Hanging Valley Trail

Eagle River, Alaska

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Off the main trail to Eagle Lake lies Hanging Valley, named for its striking geologic origin. A hanging valley is created when a glacier retreats up a large valley (in this case South Fork Eagle River), leaving smaller side valleys still filled with glacial tongues. As these smaller glaciers retreat, they leave U-shaped valleys with floors higher than that of the main valley. The smaller valleys therefore appear to “hang” halfway up the sides of a larger valley. Chugach State Park boasts many such hanging valleys, but few are as accessible as this one. An easy trail leads through the valley to an isolated tarn and climbs to a high point on the valley wall. Such a quiet and beautiful place, so near a trailhead, is a rarity.

Hanging Valley Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Off the main trail to Eagle Lake lies Hanging Valley, named for its striking geologic origin. A hanging valley is created when a glacier retreats up a large valley (in this case South Fork Eagle River), leaving smaller side valleys still filled with glacial tongues. As these smaller glaciers retreat, they leave U-shaped valleys with floors higher than that of the main valley.

The smaller valleys therefore appear to “hang” halfway up the sides of a larger valley. Chugach State Park boasts many such hanging valleys, but few are as accessible as this one. An easy trail leads through the valley to an isolated tarn and climbs to a high point on the valley wall. Such a quiet and beautiful place, so near a trailhead, is a rarity."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Eagle River
Distance: 12
Elevation Gain: 3,400 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 6 to 8 hours
Season: Best in the summer months
Local Contacts: Chugach State Park
Local Maps: USGS Anchorage A-7, Anchorage B-7
Driving Directions: Directions to Hanging Valley Trail

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May 2018