It always amazes me how accessible Alaskan beauty is for those of us who are blessed to live in this state. Spin around, and it usually surrounds you. And while we love hopping in our car for long drives and camping trips, oftentimes some of the prettiest places are still pretty much right under your nose. One of those places for anyone who lives in or near Anchorage is Eklutna Lake. Located just outside of Anchorage, this state park lake is a perfect spot for a picnic, evening in the sun, or place to take visiting family and friends who want to see more of Alaska.
My kids know Eklutna Lake as the teepee lake. Along the shores of the lake are many large teepees that make excellent forts for your children to play in. My children can genuinely spend HOURS in these teepees – laughing, playing, imagining, building, dreaming. It’s one of my favorite places to simply take them and watch their imaginations take over. Why keep your children inside the walls of your home if you have such an amazing natural playground so close?
And since Eklutna Lake is, after all, a lake (shocker, I know), there’s all sorts of normal lakeside activities to enjoy. Splash in the stream that flows down into the lake. If you have kayaks, bring them along! If it’s a warm day, go swimming (the water is cold though – it’s a glacier fed lake!). Skip rocks. Fashion little boats from sticks and logs and see how far you can launch them. There’s no end of activities.
Eklutna Lake is also a wonderful place to see wildlife. We almost always see moose in the area, and we’ve also seen black bears right near Eklutna Lake. On that note, since black bears and grizzly bears are known for being in the area, please be bear aware! Bring bear spray, bear bells – or, you know, just bring kids who usually make enough noise to let the bears know you are there. Always give moose and bears a proper amount of distance!
If you are looking for more of a hike, there are two options. You can stroll leisurely on the lakeside trail for several miles if you wish. Or you can take the more intense Twin Peaks trail for an absolutely stunning view of the lake. We honestly have not done Twin Peaks trail yet, but we’ve seen the pictures and it is on our list! We just might need to leave the kids with someone for the afternoon to do it. We will keep you posted on when we attempt that!
Rochelle’s Ice Cream Shop
When you leave Eklutna Lake, be sure to stop by Rochelle’s Ice Cream shop. You can’t miss the cute little shop just outside of the state park – it’s our favorite stop for a little Alaska summer treat. Rochelle’s is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day every year, and has the best ice cream around. Definitely give the Fireweed and Honey ice cream flavor a try – it’s our favorite!
During the winter, this is also a wonderful place to come. Cars with studs and/or 4 wheel drive is recommended as the mountain roads to get to Eklutna Lake can be pretty icy. It’s well worth the drive and so beautiful though! Do your research, but Eklutna Lake is a popular place to cross country ski and ice skate amongst the locals.
Other Adventures near Eklutna Lake
If you are looking for other little adventures near Eklutna Lake, check out Reflections Lake, Thunderbird Falls, or Barbara Falls. All are wonderful family outings. Let me know if you have any other suggestions for outings in the area! We’d love to check them out!