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Overview

Anchorage's backyard playground, this is the second largest state park in Alaska and one of the largest in America. Chugach State Park encompasses almost 500,000 acres of mountainous terrain, stretching from Eagle River south to the town of Girdwood, a distance of 35 miles. Much of the park is snowcapped mountains, glaciers, alpine tundra, and picturesque valleys. Hiking and mountain biking are popular summer activities, while winters bring backcountry skiers and snowshoers. The Eagle River Nature Center is a highlight, and a challenging 25-mile mile trail leads from here over Crow Pass to Girdwood. Myriad trails radiate out from several ...

Anchorage's backyard playground, this is the second largest state park in Alaska and one of the largest in America. Chugach State Park encompasses almost 500,000 acres of mountainous terrain, stretching from Eagle River south to the town of Girdwood, a distance of 35 miles. Much of the park is snowcapped mountains, glaciers, alpine tundra, and picturesque valleys. Hiking and mountain biking are popular summer activities, while winters bring backcountry skiers and snowshoers. The Eagle River Nature Center is a highlight, and a challenging 25-mile mile trail leads from here over Crow Pass to Girdwood. Myriad trails radiate out from several Chugach State Park trailheads. Especially popular is the Glen Alps Trailhead, where you can choose from a wide path to Powerline Pass, a hike to Williwaw Lakes, or the steep climb up Flattop Mountain. The last of these attracts throngs of summer hikers and early fall blueberry pickers. If you lack a vehicle, Flattop Mountain Shuttle provides van transport. Eklutna Lake, on the northern edge of the park, has a lakeside campground, hiking trails, and kayak rentals, along with a public-use cabin and yurts. Another cabin and three yurts are near the Eagle River Nature Center. Also popular is the 9-mile Turnagain Arm Trail that parallels the steep shoreline along this long inlet south of Anchorage.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Chugach State Park covers 495,204 acres (2,004 square kilometers) immediately east of the Anchorage Bowl in south-central Alaska.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Anchorage
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    July through September for hiking, September for berries