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Hiking the Twin Peaks Trail at Eklutna Lake
Updated September 2020, Hiking The Twin Peaks Trail At Eklutna Lake was originally written in September 2015
I’ve lived near Eklutna Lake my entire life and not until last weekend did I ever hike the Twin Peaks Trail that meanders up above the perfect turquoise waters. We opted to take the route to summit Pepper Peak, a 4.5 mile (each way) hike that starts from the Twin Peaks Trailhead and meanders off from Twin Peaks and eastward.
How To Get To Eklutna Lake
A visit to Eklutna Lake makes for a perfect day trip from Anchorage. From the Glenn Highway, you’ll take the Eklutna exit and head east from the overpass and take a right onto the Old Glenn Highway. At a little, less than half a mile down the road, take a left on Eklutna Lake Road. From there you’ll follow the road just over 14.5 miles to arrive at the Eklutna Lake parking lot.
Note that there is a $5 per day parking fee at Ekltuna Lake unless you are an Alaska State Parks permit holder.
Looking for more hiking ideas in the area? Check out my post 16 best day hikes near Anchorage
The Twin Peaks Eklutna Lake Hike
The first 2.5 miles of the Twin Peaks Hike at Eklutna Lake is pretty straightforward, following an old roadbed. The Twin Peaks Trail switchbacks through the woods, eventually getting out of the treeline just before reaching a bench that overlooks Eklutna Lake. Most people seem to stop here, but honestly, the views get better and better the higher you go so I’d recommend continuing on. From the bench overlooking Eklutna Lake, the trail heads somewhat north offering views of East and West Twin Peaks. The path keeps climbing upwards to eventually end at another bench.
From the second bench, there is a narrow goat path that can be muddy and slippery at times and can be easy to lose. This trail will bring you through heaps of blueberry bushes and up toward the summit of Pepper Peak. Eventually, you will end up on a ridgeline where you’ll have epic views of Eklutna Lake, Eklutna Glacier, and the wild mountain scenery of this northern edge of Chugach State Park.
This hike is pretty demanding as it will take you about 9 miles roundtrip and up 4,540 feet in elevation. This isn’t a technical ascent whatsoever so most reasonably fit hikers could easily make this hike.
The Best Time To Visit Eklutna Lake
Eklutna Lake is a year-round destination, however, it is more enjoyable in summer and early fall. For getting out on the lake (you can bring a kayak, canoe, or raft, or rent one at the lake) the best time is of course June-October (do note that this is a glacial lake with water that is incredibly cold, that people have died in).
For hiking (whether you’re planning to make the hike up Twin Peaks Trail, Bold Peak Trail, Pepper Peak, or others) my personal favorite time is mid to late September when the yellows and oranges of the trees and snow-capped peaks really pop against the turquoise blue of Eklutna Lake. Realistically though, May through early October are all great months for hiking any of the trails around Eklutna Lake.
Have any questions about the Twin Peaks hike or Eklutna Lake?
Ask in the comments section below.