The put-in for the Bridge to Bridge section of Eagle River is reached by heading east off of the Eagle River Loop Road just south of the Eagle River bridge. If you are kayaking or canoeing, you can park immediately and carry your boat down toward the river, turning upstream just above the river, and walking down a muddy slope to a small beach. If you are rafting, continue .5 miles to a second parking lot. A wide trail leads 100 yards to a small beach.
Take out 2 miles downstream at the Eagle River campground on river left, 100 yards above the Glenn Highway Bridge. This is reached by exiting the Glenn Highway on the Hiland Road/Eagle River Loop Road exit and driving straight across the intersection, following the road 2 miles to the campground. Note that there is a day parking fee of $5 and that the gates close at 10pm. Ask a local about Âthe free sideÂ take-out. Alternately, continue another 4 miles down the class III- Military Stretch but only if youÂve got the permit..
The Bridge to Bridge section of Eagle River is the after work run of choice of many Anchorage boaters. It offers a long paddling season from April to October, a few play features, and one respectable rapid. ItÂs a cold, glacial-gray river in a shallow canyon with houses on the rim, but it feels more remote from inside the canyon. On one hand, this is an excellent beginner river because of the mild rapids, short length, and easy access, but it also is a very cold river, and swims can be a quite long at high water. Wood is always an issue, and tends to accumulate in a few spots, listed below. High water runs feature boils and washed out rapids (except for Campground), and can take as little as 15 minutes, which makes the boating vs. putting on and taking off the dry suit ratio go way down. At low water, more features appear and things slow down. Two hours is not an unexpected time to be out at low water, taking advantage of the few decent play spots.
Passing under the Eagle River Loop Road Bridge, the river takes a large curve to the left then back to the right. At low flows, a small wave forms in the middle of the first drop. The river then curves left. At low water, this is a fun rock garden where slalom skills can be practiced. At high water, this is mostly a flush with washed out features. The river then curves to the right through a class II rock garden with a pool below, known as Clay Ledges from the river right bank formation. At low to medium flows, a good hole forms here, known as GinoÂs Hole for a local paddler who tragically died at this spot in 1997. Notice that wood tends to accumulate on the right downstream side of Clay Ledges. Below this, the river continues to make sweeping turns through class II rock gardens. A sign announcing Campground Rapids is first seen one drop before the scout. Take out on river left just below the canoe portage sign to scout. A good trail leading downstream through the woods leads to a series of ledges allowing good views of the rapid. Campground is a class III rapid with more significant consequences. It consists of a large rock on river right that becomes a pourover at higher flows and a set of ledges across the river. The first ledge is passed in the center left, and is usually seen as a series of waves only. The second ledge is more significant, and is usually passed on the far right. Wood tends to collect on this ledge. This is no place to be upside down as the rocks are sharp, and they are angled upstream. Several local paddlers bear Campground scars on their faces. If itÂs looking a bit meaty for you, or thereÂs a log stuck in the right slot, consider either a portage (with canoe portage rails provided) or the left side sneak, which requires a strong eddy grab on the left to avoid being swept onto the bottom ledge. After campground, the river continues another 200 yards to the take-out on river left at the campground.
Eagle River is gauged by the Alaska Pacific River Forecast Center . 3.0Â on the gauge is a low flow, 4.0Â is a medium flow, and 4.4Â is a high flow. Eagle River is fed by the Eagle Glacier in the Chugach Mountains, and sees a glacial melt high in July and August.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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