Eklutna Lakeside Trail is one of my favorite biking trails in Southcentral Alaska. It’s an easy, 12.7-mile out-and-back trail located in Chugach State Park.
The trail follows Eklutna Lake for seven miles and then continues along the river to the moraines of Eklutna Glacier, a glacier-fed lake that provides water to the city of Anchorage and surrounding areas.
There are two public-use cabins and three remote campgrounds along the way which make it a great bikepacking trip for beginners.
In this post, I’m going to share everything you need to know to bike Eklutna Lakeside Trail in Alaska.
- Biking Eklutna Lakeside Trail in Alaska
- Planning Your Eklutna Lakeside Trail Bike Ride
- Eklunta Lakeside Trailhead
- Additional Information
Biking Eklutna Lakeside Trail in Alaska
Traditional Land: Dena’ina (Visit Native-Land.ca to identify whose land you live, work, and play on.)
Distance: 12.7 miles one-way
Time: 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Eklutna Lakeside Trail Map
- Arrive early, especially on weekends
- Bring $5 for parking if you don’t have an Alaska State Park Pass
- Use a mountain bike, gravel bike, or fat bike
- Check the weather forecast before you go
- Watch out for parts of the trail that may be washed out
- Combine it with an overnight trip to Serenity Falls Hut
How to Get to Eklutna Lakeside Trail
From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway. Take the Eklutna Lake exit and follow signs for Eklutna Lake. The road is windy and slow. Park at the Eklutna Lake parking lot.
Planning Your Eklutna Lakeside Trail Bike Ride
This trail is open year-round but the best mountain biking conditions are usually May (when the snow has melted) to October (before the snow falls). I love biking here in the fall because the colors are so beautiful! It’s also a great trail for winter fat biking.
Where to Start From
Eklunta Lakeside Trail starts from the Eklutna Lake parking lot. Parking at the Eklutna Lake parking lot costs $5 per day unless you have an Alaska State Park Pass.
I recommend arriving early because the parking lot fills up fast, especially during summer weekends when the weather is nice.
Eklutna Lakeside Trail Conditions
To check the current conditions, you can view the Alaska State Parks recent recreation conditions report here.
Eklunta Lakeside Trailhead
The Eklutna Lakeside Trail starts from the Eklutna Lake parking lot. You’ll head east from the parking towards a bridge and head right on the trail.
The trail follows an old roadbed and ATVs are allowed from Sunday through Wednesday between April 1 and November 30 and snowmachines are allowed when snow there is enough snow cover.
The bike trail splits from the motorized trail to follow a non-motorized singletrack trail closer to the lake. You will continue to merge and split with the motorized trail for most of the ride. There are also sections that wind through the trees.
I love biking close to the lake because the views of the Chugach Mountains with the deep blue waters of Eklutna Lake in the foreground are stunning. On a clear day, you’ll get a nice reflection shot on the water.
Once you reach the south shore of Eklutna Lake around mile 7, the trail becomes a single dirt ATV trail and it can be a little more difficult to ride with all of the loose rocks.
The first designated campground is Bold Airstrip and can be found at mile 8.7. There is also a landing strip here.
You’ll cross two bridges, two additional designated campgrounds, and the connecting East Fork Trail before reaching Serenity Falls Hut at mile 12.
The Eklutna Lakeside biking trail ends at mile 12.7, which is where you can find a viewpoint of Serenity Falls.
At this point, you will have to drop your bike to go any further. If you continue on the small footpath you can reach Eklutna Glacier. The glacier is receding and it will require route finding to access it.
It should take you less than two hours to bike the entire trail. If you want to get into bikepacking, I highly recommend this trail for beginners.
There are many connecting hiking trails from the Eklunta Lakeside Trail. Besides Twin Peaks Trail, I recommend doing the rest of these as hike and bike adventures.
Here is a list of connecting hiking trails with mile markers:
Mile 0.5 Twin Peaks Trail
Mile 5 Bold Ridge Trail
Mile 11 East Fork Trail
Mile 12.7 Serenity Falls
Mile 13 Eklutna Glacier
Public Use Cabins
There are two public use cabins accessible from the trail. Yuditna Creek Cabin can be found a Mile 3 and Serenity Falls Hut can be found at Mile 12.
Designated Camping Sites
There are 3 remote campgrounds along the Eklutna Lakeside Trail. Each campground has a picnic table, fire ring, and a latrine.
Here is a list of designated campgrounds with mile markers:
Mile 8 Bold Airstrip Campground
Mile 8.8 Eklutna Alex Campground
Mile 11 Kanchee Campground
Wildlife in the area includes moose, muskrats, black and brown bears, mountain goats, Dall’s sheep, and ptarmigan.
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Knik Glacier Fat Bike Winter Trip
Pin For Later
Do you have any questions about biking Eklutna Lakeside Trail in Alaska? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for the personalized information! I felt like I was meeting up with an experienced biking girlfriend for a ride this morning! It took me 3 hours round trip with the giant puddles left by the rain. Also a newbie on a fat bike. Super fun and beautiful trail!
I love it! I’m glad you had a great time. Have the fall colors started to come in?