Review of Eagle River Campground

By Ryan Wilson

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Eagle River Campground

If you’re visiting Anchorage from out of town, or live in Anchorage and want to camp not far from home, then you should check out the Eagle River Campground.

It is conveniently located near Anchorage, but still gives you a great wilderness feel. A short drive from downtown Eagle River, you can find many restaurants, a grocery store, and a brewery.

There are also a bunch of hikes and activities a short drive (less than 15 minutes) from the campsite.

I’ve driven by the campground for years but only recently checked it out. If you’re looking for a nice campground close to Anchorage, this could be the right choice for you.

Below I provide an overview of Eagle River Campground, what it has to offer, and other information to help you decide whether this campground is the right fit for you.


Eagle River Campground Review

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Eagle River Campground is a nice location near the mouth of Eagle River Valley. It sits right on Eagle River which helps mask noise from the nearby Glenn Highway. I was surprised how little noise there was at the campground given that it is located less than half a mile from a busy highway (at least by Alaskan standards).

Eagle River Campground Kiosk
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The campground is located in Chugach State Park and is operated by the Alaska State Parks system and costs $20 per night. Unlike most campgrounds I’ve visited in the state, Eagle River Campground has a maximum stay of 3 nights. I’m not sure why they don’t have a more standard 14 day maximum stay, but perhaps it is because it is so close to urban areas they want to ensure people are not living at the campground?

Most of the campsites had good spacing between them with decent privacy.

Eagle River Campground Campsites

Eagle River Campground has 57 campsites with an additional 10 sites in their overflow lot. There are no RV size limits. Within the 57 campsites, there are 8 sites that are designated as tent only sites (sites 8-15). But they are prime spots in the park, backing up to Eagle River!

Tent only campsite
Eagle River Campground Campsite

Each campsite has a picnic table and campfire pit.

As a wildlife biologist who studies bears, I also like that Eagle River Campground has food storage lockers in case you are not camping with a vehicle. There are a lot of bears in the area, so keeping a clean camp is VERY important.

Pay attention to signage in the campground about recent bear sightings and talk to the campground host about any concerns you might have.

Eagle River Campground Amenities

Eagle River Campground offers drinking water from spigots scattered around the site.

Outhouse at Eagle River Campground

There are multiple outhouses with pit toilets around the campground.

There is also a dumpster for your trash. Please do not leave trash or food unsecured because both grizzly and black bears live in the area and could become problems if people don’t properly manage their camps.

There are no sewer, water, or electric hook-ups at Eagle River Campground, but there is a dump station that costs $5. Unfortunately, it was inoperable in summer 2023.

Eagle River Campground Reservations

Campsites are first-come, first-serve, so you don’t need to make any advanced reservations.

When is Eagle River Campground Open

The campground is open between late May and late September, annually.

Where is Eagle River Campground Located

Eagle River Campground is located about 15 miles from Anchorage. It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the campground from Anchorage with an easy drive along the Glenn Highway.

Activities

There are a lot of activities within a short drive of the campground.

Eagle River Nature Center

Eagle River Nature Center

Eagle River Nature Center is located near the head of Eagle River Valley and is a 15-20 minute drive from the campground. At the Nature Center, you can explore it’s exhibits about the ecology and geology of the area, or explore their extensive trail network.

Be on the lookout for bears because both grizzly and black bears are commonly cited there. You can also look for salmon spawning in the fall along a network of boardwalks.

Hiking

Barbara Falls is a close hike that is great for the whole family. It’s a 1.3 mile round trip hike that takes you to the base of Barbara Falls.

Mount Baldy is another nice hike in Eagle River that is not far from the campground. It is a 2.7 mile round trip hike. I’ve done this one with my young son when he was 7, so it’s a good hike with young children.

Rafting

Rafting and kayaking Eagle River is another activity that is nearby the campground. As far as I know, there are no outfitters that guide this river. So you’ll be on your own and need your own equipment.

Eagle River is not a leisurely river. There are numerous parts that are pretty treacherous and should ONLY be attempted by those with lots of river rafting/kayaking experience. Don’t underestimate the river, numerous experienced rafters have died navigating Eagle River.


Summary

Eagle River Campground is a conveniently-located campground a quick drive from Anchorage. But even given its proximity to the “big city”, it still offers peace a solitude a relaxing weekend retreat.

Even if you’re not heading out camping soon, I recommend driving through the campground if you’re passing through the area just to see if it is the right fit for your style of camping.

Interested in learning more about other camping opportunities in Alaska? Check out our page on Alaska Campgrounds to learn about other campgrounds to explore.

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Author

Ryan is an avid outdoorsman who loves camping, hiking, and backpacking. He was initially reluctant to join the camper world, but after his first camping trip in one, he became a convert. He especially loves how camper ownership extends the camping season and makes it easier to be more adventurous with young kids. When not enjoying his free time, he works as a professional wildlife biologist studying the ecology and conservation of large mammals in Alaska.