high canyon walls, wildflowers, mountainous views.

For further information, you may contact the Chugach State Park Headquarters office at 345-5014 or the Public Information Center in Anchorage at 269-8400.

Mission Statement

"The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation provides outdoor recreation opportunities and conserves and interprets natural, cultural, and historic resources for the use, enjoyment, and welfare of the people."

Accessibility Notice

Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation

Atwood Building
550 West 7th Avenue
Suite 1380
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 269-8700
Fax: (907) 269-8907