Chugach National Forest Frequently Asked Questions

How do I access the Chugach National Forest? Is there an entrance or entrance fee?

There is no formal entrance station. The Forest may be accessed a variety of ways, along the road, by boat, or plane. Chugach National Forest begins about 40 miles south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway.

How can I get to facilities on the Chugach National Forest?

A private vehicle or boat gives you the most flexibility, however the Seward bus line http://www.sewardbuslines.net/ 888-420-7788 or 907 563-0800) can drop you off on points along the Seward Highway

The Alaska Railroad  (800 544-0552) also travels from Anchorage to Seward and has some key Whistle Stops along the way that allow you to get into the backcountry.

Permitted guides are available for a variety of activities in the forest and boat and plane transportation to areas around the Forest.  .

How many public use cabins are on Chugach National Forest?

There are 40 cabins for public use that may be reserved in advance by calling 1.877.444.6777 or reserving online at: www.recreation.gov

Where can I find more information about the cabins?

https://fs.usda.gov/chugach or www.recreation.gov

How many campgrounds are on the Forest?

We have 22 campgrounds and several day use/picnic sites and a group day use site. You can reserve campsites by visiting www.recreation.gov or calling 1-877-444-6777

Can I reserve cabins and campgrounds?

Yes. All cabins must be reserved in advance. Most of our campgrounds take advance reservations as well. There are a few campsites which are first-come, first-serve and most campgrounds that take reservations also have 1 or 2 first-come, first-serve sites. To reserve a cabin or campground visit www.recreation.gov 1-877-444-6777

What is the cost of the cabins and campgrounds?

Prices can be found at www.recreation.gov or https://fs.usda.gov/chugach or on the cabin or campground rec sheets on the website. Cabin prices are from $10 - $28 per night. Prices vary by cabin and season and are between $40 -$85 per night.

How many miles of trails?

There are more than 500 miles of trails (winter and summer combined) on the Chugach National Forest. Approximately 78% of our trails are maintained to standard.

What is the acreage of Chugach Naional Forest?

There are 5.4 million acres of land and water that make up Chugach National Forest. The forest is approximately the size of New Hampshire.

What kind of heating fuels are used at the cabins?

There are a variety of fuels used at the cabins. Some use wood, stove oil, propane, or kerosene. Information on what fuel is needed for each cabin is on recreation.gov and our website.

All cabins have a woodstove except:

  • Kerosene: Coghill, Crow Pass, Shrode Lake, and Spencer
  • Propane: Dale Clemons, Devil’s Pass, East Creek, Harrison Lagoon (& wood stove), Pigot Bay, and Paulson Bay

Stove Oil: Double Bay (& wood stove), Pete Dahl, Tiedeman Slough, Martin Lake, Hook Point (& wood stove), Beach River (& wood stove), Log Jam Bay (& wood stove), San Juan Bay, Jack Bay, Nellie Martin (& wood stove), Green Island (& wood stove), Softuk Bar (& wood stove), Port Chalmers (& wood stove)

Where are the cabins on the Resurrection Pass Trail and what is the mile marker for each?

  • Trout- 7.7 miles (30.6 miles)*
  • Romig-9 mile (29.3 miles)
  • Juneau Lake-9.5 miles (28.8 miles)
  • Swan Lake- 12.8 (25.5 miles)
  • Devil’s Pass- 16.6 miles (21.7 miles)
  • East Creek-23.8 miles (14.5 miles)
  • Fox-26.8 miles (11.5 miles)
  • Caribou-31.3 miles (7 miles)
*Miles from south trailhead and (miles from north trailhead)

What is the winter access to Resurrection Pass Trail south?

At mile 53.2 Sterling Highway turn north into trailhead parking area. Recommended winter access is via West Juneau Road just west of this trailhead. Park at highway pullout then follow this unplowed road 2.4 miles. Turn left following orange diamond markers for 1.6 miles to Resurrection Pass Trail.

Alternate winter access via Bean Creek Trail. At mile 47.7 Sterling Highway turn onto Bean Creek Road and follow 1 mile to Slaughter Ridge Road. Turn right and follow for 0.5 mile to end of plowed road and park. Then follow unplowed road 1.3 miles to Bean Creek Trail. Follow 1.8 miles to Resurrection Pass Trail.

Personal use wood cutting information

Only dead or down trees may be cut. Do not leave stumps taller than 12 inches from the ground. Minimize your debris, spreading it around and at least 25 feet into the woods. You must be 150 yards (450 feet) off any road, trail/trailhead, campground, cabin, or body of water.

There may be times when stacked or piled firewood is available and a permit must be obtained. These permits are obtained from the appropriate district office.

Christmas tree cutting information – Guidelines for cutting

No permit needed, all areas of the forest except Turnagain Pass and Portage Valley, otherwise same guidelines as personal use wood cutting. Current guidelines and a map can be found on the website (please check the Quicklink for the most up-to-date information).

Where can I get an Interagency Pass?

These passes may be obtained in person at:

  • Supervisor’s office: 161 E. 1st. Ave Door 8 Anchorage, AK
  • Glacier Ranger District:145 Forest Station Rd Girdwood, AK
  • Seward Ranger District:33599 Ranger Station Spur Seward, AK (this office is not in the town of Seward, but off the highway)
  • Cordova Ranger District: 612 2nd Street, Cordova, AK
  • Alaska Public Lands Information Center: 605 w. 4th Ave. Anchorage, AK
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office at 222 W. 7th Ave. Anchorage, AK

Or online: Interagency Access Passes

These passes can give the holder up to a 50% discount of some fees at National Forests and Grasslands, National Parks, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation lands. Check each location for available discounts.

  • Military Pass is good for one calendar year. Must be active military member and must show a military id, free of charge
  • Senior Pass is for 62 and older must show proof of age; cost is $80 for a lifetime pass or $20 for an annual pass
  • Access Pass is for those with permanent disabilities and must have a disability card or letter; free for a lifetime; proof of disability must be shown
  • Annual Pass is available for anyone. The cost is $80/year

More information can be found here.

Chugach State Park Passes

We do not sell this pass. It is sold at the Alaska Public Land Information Center at 605 W. 4th Avenue downtown and at REI.

Licenses and Stickers

Hunting and fishing regulations are set by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

We do not sell hunting or fishing licenses. For more information or to purchase a license visit ADF&G's website.  

How many nights can I camp at one campsite before I have to move?

You can camp at the same campsite for fourteen consecutive nights, unless specifically noted. Some of our campgrounds (Russian River) have a 3-day stay limit during peak season. Dispersed camping on the forest is also limited to 14 days in one spot.

Can I take a dog on the Forest?

You may take a dog into the Chugach National Forest however, they must be leashed or restrained in developed recreation areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas, and on developed trails.

Dispose of fecal matter in a latrine or at least 150 feet from any water source, campsites, portages and trails.

Do cell phones and radios work in the Forest?

Cell phone and radio coverage is limited in the backcountry, especially in the summer when vegetation can block reception. There are areas on the Seward Highway, in Portage Valley and on the Cordova Ranger District where there is no cell reception.

How do I find out if there are any campfire restrictions in the Forest?

Information regarding current restrictions is posted on the Forest website and developed campgrounds will be posted.

Are there any Visitor Centers on the Chugach National Forest?

Begich, Boggs Visitor Center is open Memorial Day to mid-September 9 am – 6 pm daily. Located 45-minutes south of Anchorage at the end of Portage Valley Road. The Visitor Center has general forest information, exhibits, the film Retreat and Renewal, and Ranger-led walks and talks. There is a $5.00 admission fees to view the movie and exhibits (children 15 years and younger are free). 907-783-2326.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Chugach National Forest staffs a small information site at Crooked Creek. The Crooked Creek Information Site is located at the head of the Valdez "duck flats" which is at .5 mile of the Richardson Highway. Among the attractions, include exhibits in the new log building, bird viewing and spawning salmon.

Take a cruise on the MV Ptarmigan to get an up-close view of Portage Glacier.

2017 Schedule

  • Daily May 17 - September 18
  • Departures: 10:30 am, 12:00 noon, 1:30 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:30 pm

1-800-544-2206 or check online  (visit the website for the most current schedule)

Crooked Creek Information Site-open Memorial Day to Labor Day 9 am- 6 pm daily. Located in Valdez, Alaska. For 2017, there are new exhibits, Ranger-led programs, and a viewing platform to watch salmon and wildlife.  (907) 835-4680

Can I take an off-road vehicle in the Forest?

All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) use is limited on the Forest. Motor Vehicle Use Maps for the forest are available on line. There are three maps that cover different areas of the forest. The maps can be found under Maps and Publications MVUM.

Is the water safe to drink?

Drinking water is available at most campgrounds and is safe to drink unless otherwise posted. Where a designated drinking water source is not provided, the water should always be treated either by filtration, chemical means (such as purification tablets, filtering or iodine) or by boiling vigorously for five minutes to kill parasitic organisms.

Where can I find out about Recreational Mining?

The Recreational gold-panning brochure is online

More information can be found at Bureau of Land Management 271-5950 or through our Seward Office.

How do I find a job with the Forest Service?

Jobs for the Forest Service are posted at USAJobs www.usajobs.gov . You can also visit our website for more information about openings on the Chugach National Forest (Job opportunities page can be accessed from the Quick Links section on the homepage).

I am interested in guiding, filming, or hosting a special event on the Forest, who do I talk to?

For information about getting a permit visit our webpage or by calling one of our offices to be directed to one of Special Use permit staff.

Generally speaking the SU permits for outfitter guides are divided up based on which Ranger District the Primary Use is happening on.

Where can I find out about bear safety?

There are a variety of sources for information about being safe in bear country.  Visit our website for links to available information.

We have a Bear Resistant Food Container program – free loaner program (we do record name and contact information). We do not reserve the containers ahead of time, they are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Pick up & Drop Off Locations (please clean container before returning)

  • Supervisor’s office: 161 E. 1st. Ave Door 8 Anchorage, AK
  • Glacier Ranger District:145 Forest Station Rd Girdwood, AK
  • Seward Ranger District:33599 Ranger Station Spur Seward, AK (this office is not in the town of Seward, but off the highway)
  • Begich, Boggs Visitor Center (Memorial Day through Labor Day only) Portage

Forest-wide Facts

  • The Chugach National Forest is the farthest north and west of all the national forests, and 30% covered in ice
  • The Forest has 96 separate watersheds
  • There are 41 public use cabins and more than 500 miles of trail
  • The Chugach is the size of the state of New Hampshire, yet only has 90 miles of Forest Service roads
  • Prince William Sound is the farthest north that cutthroat trout and yellow cedar are found
  • All five North American species of Pacific salmon are found on the Chugach: king, red, silver, chum, and pink
  • The Copper River carries 1/3 the sediment carried by the Mississippi River, but its drainage basin is only 1/40th as large
  • Precipitation ranges from 20" on the Kenai Peninsula to over 300" on Montague Island in Prince William Sound
  • In a distance of just 10 miles, the forest rises from sea level to 13,100 feet at Mount Marcus Baker
  • There are 1800 miles of anadromous streams and 48,100 acres of documented anadromous fish lakes
  • Approximately 2% of the total forest watershed has roads
  • Approximately 500,000 people visit the Chugach for recreation each year
  • The Chugach has two public information centers: Begich Boggs Visitor Center in Portage Valley and Crooked Creek Information Center in Valdez

Kenai Peninsula (21% of the Forest)

  • Accessible from the All American Seward Highway and by the Alaska Railroad passenger and Whistle Stop Service
  • Encompasses the Southern Trek of the Iditarod National Historic Trail
  • Headwaters of the Kenai River and encompasses Kenai Lake
  • The Russian River hosts 150,000 anglers each year
  • 5000 moose on the Kenai Peninsula (1000 of which are on the Forest)

Prince William Sound (48% of the Forest):

  • 3500 miles of shoreline
  • 20 tidewater glaciers
  • Encompasses the 2.2 million acre Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area
  • 3-5 thousand bald eagles live in Prince William Sound - the equivalent of the entire bald eagle population in the Lower 48
  • Over 200 active seabird colonies

Copper River Delta (31% of the Forest):

  • Largest contiguous wetlands complex on North America's Pacific coast
  • Stretches across 700,000 acres, draining a watershed of 26,500 square miles, an area the size of West Virginia
  • The largest unit in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, and considered on of the most essential shorebird habitats in the world




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