Winter in Alaska brings lots of snow to already stunning landscapes like Eklutna Lake and when the scene gets covered in a fresh white blanket the whole states gets even more picturesque. With fresh powder coming down twice last week it was an easy choice to pack up my cross-country skis and head out on the Eklutna Lake Trail! I hiked the whole 12.9 trail in the fall but this was my first time here cross-country skiing on fresh, ungroomed trails.
Welcome to Eklutna Alaska!
You’ll find everything you need to explore Eklutna Lake here in this post. Scroll down for directions, parking info, and even a downloadable map! If you enjoy this page please share it with a friend you want to explore Alaska with!
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Ekluta Lake Trail
Eklutna Lake Trail leaves right from the parking lot and on this trip made fresh making fresh ski tracks straight from my car! The trail follows the north side of Eklutna Lake but before you get too far be sure to take a stop by the lakeside, its right near the parking lot and on a calm fall morning has a perfect reflection. On a winter day it’s it will be completely frozen over!
Getting to Eklutna Lake
Eklutna Lake is about 1 hour from Anchorage by car.
Take Alaska 1 North past Eagle River until the exit for Eklutna Lake.
Google Maps Directions are simple to follow.
Eklutna Lake has rocky shoreline making it perfect for kayaking and fishing in the warmer weather.
In the winter the lake freezes over and you can ski or skate on it.
Eklutna Lake Alaska
I thought about traversing Eklutna Lake on skis but since I’m still a new Alaskan and its been a bit warm I chickened out. Later in the day, I did see a guy skiing on the lake but I had a lot of fun on the trail so I’ll just have to come back again to ski on the lake right? I stayed on the old trail by the lakeside but if you come with a snowmachine or ATV you’ll need to take the new road that runs parallel to it.
On the Eklutna Lake Trail you have two choices, hike/ski on the old trail OR share the new trail with motorized vehicles, dogsleds, or even a motorized dog sled!
Parking at Eklutna Lake
Don’t risk a $50 parking ticket!
Living in Alaska? Get your parks pass for $50
Visiting Alaska? Pay a $5 parking fee at the entrance.
These backpacks are perfect for trekking Eklutna Lake or anywhere in the world!
The first time visited Eklutna Lake was when Ben and I hiked out to Serenity Falls with his friend Sam. Together we backpacked along Ektlutna’s riverside trail and out to the Serenity Falls Cabin. We had a beautiful fall day with blue skies and a perfect mirror reflection in the lake. Clear skies meant Ben and I could take some night shots later too!
Eklutna Lake Cabin
There are 2 cabins available for camping at Eklutna Lake along with some campgrounds.
Yuditnu sleeps 6 and is the first Eklutna Lake Cabin along the trail. (Reserve it on Alaska.gov for $60/night)
Serenity Falls Cabin is newer and sleeps 13 at $15 per bunk or $165 for the whole cabin. Reserve Serenity Falls Cabin with this form.
Just past Yudintu Cabin you’ll find the Bold Ridge Trailhead. I turned back before this fork on my ski trip but we went all the way up Bold Ridge before getting to Serenity Falls. The Eklutna Lakeside Trail is mostly flat while the Bold Ridge Trail has a sharp incline with over 3500 ft of elevation gain in just 3.5 miles!
Bold Ridge Trail
The Bold Ridge started as a steep Autumn stroll and turned into my first tundra trek. Even though the leaves below were still yellow up on the ridge we battled a few inches of snow. We were thankful for the blue skies above and knew the viewpoint would be worth the struggle.
We spent a little over an hour working our way to the viewpoint as the trail slowly turned from a forest floor into a snowcovered tundra. Brambles crunched with the snow beneath our feet and the trail became impossible to find. I led the way clearing a snowpath as we zigzagged up the final stretch of the ridge.
Eklutna Lake Map
Click here for a downloadable Ekultna Lake Map from Alaska.gov
One foot in front of the other I focused less on the act of hiking and more on what lay ahead. We scouted the horizon for signs of bear or moose while philosophizing about life, the universe and everything.
I the began to dream of hot chocolate and the MRE that awaited me for dinner as my legs grew tired and longed for a break. We passed the Eklutna Airport and eventually turned the corner to see our home for the night! The cabin itself was hidden in the trees, it was dark and not a great photo so instead here’s another shot of Eklutna Lake!
The next day we set off exploring some of the further reaches of the Eklutna Lake Trail but certainly didn’t cover it all! I’ve been twice now and am sure I’ll go back to Eklutna again soon.
Have you been to Eklutna or do you want to go? Tell me about it and whether you’d prefer the winter or fall hike in the comments below!
Hotels near Eklutna Lake Trail
Eklutna Lake is not far from Anchorage but remote enough that there aren’t many options for accommodation. If you aren’t camping on the trail then the closest place to stay is Eagle River but your online selection is limited so I recommend booking today!
Eagle River Microtel – Rooms from $52 and up – This is the cheapest accommodation I found near Eklutna Lake. The Microtel has a variety of rooms available and 24/7 reception.
Alaska Chalet Bed & Breakfast – $85 and up – This BNB is the best place for couples to spend a getaway in Eagle River. Their suite comes with a spa bath and so much more!
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Disclaimer: This is the internet and It is safe to assume that links and content contained on this webpage provide compensation to the website’s owner. The opinions here are my own and the information here is accurate as of February 2018. Unless otherwise labeled, all photos were taken by Mike Still.