Eagle River Nature Center Cabin Review
Thank you Amanda for this Review!
Going on an outdoor overnight with little ones is often met with a healthy mix of excitement and trepidation. Thankfully, the Eagle River Public Use Cabin allowed us to feel as if we were miles away, when we were only but a single one (1.25 miles to be exact). Knowing the car is a close jaunt away
makes packing a breeze and enables you to keep your “essentials” pile to a minimum.
Situated just off the Historic Iditarod Trail by the Eagle River Nature Center, the public use cabin is a dream. While the cabin is a few hundred yards off the main trail, it is easily traipsed by little legs. The entire trail is wide and a mixture of pebble/rock and packed dirt. Once you head up the winding path to the cabin, you see a truly magical sight: a fully stocked woodpile. Thank you hearty volunteers! Not having to scrounge for felled trees or carry an axe/splitter is a huge plus. Everything is already there!
Further along the path, a clearing opens up to a cabin that puts Richard Proenneke to mind. It is a rustic log cabin, with a cozy porch which invites you in. Nearby is a medium sized lake and marshland; this serves as a beautiful visa and fresh water source. Upon entering, the cabin is much like the other Forest Service Cabins in Alaska: sleeping platforms (for 8), wood stove and table. However, the proximity to parking has afforded this cabin a few creature comforts that those 13+ miles in do not possess. Comfy camping chairs surround the homey table, two thin sleeping pads were on the platforms, a dog bed rested under the lower bunk, old cross country skis and ice grippers hug the walls. A supply of candles and matches met us along with fresh wildflowers in a makeshift vase. A binder and journal were also there, aching to be read and written in. Many adventures were catalogued by people from all over, including many sightings of a brown bear living by the lake.
There is an outhouse a hundred feet from the cabin, as well as benches and a fire ring with grate. While
they prefer you to not use wood from the woodpile for outdoor fires, there was plenty of dead wood
lying around for us to utilize for a cooking fire. The short distance allowed us to bring cookout things we might not have if on a longer trek, which was a wonderful slice of luxury.
We slept well, despite hearing the aforementioned bear during the night. The window coverings were perfect for the fall-time. I could see the need for additional coverings if camping here in the summer, as it was not fully blacked out. We ended up starting a small fire in the stove inside which made us
positively roast. There is no question in my mind that this cabin would be toasty in the winter time!
The cabin itself is accessed via a lock box and key combination, which you receive in your confirmation e-mail (along with 4 parking passes!). Check in is at 2, and check out at noon. At $65/night, it is a fairly economical way to get away from it all, while still being realistic about camping with kiddos. To note, as it is so accessible, I would suggest booking far in advance (http://www.ernc.org/cabin.html ). We will, without a doubt, be back.