Trail difficulty
Green
Elevation Gain
200.00 ft (60.96 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
10.00 mi (16.09 km)
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Lakeside is the primary trail at Eklutna Lake, used year-round for everything from casual walks to multi-day expeditions. It’s open to hiking, biking, skiing, ATVs, and snowmachines depending on the season. Motorized travel is usually light, however, and there is a designated non-motorized path for much of the trail’s length. The non-motorized variation is mostly flat and traces the lakeshore with serene views of the Chugach Mountains. Bold Peak dominates the view, rising starkly from the upper end of the lake, with snow draping its many cliffs at any time of year. In the valleys beyond you can spot several glaciers, which are just part of the icebound highlands that drain into Eklutna, and provide a drinking water supply for Anchorage.

The Lakeside Trail totals more than 12 miles to its end near the foot of the Eklutna Glacier, and backcountry routes continue from there. Several public cabins, available by reservation, can be reached by this trail as well. There’s no need to go so far or to stay overnight, however. A shorter out-and-back is a perfectly good way to enjoy the Lakeside Trail, whether on foot––or better yet––by bike. If you don’t have your own, you can rent from the outfitter that sets up near the trailhead in the summer. In winter when the trail is covered in snow, Eklutna Lake is still accessible but you’ll want to bring a fat-tire bike for riding the trail. 

The Lakeside Trail begins as a wide dirt road, with views over the lake right away. The non-motorized trail deviates after about one mile, and the junction is well signed. This trail proceeds to rejoin and depart from the road several times, but remains easy to follow. The surface is smooth dirt and gravel with no major hills. There are a few rooty and rocky sections, however, and a couple of washouts that you might walk your bike around.

You can continue as far as you like before turning around. If you want to keep it casual, the bridge at about 5 miles makes a good turnaround point. At this bridge you can stash your bike and check out the creek that tumbles below, or walk down to the beach and relax by the water. There’s no reason not to continue farther, however, if you have the desire.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

$5.00

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Easy ride with great views. Access to deeper backcountry.

Cons

Parts of trail shared with ATVs.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

900.00 ft (274.32 m)

Highest point

1,100.00 ft (335.28 m)

Features

Family friendly
Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Waterfalls
Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Big Game Watching
Bird watching
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Hiking
Motorized vehicles

Route Characteristics

Trail

Location

Nearby Adventures

Chugach State Park, Alaska
Chugach State Park, Alaska
Anchorage + Western Chugach, Alaska

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