Eklutna/Native Alaska Exploration

Native Alaskan culture is a major part of the history of the state. The Glenn Highway provides easy access to this piece of the past, and you can explore many facets of Alaska's native heritage, from original village sites to modern cultural events.

The Eklutna area was the site of Athabascan villages more than 800 years ago. You will find an amazing mix of Native history and outdoor adventure here. Situated just 25 miles outside Anchorage, this is an easy drive with great stopping points along the way.

Alaska Native Heritage Center

 Situated at the edge of Anchorage on Heritage drive, this is your first stop on your Native history exploration. From the Glenn Highway, take the Muldoon exit north at Mile 4.4 and follow directional signs. The Alaska Native Heritage Center is dedicated to showcasing and preserving Native culture. It is open year-round, with various exhibitions, shows and exhibits. Admission fees range from $7-$23 with special rates for families and Alaska residents.

Leaving Anchorage, take the Glenn Highway past the Eagle River, Chugiak, and Peter's Creek areas.

Thunderbird Falls

The Thunderbird Falls exit is located at Mile 25.2 of the Glenn. Drive in about one mile to the parking area, and take an easy, one-mile hike up to the viewing platform to see the falls. This area provides exceptional photo opportunities, and the trail to the viewing platform is open year-round.

Eklutna Historical Park

 Taking the Eklutna exit at Mile 26 will take you into Eklutna Historical Park. Explore the history left behind by Athabascan Indians and Russian Missionaries. Stop at the Village Heritage House and see photos and artifacts. The Eklutna cemetery with its colorful "spirit houses" makes an interesting tour, and you can also visit St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, the oldest building in the greater Anchorage area. Fees for admission range from $3 to $6.

Eklutna Lake

Carved by Eklutna Glacier, Eklutna Lake is clear, cold glacier water. It is surrounded by a campground with 50 camping slots, and an excellent trail system that makes its way along this seven-mile lake. The hiking here is fairly flat and easy, though it does get more difficult in some areas. It's a great stop for fishing or a walking tour, with mountains rising around the lake creating breathtaking scenery. There is a picnic area, day use facilities with a fee for parking, and observation areas for wildlife viewing. You can also rent bicycles, kayaks and canoes to further explore the area.

It's a short drive back to Anchorage from here, so spend the whole day and enjoy your drive along the Glenn, exploring all this scenic Byway has to offer.

America's Byways