Okay, Not Bad   Thunderbird Falls Easy


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Location: Eklutna, near Anchorage, Chugach State Park, Anchorage County
Stream:
Alternate Names:

Height: ~70 ft.
Access:   hike   dog  
Distance: 1.6 miles (RT)
Elevation: 100 ft. (+200 ft.)
Season: year-round
Form:  
Lat/Long:61.4422, -149.35819
Directions:Along Hwy 1, 13.5 miles north of Eagle River, take the exit marked to Thunderbird Falls (Old Glenn Hwy). Drive 0.3 miles to the signed trailhead (there is a $5 fee).

Thunderbird Falls is a very popular destination for locals and tourists, located just outside of Anchorage in Chugach State Park. Although Thunderbird Falls is really a spectacular 70 ft. high falls on the Eklutna River, I was not really overly impressed mainly because of the number of people on the trail and also because there are no good viewpoints of this waterfall.

The hike is an easy 0.8 miles on the well signed trailhead up to the falls. You do gain 200 ft. in elevation along the way. There are quite a few Aspens along this trail, and I think it would be very pretty in the fall. It would also be a great destination in the winter with ice on the waterfall. In the summer, I found quite a few mosquitoes, especially right at the overlook viewpoint.

Near the end of the trail, you reach a junction. If you go straight, you come to the main overlook of the falls. However, it is entirely obscured and you can only see the top part of the falls. If you go left, you go down to the river and bottom of the falls. But you can only see the very bottom section of the falls from there. In order to see more, you can either splash up the cold swift flowing creek to the base of the falls, or scramble up a very tricky and steep slope to try to get a better view. I chose the latter and the resulting picture is shown here (and I still could not get a completely clear view of the falls).

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