Monday, August 29, 2016

Eklutna Lake Campground

This campground has been on my bucket list for years, but it is a stretch for a weekend (5 hours away) and they don't take reservations so it's a long way to drive and find out there's no spot open. But this has been the summer of knocking off many hikes and trips that have been on my bucket list, so I was determined to make it happen. 

This campground is definitely high on my list of fun places to visit, and my only regret is that we didn't discover it sooner as it is a family playland. Here are some features:

  • Nice, roomy, fairly private sites
  • Three hiking trails:  two climb up the nearby mountains; one is an easy loop. There are also all the miscellaneous trails around the campsite.
  • A kayak and bike rental shop
  • A 10+ mile gravel road along Eklutna Lake that ends at a glacier.  Fourwheelers are allowed on the road Monday through Wednesday, along with bikers, walkers, etc. Thursday through Saturday no fourwheelers are allowed so the bikers and walkers get it all to themselves
  • An ice cream/coffee shop with take-out type food (burgers and such)
  • Group camp area
  • In the middle of construction:  a cabin for folks to rent
  • You can swim in the lake, or any non-motorized vehicle (it is the water source for Anchorage)
This place is about 25 minutes north of Anchorage; once you get off the freeway it is 10 miles down a winding road that makes 30 mph seem fast. There is no cell phone access (a good thing, I think!). So once you're out there, you're not going to be running into town since any town is quite a ways away. But it has all sorts of amenities out there to make it comfortable.

To me, this is the sort of campground you bring your family and your toys and enjoy for a week.

Here is my photojournal:

Eklutna Lake

The Twin Peaks Trail is a couple thousand foot climb, though it is not clear where the official trail end is

Multiple trails appear in steeper spots as folks seek stable footing

Twin Peaks Trail above treeline

Eklutna Lake from top of Twin Peaks Trail. The road runs the entire length of the closer side of the lake, about 12 miles

The Twin Peaks the trail is named after. The trail doesn't climb up to the peaks

The ice cream and etc. shop

The bike and kayak rental shop

A sign along one of the trails that made me laugh


Val said...

I love your posts ..they are really useful and fun.
You've now reached one of our favourite spots ...we've spent a few weeks here for the last nine seasons. It's a lovely spot .
Unique lake qualities are it's smaller in the spring (Water is drained off all winter and it doesn't start to refill until melt time....lots of shore and fills over the Summer until it's quite full in the Autumn (and further to paddle)
It tends to be beautifully calm with magic mountain reflections in the early morning and when the cloud cover is low all day ..
BUT the winds can really kick any time they feel like it especially after 11am and then the Lake can be quite daunting. It can get very nasty so exercise caution. Always wear a life jacket.
We always Kayak the sides of the Lake and cross at the narrow point if appropriate.
..some may play/paddle near the river but this is NOT a swimming lake's far too cold . (Its so cold it doesn't return it's dead) A young soldier who fell from his boat this Spring didn't make it to shore and there was nothing the people watching could do I'm afraid.
But like a lot of Alaska it is a beautiful place and we love it ...just always remember it's totally indifference to us and be cautious.

Thanks again for you great posts!

Michelle Waclawski said...

Thanks for your great addition to my blog post about Eklutna. I noticed the winds kick up when we were there and thought about the kayakers, because many of the folks we saw going out were complete newbies, many from other countries, who had likely never canoed before. I can see that there could be serious challenges for these folks if the wind kicked up and they were out in the middle. Most Alaskan lakes that I am familiar with (Skilak, Tutsemena) are glacially fed, very cold, and are quite unpredictable and therefore quite dangerous.

A note about swimming--we saw quite a few folks swimming on the nearest end when we were there the end of July...but upon reflection they were really just wading so perhaps I should have made that distinction. Admittedly, the weather has been warmer than usual this summer so perhaps that shallow end was warm enough to splash in.

Thanks for reading and posting!