Eagle River “Middle” Section

Forums Alaska Rivers Anchorage Region Eagle River “Middle” Section

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    Jule Harle

      SOURCE: The Alaska Packraft Guidebook: Premier Rivers & Creeks in the 49th State (1st ed) Copyright: 2022 by Jule Harle.  Refer to the guidebook for additional info, photos, waypoints or detailed river maps. Author permission required to reproduce, duplicate or transfer following content.

      Difficulty: I-II
      Length: 3.2 miles
      Gauge: USGS Eagle River Gauge: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/inventory/?site_no=15277100
      Shuttle: None, start & end at car
      Put-in: 61.29842, -149.47668

      Takeout: At ER Greenbelt Briggs bridge, 61.29786, -149.53381 or continue downstream for “Bridge to Bridge” section

      Character: An ideal hike & paddle for the “never ever” packrafter; this section offers great symmetry-about an hour of easy hiking with just under 2 hours of class I floating- and there’s no shuttle, the trip starts & ends at your car.

      This is a popular float among rafters & canoers, but more commonly accessed upstream via the Chugach State Park North Fork Eagle River parking area, about 6 miles down Eagle River Rd.  That variation forgoes the hike, involves a shuttle and adds 8 more miles to the trip- approx another 3-4 hours of river time.

      Water Level: This run opens up in late April-early May, but with low water & potentially some snow on the hike.  This section is doable at most water levels & remains class I, although the water may move faster from an increase in glacial melt during mid summer months.

      Hike Description: 2.3 miles, 1-1.5 hrs. The trailhead was unmarked at the time of writing, but begins on the Northeast side of the lot, 61.29665, -149.53163.  Within the first few hundred feet, veer right & continue heading upstream.  The trail goes through the forest, but you can’t see the river while you’re hiking.  After about 2 miles, before crossing a drainage, veer left & head down towards the river.   Expect to get your feet wet, the last stretch has some “interesting” & unstable boardwalk situations…. sometimes they’re floating & secure, sometimes they’re submerged and unpredictable ;).  Slogging around through the bog & brush on the right is an option too.  When the gauge is over 5.5 ft, the large put in gravel beach area might be underwater.

      Trail goes through a marsh before put-in, often snowy in May. Photo: Jule Harle

      River Description: While there isn’t much in the name of whitewater- “moving lake” with some eddy practice may be a more appropriate description- this section has great scenery and views of the Eagle River valley.  The river is not braided, but still requires active paddling to navigate around the many slow moving & meandering bends.  Stay alert for wood on the outside of turns.  Takeout when you see the warning signs for rapids downstream, unless also paddling the Bridge to Bridge section.

      Brooke Edwards getting in some early season class I practice. Photo: Jule Harle


      • This topic was modified 2 months ago by Jule Harle.
      • This topic was modified 2 months ago by Jule Harle.
      • This topic was modified 2 months ago by Jule Harle.
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    Forums Alaska Rivers Anchorage Region Eagle River “Middle” Section