Chugach National Forest
Chugach National Forest, which is about the size of New Hampshire, is the second largest national forest in the US. Located south of Anchorage in southcentral Alaska, Chugach encompasses large swaths of Kenai Peninsula, Copper River Delta & Price William Sound.
The area is popular for both visitors and Alaskans to experience the wildness of Alaska while still being relatively close to amenities. The forests, rivers, lakes, mountains and glaciers of the National Forest cover 5.4 million acres, yet, despite it’s size, despite it’s size, there are only only 90 miles of forest service roads and 500 miles of trail.
A temperate rainforest, albeit 30 percent covered in ice, Chugach National Forest has the distinction of being the northernmost rainforest in the US. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife including bear, moose, caribou and Dall sheep and the waters of Prince William Sound provide habitat for Humpback whales, sea lions and otter among other sea creatures.
There are several wildlife and bird watching areas in Chugach. Millions of shorebirds make their way from South America to Alaska every spring. Eagles are a year-round resident of Chugach National Forest and the number of eagles in the area is about the same as the rest of the contiguous US.
There are two information centers in Chugach National Forest. Begich Boggs Visitor Center is in Portage Valley and the Crooked Creek Information Site is located on the outskirts of Valdez on the Richardson Highway.
State Campgrounds in Chugach National Forest are generally open from mid-May through September. Most campgrounds have at least a few sites for large RVs although amenities are basic. Quartz Creek and Williwaw are able to handle 60-foot RVs.
Camping fees range from free to $30. For campground reservations call (877) 444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov