Eagle River is a beautiful glacial body of water that winds its way through a very scenic valley in the Chugach Mountains only about fifteen minutes north of Anchorage, Alaska. It offers both flat class 1 stretches for scenic floating and some exciting whitewater farther downstream.
The easiest put in is at the North Fork Eagle River access point. From here you can put in and float/portage/line your boat about half a mile to a mile before reaching the main channel of the Eagle River. From here it is about eight miles of scenic class 1 water to float until reaching the Eagle River Loop Bridge. Along this stretch you can enjoy high snow capped mountains on both sides, lots of gushing glacial streams meeting the river as well as moose, beavers and bears in abundance.
As the river winds its way toward the Knik Arm you will gradually re-enter civilization when coming to Eagle River, but don't worry, as this doesn't mean the wildlife stops (actually I've seen more moose in vicinity of town than anywhere else). When you reach the Eagle River Loop Bridge (you can't miss it, it is a highway bridge over the river) take out if you are in a canoe or other open boat. If you want a little adventure continue down the river and enjoy the class II "Bridge to Bridge" stretch of Eagle River, followed by the class III "Campground Rapids" and the class III "Military Stretch" which flows through Fort Richardson, AK (you need a special permit to do this so it is best to take out at the campground).
Just a warning... rapids aren't the only thing you need to scout for. I was floating the eagle river in a packraft, went around a corner and almost right into the legs of a large bull moose. Luckily it just looked at me and then proceeded on its way. Just be careful coming around sharp corners.
Overall Eagle River is both a great scenic float and a fun whitewater float easily accessible just outside of Anchorage.
The town of Eagle River is Anchorage's biggest suburb and has everything you could need.
there is a 5.00 parking fee but other than that you are clear
From Anchorage, proceed north on the glen highway until reaching the Eagle River Loop exit. Take the right off of the exit and proceed around eagle river loop until hitting the four way stoplight where it intersects eagle river road. Turn right at the light and follow eagle river road for eight miles until you see the sign for "north fork eagle river access". Pull into the parking lot there and the put in is just a short trail away.
The North Fork Eagle River access point has a parking lot and a trailside put in which can accommodate canoes, kayaks, and small rafts. If you are a pack-rafter you can go all the way to the Eagle River Nature Center then hike a few miles along the Alberts Loop Trail to add about five miles of scenic class one to the trip. If you just want the whitewater stretch then it is easiest to put in at the Eagle River Loop bridge.
Chugach National Forest
The "Alaska River Guide" is a good book for floating these rivers
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)