Located 33 miles north of Anchorage, or a 35-minute drive, Eklutna Tailrace has become a popular spot to visit in Alaska due its picturesque ‘gatorade blue-colored water’.
Outside of just being a great photograph, there’s a few other reasons why you should add Eklutna Tailrace to your Alaska itinerary. In this post, I’m going to share the best things to do at Eklutna Tailrace, Alaska.
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What is Eklutna Tailrace?
A tail race is a channel that carries water away from a hydroelectric plant or water wheel. Eklutna Tailrace is an artificial fishery. It was a result of a fish hatchery that is no longer operational. The tailrace is half a mile long and connects to the Knik River.
How to get to Eklutna Tailrace from Anchorage
- From Anchorage, drive north on the Glenn Highway
- Take the Old Glenn Highway exit
- Follow the Old Glen Highway until Mile 3.5
- Turn left into the Eklutna Tailrace parking lot
Parking here is free and bathrooms are available on-site.
5 Things To Do at Eklutna Tailrace
1. Outdoor Photography
If you’re a photographer, you’re going to be obsessed with Eklutna Tailrace. It’s a popular spot in Alaska for outdoor photo sessions. I love the entire scene here with the beautiful reflection on the water, a cute wooden bridge, and Pioneer Peak in the distance. The landscape changes throughout the seasons, which makes it a great place to visit year-round.
2. Salmon Fishing
Eklutna Tailrace is know for its fishing, especially king salmon fishing. I can’t say I’ve actually caught one here myself but the fishery is regularly stocked with pinks, chum, and dollies, and it’s the only area open to harvest in the Northern Cook Inlet management area. I recommend getting out there early in the day for your best chances of hooking a fish and getting a good spot on the water. Check the local fishing report and don’t forget to purchase a fishing license!
3. Mushroom Hunting
As I was exploring the woods on the other side of the tailrace, I noticed a lot of different mushrooms. I love taking photos of mushrooms and trying my best to identify them. I found some massive Artist’s Conk mushrooms on a few of the birch trees. Fall is a great time of year for mushroom hunting in many parts of Alaska.
If you’re looking for a chill place to kayak, I recommend paddling along the Eklutna Tailrace. You can make your way towards the hatchery or take the slow current down the Knik River. I don’t really recommend going very far down the river, especially if you’re not an experienced kayaker. I really enjoy kayaking here during the winter because it’s quiet and peaceful.
5. Hidden Views
After crossing the wooden bridge to the other side of the tailrace, you can follow the trail through the woods and explore some of the surrounding area. The path will take you towards the old hatchery. Hidden in the woods are a few old cars that are partially buried in the ground. You can also find a hidden channel of the river that resembles a lake. It makes for a beautiful reflection photo when the water is calm!
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Do you have any questions on things to do at Eklutna Tailrace? Let me know in the comments.