Destination Alaska: Flute Glacier

Just minutes from town, score big scenery fast on the South Fork of Eagle River.

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 With gorgeous lakes and an icefield set between towering peaks, the sights here scream classic Alaska, yet the moderate challenges (straightforward routefinding and creek crossings) make it a perfect introduction for Alaska novices. The 19-mile out-and-back follows the South Fork of Eagle River to Eagle Lake (mile 4.5). The lake is popular with locals, but few hikers venture where you’re going—to the Flute Glacier.

To reach it, follow user trails southeast from the south shore of Eagle Lake. After short stretches of alder bashing, cross the Eagle River and head upstream along the north bank. At mile 8.2, start the first of two short scrambles that lead to the glacier toe, where you’ll find campsites—and stay-awhile views.

The Way From Anchorage, go 10 miles north on the Glenn Highway, then 8.5 miles on Hiland Rd. to the trailhead.