Eagle Beach is a place of connections; here, the river meets the sea, the forests meet the shore and the mountains meet the sky. Visitors to Eagle Beach will find opportunities to explore some of the spectacular, verdant landscapes which so characterize southeast Alaska. Venerable Sitka spruce and Douglas fir populate the area's ancient forests, salmon and bear frequent the Eagle River, shorebirds scurry across tidal flats. Out on past the coastline, harbor seals, sea lions and whales thrive in the rich oceanic waters. And, of course, bald eagles can be found perching on trees and diving for fishy meals (the beach is aptly named).
The park and its spectacular surrounds can be explored by foot or by boat. An extensive trail network crosses over beaches, through wetlands and across swaths of forested wilderness, while a nearby boat launch offers kayakers and canoers the chance to explore the Favorite Channel and Eagle River delta. Eagle Beach sits at about 600 acres, but to the north and east it is surrounded by the massive Tongass National Forest, which provides endless opportunities for hiking, backpacking, foraging, wildlife viewing and more.
Snow-covered peaks and stunning white vistas await those who visit during the quieter winter months.
Eagle Beach sports 30 primitive RV-suitable sites, all placed right near the shores of the Eagle River. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance.
Eagle Beach is located right off of AK-7, a route along the Alaskan panhandle that is broken into four pieces, which are connected by ferry routes. This section of road is known as the "Glacier Highway". The Glacier highway passes through Juneau, which is about 35 minutes south of the park, and heads northward towards it terminus at point Bridget State Park. The road, which roughly follows the coastline, is fairly flat and free of hairpin turns. Travelers will find driving to be easy and incredibly scenic.
The campground's setup is straightforward and parking should not be a challenge, so long as you are under the park's listed length limits. There's ample space in between sites and no sharp turns to worry about. Most of the park's trailheads are within walking distance of the campground, but there is additional parking available along the Glacier Highway for those looking to access the Amalga trail or the Boy Scout Beach trail. Additional parking is also available at both beach day use areas.
Eagle Beach sports a campground with 30 RV-suitable sites, all set near a bend in the Eagle River. Hiking trails, tidal flats teaming with fauna, scenic picnic areas and sandy beaches are all within walking distance of this beautiful campground. All sites here are primitive, with no electric, water or sewage hookups. No dump station is present either, though you can find several in Juneau, just half an hour's drive to the south. The park does have a potable water pump, and there's plenty of surface water available too (though it must be boiled or treated before being consumed). Several pit toilets are located nearby, but there are no modern restrooms.
All individual sites also have campfire rings and grills, so you can enjoy a lovely beach-side fire and a hot meal.
Several primitive, tent-only, walk-in sites are also available for those wanting an even more rugged Alaskan camping experience.
RV sites are reservable up to six months in advance.
An extensive network of hiking trails awaits visitors to Eagle Beach. The seven and a half-mile Amalga trail hugs the scenic Eagle River and treats those who reach its end with a spectacular view of Eagle Glacier and its surrounding mountains. The more rugged, less-maintained Yankee Basin trail leads into its geographic namesake, a swath of gorgeous forested wilderness that will make you feel as though you've left the map altogether. For those pursuing a milder, though no less scenic, trek, try the wheelchair-accessible Loop Trail or the sand-bound Beach Access trail.
Beaches, rivers, wetlands, and forests provide diverse habitats to a plethora of wildlife species at Eagle Beach. Perhaps the most famous (and certainly the largest) animals to frequent the area are brown bears, which hunt for salmon in the river and feed on the forest's troves of berries. Bald eagles and ospreys can be seen circling overhead or perched on massive Sitka spruces, while dozens of species of shorebirds, including many varieties of gulls, plovers, and ducks, can be spotted along the tidal flats, as can adorable Harbor seals. Red foxes, grey wolves, and porcupines are just a few other woodland denizens here.
Though the harvesting of natural objects is not permitted on state park land, it is certainly allowed on Tongass National Forest, which surrounds Eagle Beach. Several trails, including the Amalga and Yankee Basin Trails, head onto the Tongass. Heavy rains and moderate temperatures support a rich assortment of edible plants and fungi. Salmonberries, thimbleberries, huckleberries, wild strawberries, and more can be found in the thick woods, as can mushrooms including the coveted morel, king bolete and chanterelle.
Though the skiing options are limited at Eagle Beach - just one 1.3-mile trail is maintained for cross-country skiing - the fantastic winter views offered by even this short trail make the journey worthwhile. You can wind your way through magnificent, old growth groves of Sitka spruce and Douglas-fir, with branches all coated in think layers of snow. Catch glimpses of the partially frozen Eagle River as you sail across a wintry Alaskan wonderland. There's usually no shortage of the white stuff - nearby Juneau receives almost 90 inches of snow per year.
Eager photographers will find no shortage of spectacular subjects at Eagle Beach. Landscape photographers can point their cameras towards the jagged Chilkat Mountains, the stunning Favorite Channel, or the thick, verdant rain forests that surround the park. Wildlife photographers can have a field day with the area's numerous shore birds, or they could try to capture a brown bear's dramatic fishing attempts. Macro-photographers will find fascinating life forms growing in the inter-tidal zone and plenty of ferns, flowers and more to photograph deep in the woods.
Visitors can search for treasures in the sand along the tidal flats and sandy shoals of the Eagle River and the Favorite Channel, which it lets out into. Two picnic areas are placed right on the beach, and the Boy Scout Beach Trail travels along the shore front for several miles, offering gorgeous views and the chance to search for oceanic shells, sea-glass, driftwood and more. Along the way, you'll probably catch sight of the beaches' diverse avian life.