Alaska Hiking, Nature August 03, 2018
This Delicious Blueberry Hike In Alaska Will Wind Down Your Summer In All The Right Ways
Blueberry picking while traveling up a rugged trail is a classic Alaskan activity and the most delicious hike around. Blueberries are bountiful in the Arctic right now, which means that they should be ready very soon in south-central Alaska. Head up the South Fork Valley Trail to Eagle and Symphony Lakes for the blueberry hike of your dreams. The taste of Alaskan summer is distilled into dark purple berries with a sweet and tart flavor that is completely unique. This blueberry hike will stain your fingers and the memories of the majestic mountain trail will forever leave a mark on your memory. The time is now! Head out for a blueberry picking quest that will take you to these sparkling lakes among snow-capped peaks, a scene found only in Alaska.
The trail begins at the South Fork Eagle River Trailhead and heads into the spruce forest. For berry picking, you'll have to follow the trail until it rises out of the forest and into the open alpine meadows.
Most people will enjoy this moderate trail that runs 4.8 miles one way to Eagle Lake. This is one of the easiest trails for accessing Alaska's backcountry on a moderate day hike.
Symphony Lake lies a bit beyond and you'll want to schedule a full day of berry picking, picnicking, and relaxing once you reach the top.
Although it appears you are up in the sky, the elevation gain of the trail is only 850 feet across the entire length. Wear sturdy shoes to traverse the boulders between the two lakes for the more adventurous.
Along the way, you'll find plenty of Alaskan low bush blueberries (Vaccinium uliginosum). These particular berries are smaller than a grocery store blueberry, but the dark purple packages burst with tart and rich juice.
Blueberries have been a staple of the Alaskan subsistence lifestyle since time immemorial. Bring a container that seals or you will permanently stain your backpack with memories of picking blueberries.
Of course, Alaskan black and brown bears also love berries, so make sure you make lots of noise while picking and stay in a group. Keep talking and singing and the bears will keep their distance, but bring along bear spray and have a plan in case they don't.
The trail was recently closed due to a bear in the area but is now reopened. For further tips on bear safety,
Once you have tasted real wild Alaskan blueberries, nothing else will do. Make sure to pick enough so that some make it into the freezer for the winter months ahead. A pop of color and summer flavor can brighten up any January day.
You can camp in the alpine meadows off the trail as long as you stay half a mile from the trail and stay for 10 days or less. Use purification techniques on the water if you want to drink it, or just carry in plenty of fresh water for your group.
This hike is a wonderful out-and-back trail any time of year. In the snowy months, take cross-country skis for a brisk journey, in the spring and early summer hike out for the wildflowers, and every fall head here for the blueberry hike of your dreams.
You can bring the dog on a leash, but no bicycles are allowed.
2098 West River Dr.
Eagle River, AK 99577
Have you been berry picking at Eagle and Symphony Lakes? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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