Crow Pass Traverse Hiking the Crow Pass Trail then paddling Eagle River offers all the best parts of Alaska: traveling the Historic Iditarod Trail, viewing historic mining areas, taking in waterfall views & epic glacial scenery in the high alpine before floating downstream.
Our driver picks you up in Anchorage for an hour drive along the Turnagain arm to the Crow Pass Trailhead in Girdwood. The trail gradually climbs up the valley, gaining 2000ft while we pass by & explore historic mining claims. After 3 miles, we’ll see Raven Glacier- a view worth spending some soaking up, before we arrive at the route’s high point, Crow Pass, 3500ft. The route towards the Eagle River is downhill, but requires hiking through rocky glacial moraine. thick brush, and sometimes snow; the trail is less maintained & not always obvious at times.
There are multiple camping options; we’ll make a group decision & spend the night near the Raven Gorge or closer to Eagle River.
Once we arrive at the river, we switch to packraft mode & go over a river safety review. The first ¼ mile is the most technical & challenging section; the current is swift with waves or holes worth avoiding. If you aren’t ready to “hit the ground running” you have the option to put-in downstream, below these features. The river slows down, but remains engaging as we maneuver through gray glacial braids, steer around log jams & stay alert for bears & moose. The views of the Chugach Mountains while floating downstream are impressive & better from the river, views only packrafters see, as the trail stays hidden in the brush.
We takeout after 8 miles, above Echo Bend’s class IV rapids, turning back to hiking mode for the final 3 miles. We’ll meet our driver at Eagle River Nature Center & for an hour drive back to Anchorage.
Must be comfortable paddling class II & able to hike up to 8 hours with a heavy backpack (up to 50 lbs), carrying personal gear, through mountain terrain. Prior backcountry camping experience, familiar with personal gear & self-sufficiency with meals.
River difficulty: Class II
Dates available July-September. Contact for inquiry.
2 days, 1 night
Hike: 15 miles
Packraft: 8 miles