Take the Eagle River exit 13 miles north of Anchorage  on the Glenn Highway, then your first right onto Eagle River Road, a dazzling paved 11-mile ride right into the heart of Chugach State Park . Rafters and kayakers on the Class II Eagle River can put in at two access points (Miles 7.5 and 9) along this road.
The road ends at the Eagle River Nature Center (907/694-2108, www.ernc.org , Sun.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–7 p.m. June–Aug., Tues.–Sun. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. May and Sept., Fri.–Sun. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Oct.–Apr., parking $5), which features a “close-up corner” with furs and a track book, as well as an aurora display and a gift shop. Park rangers lead daily 1.5-hour hikes at 1 p.m. June–August.
The Rodak Nature Trail (0.5 miles round-trip) is a wide gravel route with informative signs on snow, glaciers, the forest, and the sun. It’s 15 minutes well spent. For a longer walk, take the seven-mile River Trail along the Eagle River.