There are some places in Alaska that strike gold in your heart and leave you utterly blown away almost instantaneously. From the natural beauty, incredibly kind and educated staff, overnight facilities, majestic mountain views, endless hiking trails and fantastic amount of wildlife – this place is everything. It is fun and adventurous yet peaceful and serene. It is the perfect place to enjoy all alone, with close friends or with the entire family. There is literally something for everyone at this magical place.
The best part? It is easily accessible and super convenient to Alaska’s largest city of Anchorage. After you head to this non-profit facility just once, you will find yourself falling completely head over heels in love. If you’re a nature lover, we can basically 100% guarantee it…
Located just about 45 minutes from Anchroage is this truly special place within the Chugach State Park known as Eagle River Nature Center (ERNC). Along the way to this magical place your eyes will be rewarded with gleaming sights of mountains, glaciers and the potential to spot a fabulous amount of wildlife in the Eagle River Valley.
Most visitors head out to ERNC to enjoy a vast array of outdoor activities including hiking, running, birding, camping, cross country skiing and wildlife viewing. Others come to enjoy the daily nature walks, educational programs put on by naturalist guides and guided walks for families of all ages. The center does a phenomenal job of providing interpretive educational opportunities for locals and visitors alike to learn about the habitat that they are exploring.
The viewing decks and beaver ponds offer amazing scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. Your eyes are sure to be delighted by the natural wonders at the Eagle River Nature Center.
Fish can be found swimming in the ponds and streams by the viewing deck and the Albert Loop trail. You cannot fish in these areas but you can certainly stay and enjoy the sights and snap as many photos as you'd like.
Many that come to ERNC enjoy the awe-inspiring opportunities to enjoy a vast array of birds.
Bald eagles and Bohemian Waxwings are just a couple of the species of birds that you will have the potential to see. The quaint bird feeders or "bird condos" at ERNC are fun to look at and enjoy the different birds chirping about.
Hiking along the boardwalk into the lush forest is like something out of a dream. It's peaceful and serene with air so fresh that you can't help but to feel overwhelmed with happiness. As you continue into the park, always be aware of your surroundings. You are in bear country and the potential to spot one of these huge creatures is certainly there.
Moose are another type of wildlife that you will have a great chance of viewing here. But these large animals can actually be more dangerous than bears, so again - always be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Enjoy an epic photo shoot from a safe distance and be sure not to agitate or disrupt the wildlife.
If you see some of these beautiful and adorable snowshoe hares hopping around, take the time to stop and enjoy them. With their fuzzy bellies and little wiggling noses, you're sure to enjoy a good smile just soaking in the moment.
Vibrant mushrooms and flowers can be found all throughout this spectacular place. Your eyes will be amazed by all the color that you can feast on - especially during the summer and fall months.
The Dew Mound Trail at the ERNC is a great option for those exploring this spectacular natural oasis. You will wind through spruce, aspen and birch trees before coming upon a small lake. Stop and take a photo with the family or enjoy a snack and soak in the glorious views.
Many that come to ERNC like it so much that they want to stay a while. While you have the option to camp in tents (off trails with rules that apply), a great option is to stay in one of the yurts available. You can book one of the yurts online
While staying overnight, be sure to soak up as much of your beautiful natural surroundings as possible. Take a walk on the creek, let the wind blow through your hair and soak in the serene silence that you won't get in the city.
Bring something delicious to cook for dinner and build a fire in the designated fire pit areas. No matter what time of year you choose to enjoy ERNC, you are always guaranteed to have a great time when you gather up your special someone or close friends around the campfire.
There are a lot of great places to collect bark for kindling to get your fire going nice and warm. Just be sure to be safe and put the fire out once you're finished. Also remember to always pack out anything that you bring in (don't leave your trash in this beautiful clean place).
Keep the fire going underneath the night sky and star gaze until you're too tired to keep your eyes open. When camping in Alaska, stay up as late as you want and never feel guilty about it. The natural beauty is simply too stunning to ignore.
And luckily for you, even the sunrises in the Chugach State Park are something to write home about. So if you stay up late enjoying the s'mores and reindeer dogs around the fire, you'll have no problem getting up early the next day to enjoy all the natural splendor at ERNC.
Have you even experienced this breathtakingly beautiful place in person? What is your favorite activity to enjoy here?