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.

      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.

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    Forums Alaska Rivers Anchorage Region Eagle River “Middle” Section