A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 41°/53°/Partly sunny
Fairbanks: 31°/63°/Intermittent clouds
Juneau: 39°/62°/Partly sunny
Eagle River Nature Center volunteer Walt Smith, second from left, leads hikers on a guided nature walk on the Rodak Trail near the nature center. The walks are free, but parking is $5 per vehicle.
Alaskan Scottish Highland Games
Don't travel across the ocean for a taste of Scotland, just head to Eagle River. Events at the annual games include several Scottish "heavy events" like the hammer throw and caber toss. Also, there will be solo piping and drumming, Scottish Highland dancing, sheepdog competitions, living history re-enactments, pipe bands and vendors including food, arts and crafts and clothing. Trio pipers kick off the annual event with a competition at noon June 24 in downtown Anchorage, and a singles piobaireach competition is in the evening.
Where: Lions Park, Eagle River Road
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 25
Cost: $10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 children
Phone: 688-4070, 243-7255
Alpenglow at Arctic Valley
The wintertime ski area turns into a hiking and berry-picking haven in summer months. In late summer the hills are covered with blueberries. There are beautiful views of downtown Anchorage, Cook Inlet and Mount McKinley.
Where: Arctic Valley Road
Cost: $5 parking fee
Bear Paw Festival
The 20th annual festival has dozens of activities for the entire family. The festival features the Slippery Salmon Olympics, entertainment, a teddy bear picnic and lunchbox derby, a rotten sneaker contest, a classic car show, a parade, an outdoor dance, a chili cook-off, a dog and owner look-alike contest, a "tribearathon" and a five-kilometer run.
Where: Downtown Eagle River
When: July 13-17
Eagle River Nature Center
The center, one of the key entry points to Chugach State Park, provides an abundance of information about local geology, birds, mammals and plant life through interpretive displays, programs and guided hikes. Outdoor telescopes and a handicapped-accessible viewing deck make add to the visit. A public-use cabin and yurts can be rented. There is abundant wildlife to be seen, including moose and beavers, and there are daily guided nature walks June through August.
Where: Mile 12 Eagle River Road
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (June to August); 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays (before June and after August)
Cost: Free; $5 to park
Eklutna Historical Park
The park is home to St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The park shows a blending of the Native Athabascan culture with the influences of Russian Orthodox missionaries. It contains a sacred burial ground of the Dena'ina Athabascans with more than 80 "spirit houses." The 20-minute guided tour helps explain both the Native and Orthodox traditions. Native arts and crafts and Russian gifts are available.
Where: Mile 26 Glenn Highway, Eklutna exit
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, mid-May to mid-September
Cost: $5 adults, $4 seniors and military, $2.50 students, free for children younger than 6
Phone: 1-907-688-6026, 242-2837
Get some of the best produce from Matanuska-Susitna area farmers along with crafts. The market features many organic growers. Vendors will bring fresh herbs, vegetables, flowers and crafts.
Where: VFW parking lot, Eagle River Road
When: 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, June 7 to Sept. 27
Take an easy one-mile hike -- partially along a raised boardwalk -- for a beautiful payoff: a hidden waterfall nestled in a deep canyon. A viewing platform makes it easier to get a good look at the falls. Kids and adults of all ages can enjoy the stroll.
Where: Mile 26 Glenn Highway
White-water rafting and scenic float trips on Eagle River are an excellent way to get some excitement close to Anchorage. Lifetime Adventures offers scenic floats, white-water and combo trips. Special gear is provided.
Where: Eagle River
Cost: $30 to $75
Kayaking, bicycling, hiking, fishing, canoeing, camping -- you name it and the Chugach State Park's Eklutna Lake area is the destination. The seven-mile long lake is the largest in the park. Boats must be carried from the parking lot to the lake. The 13-mile Lakeside Trail runs alongside the lake and is perfect for walkers or bicycle riders. Twin Peaks Trail is a 2 1/2-mile trail that is rated moderate to difficult because of the trail steepness. Bold Ridge Trail is a 3 1/2-mile trail that begins at Mile 5 of the Lakeside Trail. There is a 50-site campground at the lake. Lifetime Adventures rents kayaks and bicycles at the lake.
Where: Eklutna Lake Road, exit at Mile 26 Glenn Highway
When: Open daily
Cost: $5 daily use fee; cost for bike or kayak rentals varies
Phone: 345-5014; 1-907-746-4644
Web: www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/chugach; www.lifetime adventures.net