Hiking the Albert Loop Trail near Anchorage

If you’re looking for a beautiful and mellow hike near Anchorage, or place to stretch your legs on an Alaskan road trip, the Albert Loop trail at the Eagle River Nature Center might be the perfect hike for you. The Albert Loop trail is a great beginner family friendly hike through the forest up in the Eagle River Valley from the Eagle River Nature Center, with stunning mountain views. If you want to get more miles in, you can also hike further up the valley.

The trails from the Eagle River Nature Center connect to the 23 mile Crow Pass Trail, one of the most beautiful and beloved multi day hikes in Chugach State Park that takes hikers from Girdwood to Eagle River.

The Albert Loop trail keeps it mellow and is good most of the year hike, except for the time in closes in late summer due to the salmon run in the Eagle River which attracts many bears (roughly August through October). The hike is a 3 mile loop with just over 100 feet of elevation gain.

The Albert Loop Trail and the Eagle River area are the lands of the Dena’ina Ełnena People.

Parking Pass: $5 Parking fee at the Eagle River Nature Center (parking machine in parking area)

Dog Friendly: Yes, on leash.

Cell phone coverage: Depending on who your cell service provider is, you may or may not have service here. Don’t count on it if it’s your first visit.

Restrooms: In the visitor center

Accessibility and Mobility: This is a well maintained trail with a small amount of elevation gain. Some of the trail has boardwalks and some is dirt or gravel trail. In winter this is generally a well packed trail, but it may be icy. Microspikes are a good idea in winter, or snowshoes if there has been a big snowfall. In summer, there may be quite a bit of mud and water on parts of the trail, especially near the river. The trail is sometimes groomed for cross country skis when the weather conditions permit.

A hiker on a winter trail covered in snow hiking through a snowy forest into the sunny on a sunny winter day.
The magical Albert Loop trail on a sunny winter day

Where is the Albert Loop Trail?

The Albert Loop Trail is part of the network of trails at the Eagle River Nature Center, connecting to the Crow Pass Trail in Chugach State Park.

The Eagle River Nature Center is about a 45 minute drive from Anchorage. To get there, head out of town on the Glenn Highway towards Palmer. When you get to Eagle River, take the Eagle River Loop Road and then the Eagle River Road which ends at the Nature Center about 12 miles from the highway.

A wooden and log visitor center with signs in front, trees and big mountains with lingering snow behind it
The Eagle River Nature Center. Photo Credit: Jamie Volz

When is the best time to hike the Albert Loop Trail?

The most important thing to know about the Albert Loop Trail is that it is closed from approximately August 1st until November 1st during the salmon run. The salmon run brings lots of bears to the river, so to keep hikers safe and protect the bears’ opportunity to access an important food source, the trail is closed during that time. You can hike other trails in the area during the closure.

I love this trail in the winter, especially on a sunny day when you can see the amazing view on the far side of the loop that opens up to the valley.

Spring and summer are also a great time to hike this trail, make sure to have waterproof footwear during the summer since this trail can be super muddy and wet.

Trail Description

The Eagle River Nature Center provides an excellent map to help you find your way around the trails. This description will follow the Albert Loop Trail clockwise starting from the Eagle River Nature Center and the parking area.

If you’re visiting in winter, and the trail is groomed for cross country skis, walk or snowshoe to the side of the groomed trail so you don’t disturb the track for skiers. You’re skiing friends will thank you!

Start out on the Rodak Trail and quickly get to the expansive viewing decks and check out the view of the valley and the mountains.

A pond surrounded by bushes and trees and distant mountains on a sunny day from the Albert Loop trail at the Eagle River nature center
View of the Eagle River Valley in summer. Photo Credit: Jamie Volz

You’ll quickly come to a junction between the Dew Mound Trail and the Crow Pass Trail. Take the Crow Pass Trail to the right and slightly downhill.

When you come to the trail intersection about a mile from the start, turn right to onto the Albert Loop trail. When you see the sign for the yurt, keep right to stay on the main trail. The next section goes closest to the river and has some really incredible views of the valley and out over the river.

A boardwalk trail over a partially frozen creek surrounded by snow and snowy mountains on a blue sky sunny day on the Albert Loop Trail at the Eagle River Nature Center
The boardwalks and views of the Albert Loop Trail (photo taken in March)

If you want to make the loop slightly shorter, take the Bypass Trail on your right, otherwise keep going a bit further along the river to stay on the main trail.

The trail eventually turns right and goes up the hill again to return to the Eagle River Nature Center.

Other things to do near the Albert Loop Trail

Make sure to visit the small but excellent Eagle River Nature Center visitor center to learn more about the area.

Nearby Eklutna Village has beautiful Spirit Houses and Eklutna Lake is a good place to rent a kayak or go for a another hike. Thunderbird Falls is also close by and is another short beginner friendly hike.

Hatcher Pass is not too far away and is another location full of year round outdoor adventure of hiking (summer) or snowshoeing or skiing (winter).

Palmer is home to a big helicopter tour operation as well as the Musk Ox Farm and the Alaska State Fair.

Any of these additions can round out your day trip from Anchorage or your stay in Palmer, Eagle River or Wasilla.

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Jennie Flaming
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years. I've been a tour guide in both Alaska and Washington and I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best low key adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!