|Neighbor Julie, Phil and llamas on the boardwalks.|
To access the lower Eagle River trail, most people start from the Briggs Bridge where there is a small parking lot outside the gate.You can also pickup the trail from the campground and parking lot (fee area) near the river. (It's reported that the parking area inside the gate is closed and locked by 10 p.m. so be sure to leave before then.)
From the Briggs Bridge access, the lower Eagle River trail goes east for about two miles through birch and spruce forest over relatively flat terrain. The old section of trail skirting the private land has been improved over the years and is now clearly marked. (See photo on left.) Boardwalks have been added to a marshy section next to the Swan Pond. Remains of charred trees and scorched ground remind us of the wildfire that burned about 25 acres in this area over the Memorial day weekend in 2016. More info on the May 2016 wildfire at this link - Hiland Road Wildfire.
Before the trail reaches the South Fork, a trail to the left cuts through the woods and takes the hiker to the confluence of the South Fork and Eagle River. If you walk a short distance beyond the trail to the left, you will reach the South Fork itself. The bridge across the South Fork is long gone so you will have to ford the stream if you want to pick up the trail on the other side and continue on to Barbara Falls. Since our destination today was the Eagle River, we took the trail to the left. It's a short hike from here to the Eagle River. When the salmon are in, be particularly "bear aware" along this stretch as you could surprise a bear due to river noise. At the confluence, there is a grassy area and exposed gravel bar where you can take a break and enjoy views of the river and surrounding mountains.
Trail Conditions were wet and muddy on May 20th (Sunday) so waterproof footwear is recommended. We often see moose and swans in the ponds, but didn't this time. We didn't see bear sign either, probably because the salmon are not in the river yet. The water levels in the South Fork and Eagle River were fairly low.
|May 2016 Wildfire Burn Area|
The trail is open to biking as well as hiking so it's not unusual to see fat tire bikes on the trail. It is also common to see rafts and kayaks floating by on the Eagle River at this location.
|Llama gazing at moose in pond.|
For more information on this hike, go to
Topo Map - Lower Eagle River Trail
Alaska Hike Search
Briggs Bridge Access
|Pack rafters near the confluence of the Eagle River and South Fork.|