South Fork Eagle River Trail is a 10.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Eagle River, Alaska that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, horses, and backpacking and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length10.7 miElevation gain1,558 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingHikingHorseback ridingForestLakeRiverViewswild-flowersWildlife
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Reviews (489)
Photos (602)
Recordings (392)
Completed (1,044)
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Samuel Davila
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Hiking
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Nicole LaFrankie
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HikingGreat!Muddy

We went in the beginning of October and started around 8am when everything was frozen so that was great to not be stuck in mud! it was beautiful watching the sun come up over the mountains and noone else was on the trail with us until about 11 or so. we got back to the lake around noon (we stopped A LOT to take pictures, saw moose and marvel at the sunrise) the path thawed around noon so it was muddy on the way back. We got back to our car around 2pm. pretty flat minus the first incline on the path but not hard.

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Lisa Kim
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Hiking
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Daniel Libassi
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Hiking
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Nicholas Moriarty
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HikingGreat!

This is an easy hike until you get to the very end of the lake where you’re hiking over fallen rock. It you like being a billy goat, which I do, you’ll love the end. The valley is stunning and we had a light snow covering on the whole trail which made it extra beautiful. Truly spectacular scenery at the lake.

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Alexa Donahe
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HikingMuddy
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Cassandra Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2020
HikingIcyMuddyRocky

Started at 10am and trail was still mostly frozen which was great, by noon some patches of mud showed up in the half mile before the boulder field. On the way back 2-4pm trail had melted out and was super muddy and slippery for about 3.5 miles. Bring poles. Lakes are beautiful!!and I loved this hike despite the muck

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Martha Wilkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 9, 2020
Hiking

Had a great hike! Not too muddy and great views. Didn't finish because I got a late start, but I'll be back!

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Natalie P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 8, 2020
Hiking

Started at 1:45pm on 10/8/20 and clocked 11.1 miles in 5 hours. From trail head to edge of boulder field, it took us 2 hours moving at a pretty quick pace. Trail initially starts with some incline, then flattens out as you walk along the side of the valley on a well defined trail through evergreens. You'll begin to descend into the valley, and once you hit the valley floor (~2.5 miles) you'll cross a bridge over a stream. This is where the trail will take you to the other side of the valley. After the trail climbs a small hill, be on the lookout for where the unmarked trail forks - there will be a small boulder directly on the trail path to indicate to you to pay attention. KEEP RIGHT. The left trail gains elevation up & away from Eagle & Symphony lakes. A good rule of thumb is to always keep moving down the middle of the valley, keeping Cantata Peak in view. Once you hit this fork, the remainder of the trail is pretty much a trek straight through the valley on not well defined trail, lots of mud, lots of false trails that always lead back to the main trail. If you seem to get off trail, just keep moving down the valley (the trail keeps to the left side of the valley). Another marker to look out for is a very large flat-top boulder, and you'll know you're headed the right way. You'll know when you're close to the boulder field when you see run-off ponds from Eagle Lake. This is where it starts getting very windy, and very cold. Cross over the bridge, and start forging your own path on the boulder field. I suggest staying to the left as much as possible (closer to Eagle Lake) and follow the cairns. **The boulder field will take you longer than you think, it's huge.** In order to see both of the lakes you will need to traverse the entire field. Due to daylight hours, we opted to only see Eagle Lake, then turned around to trek back. We saw 5 other hiking parties. The main takeaways are 1) Bring bear spray, hat, headlamp if you start late 2) Start early in the day so you can take your time at the boulder field 3) $5 parking fee 4) Eagle Lake is absolutely stunning, and this hike is an incredible way to feel deep in the Alaskan wilderness, while still being a short drive from Anchorage

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Tucker Foster
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 8, 2020
Hiking

Muddy in certain areas but overall great hike!

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Lael Bach
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
Hiking

Wet and wonderful

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Thomas Dec
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
HikingMuddy

Gorgeous hike, and pretty muddy. Bring good boots and/or poles! Saw a couple of moose. Well trafficked, but not overcrowded.

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Emanuel Nardnov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
HikingGreat!Muddy

One of our favorites! A little over 10 miles round-trip, a little muddy on the back half but still great. Lakes are well worth the effort to get there!

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Lexis Ramos
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Hiking

Only completed about half the trail, took us about 2 hours to reach the halfway point. First few miles easy and then the trail dies off. Muddy towards the end :)

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Sammi Morris
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Hiking
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Bree McDougall
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HikingMuddyNo shadeScramble

Trail was great! Definitely muddy in some spots but absolutely stunning views throughout the entire trail. Boulder field at the end is long and you really need to pay attention to what you’re doing. Definitely a trail worth doing. We clocked just over 11miles and did it in about 5 hours.

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Brandon Erickson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeRockyScramble

September 19, 2020: second time in less than 3 weeks. I was determined to come back after the first time and make it to the lakes the next time. Done! And worth it! The boulder field at the end is tricky, and the trail seemed to disappear/end only to eventually be found again 10 to 50 feet away after looking for it. The trail is only modestly helpful in navigating the boulders. It felt like a “everyone for themselves” mentality: just get to the top anyway you can. The majority of the trail is fine and was very enjoyable. That small river seemed like a scene right off a postcard. Amazing! Camping next to it would be awesome. I arrived at noon on a Saturday with good weather. The parking lot was full and about 40 or more cars parked on side of road. Despite that the trail didn’t seem too crowded. I would definitely do it again.

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Sean Poynter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 16, 2020
HikingFeeGreat!MuddyNo shadeRockyScramble

First couple miles are very easy on a packed trail with no mud. The next 3 are a little tougher with mud (mostly avoidable) and rocky patches. At 5 miles you can see the tip of Eagle Lake and can cross a bridge to a boulder field then navigate about 3/4 of a mile across it to get excellent views of both lakes. The entire trip in and out is quite beautiful, especially with the fall colors. I stopped at the end of the way in to eat lunch in view of the lakes then spent an hour picking berries from the patches growing in the boulder field toward Eagle Lake. I highly recommend this hike!

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