Echo Bend, Eagle River

The south side of the Alaska Range, the Talkeetnas, the Chugach mountains, the Kenai Peninsula and the Wrangells
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RomanDial
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Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:13 am

Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by RomanDial » Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:58 pm

"Meiklejohn's Magic"

Echo Bend on Eagle River should be renamed "Epic Bend" for the number of near-drownings, lost boats, and other carnage that packrafters have suffered during its normal summer flows -- stay off Echo Bend during June, July and August!!!!

However, in late Fall, like right now, when the Eagle River guage (http://aprfc.arh.noaa.gov/ahps2/hydrogr ... ,1,1,1,1,1) reads less than 3.4-3.5 feet, it is super fun and a good flow for intermediate packrafters (Class III).

Brad M found it last fall (we ran it two consecutive days) and he claimed that it looked ideal for packrafting. It is ideal for packrafting at the beautifully-colored low water flows of late September and early October. It has neat drops and multiple channel choices as it pours through the water carved rocks. There is little wood and great fall colors. It's a couple mile walk up from Eagle River Visitor Center (VC) on the trail. When the trail reaches the river you can put in there or you can use the scout trail if you know where that is (nice walk along the river).

"Meiklejohn's Magic" starts steep through boulders and gets constricted after about 200 yards to a single boat width river-left drop. This is where people have swum....also a little lower in another maze through narrow slots that have dumped those who have tried to squeeze the slimmer slots. One big Class III hole also gets people -- it's river wide -- best to punch hard, lean forward and paddle paddle paddle. It's nearer the bottom of the steep stuff where the river seems to channel up left.

There are multiple opportunities for take outs on trails that lead back to the VC. Watch for trail signs on river right then watch for brown bears as you walk back. This is the area where someone was attacked.....and the poop we saw was practically steaming.

I find this to be very Willow Creek like (Guardrail section) but a closer drive and longer run of more interesting (to me) rapids. It lacks lower Ship Creeks' intensity (read: fewer swims, fewer consequences if you swim), has more maneuvering and pivot/piruoette moves than S. Fork Eagle River. It's one of those runs that's best done in a packraft -- too boring for kayaks, too bouldery for canoes, and too small for paddle rafts.

Brad might have more precise descriptions of the number of curves and drops -- for me it all blurs together as a great 3 hour loop trip.

I'd give it Alaska Classic status and plan to do it again this week.
Last edited by RomanDial on Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

bradmeiklejohn
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Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by bradmeiklejohn » Thu Oct 04, 2007 8:39 am

EchoWeb.jpg
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RomanDial
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Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by RomanDial » Sat May 03, 2008 7:24 pm

Peggy and I walked up the scout trail to look at Meiklejohn's Magic Mile today (saturday May 3) and it was too low for beginners (read: frustration at not making the moves) and too low for experts (read: a big yawn).

However, intermediates might enjoy all the low low low volume snicker-snack slots and paddle pirouettes with occasional portages past strained-out rock gardens on solid shelf ice. The uppermost pinball section just downstream of Echo Bend proper's big gravel bar looks like a real hassle -- too many rocks, not enough water, and a couple sweeping strainers.

The water is incredibly clear, the guage not working, and, way downstream, campground rapids worth looking at on sunday. I'm likely going to hit Meiklejohn's Magic Mile next week.

bradmeiklejohn
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Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by bradmeiklejohn » Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:14 pm

Roman and I ran Echo Bend today, June 26th 2009, at a guage reading of approximately 3.3 feet and found it to be substantially higher, pushier and harder than in prior years at similar guage heights. My guess is that the guage reading is somehow different this year when compared to previous years. I agree with an earlier comment by johnz1967 that Echo Bend this year at 3.4 feet is a lot more serious than it used to be. We need to recalibrate for this run, and I would guess that a fun level is closer to a guage reading of 3.0 feet now.

johnz1967
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Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by johnz1967 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:15 pm

I was hoping somebody would testify that I hadn't gone senile... at least in this regard. Thanks!

johnz1967
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Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by johnz1967 » Wed May 12, 2010 7:43 pm

With some of the saddest displays of creek paddling ever put on display, along with a 100 foot portage around the most marginal of the rock strainers near the beginning, I pronounce echo bend rapids open for business for the spring. Even with the low water levels, there's enough force going through that she's already b****y. Other than the rocks, no obstacles (ie wood/ice, sides still snow covered but not a problem). Spent more time than anticipated scouting workable routes, along with dumping water. Rapids camp onward is pretty bony but runnable to that riverside yurt, much saner than the first part.

bkjamin
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Location: Chugiak, AK

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by bkjamin » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:44 pm

A fun 3.5 hour morning. Drew and I hiked to Rapids Camp and on advice from Johnz1967 walked the north bank upriver scouting as we went. We reached a point about .6 miles upriver that I didn't quite feel comfortable running. It was a short fast little section but well worth the hike in. As soon as the water comes down some i'd like to tackle the entire stretch, as I see from Google Earth we ran the mellow half. 3 total miles of walking and about 2.87 river miles of rafting. That first .6 miles was the best, after rapids camp we never encountered anything bigger than what you would find running briggs to just b4 campground. Today's gauge was reading 4.18 feet at 10AM. A few pics on this link.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2 ... b738331af5

Paddling Regression
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Location: In AK

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by Paddling Regression » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:14 am

Echo Bend has been pretty sweet the last few days. If anyone is looking for a partner, shoot me a message. Solo runs are starting to get a little boring.
PR

On a separate note, anyone else notice the change in the gauge this morning? Looks like it may have been recalibrated???
"If it ain't high, it ain't quality"

RomanDial
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Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:13 am

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by RomanDial » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:18 pm

Paddling Regression is so right about Echo Bend right now. It's like a hot-dog butt-boater says, "stupid fun" right now and super beautiful with Yukla at the put in and Polar Bear looking good over the final drops and the fall colors all in Alpacka yellow along the banks.

This is a possible after work run. A bit more than an hour from ER VC to put in where trail bumps into river; a half hour through the good stuff another half or so past the Yurt, past the second way out (a sign), to the third way out (a sign with orange wrapped post on far side of a gravel bar). This trail leads to the VC.

So three hours seems right. It was four hours for us (3:30-7:30 PM) but we flipped the good stuff and ran the drops twice.

eastcoastice
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Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by eastcoastice » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:37 am

Paddling Regression wrote:Echo Bend has been pretty sweet.
Echo Bend is back! Floated yesterday afternoon, and it was a bit more pushy at 591 cfs (3.81' on the gauge). But once it comes down to the 3.5' range, it'll be on. :)

Paddling Regression
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Location: In AK

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by Paddling Regression » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:03 pm

Pushy = padding

Get it while it lasts!

Any takers for a Tuesday morning dawn patrol?
"If it ain't high, it ain't quality"

johnz1967
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Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:10 am

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by johnz1967 » Fri May 06, 2011 7:34 pm

Hiked along the rapids from the campsite up to the bend today. Water level is of course low, but the channel is snow free and for the most part appeared runnable except for the opening boulder garden. I wished I had my raft with me, actually looked like fun, in a ha-ha fairlly safe rock avoidance kind of way, not in the holy crap I can't believe I'm still alive way that this is at higher levels. The only down side, for me, was that with the level so low I realized how frickin big the boulders are that I have floated by the top of and walked under wood that is usually at water level so I lost the blissful ignorance I had in previous runs!
Still, a really good opportunity to play here before it gets crazy.

JHypers
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Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by JHypers » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:20 pm

Gauge Height: 3.25 ft.
Flow: 308 cfs

I thought it might have been a bit late in the season to catch Echo Bend without the boniness getting way out of hand. I proved myself wrong this afternoon. Had I actually read the initial post for this thread before this evening after the run, I might have been more excited from the get-go. The whole stretch is in good shape for packrafting. No wood to consider, other than a rather large log in the main channel not far from the start when its still flat. The boulder gardens are offering good fun, but making quick strategic pivots/pirouettes is your key to enjoyment. I portaged the big staircase rapid, mainly because I "took a wrong turn" before the start of the drop, and that's not a run you want to start with a bad approach. I was solo as well, so I played it safe. It's still a good ride, for sure. From there to the take-out its more fun moves and opportunities to scout for strategy. At times there are several route choices, but often only one is sensible. Choose right and you can get away with paddling the run without much butt scraping.

Bedstvie
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:30 am

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by Bedstvie » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:14 am

A few of us are planning to hike Crow Pass, float from where the trail meets Eagle River to Echo Bend, then hike to the nature center. We want to take out before the rapids, as none of us feel confident enough in our skills at this point to attempt running them. Does anybody know of any good indicators of the rapids being imminent, so we don't run them on accident? Also, does anybody know what the wood situation is like on upper Eagle River at present? We want to limit our portaging because a) floating is fun, and b) there's apparently a grizzly guarding a moose carcass on the north side of the river between Dishwater Creek and Twin Falls. Reading that, I suppose a safer option would be to simply portage on the south side of the river. Anyhow, any information would be appreciated!

-Michael

RELspot
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Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:18 pm

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by RELspot » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:05 pm

- - - "A few of us are planning to hike Crow Pass, float from where the trail meets Eagle River to Echo Bend, then hike to the nature center."
Michael, how did that trip work out for you? We were talking about trying it as well. Probably not this late in the year, but maybe next summer.

JR and I ran it this afternoon, hiked up past the yurt another mile or so...guessing that is the 'magic mile' i saw referred earlier in this post?? The gauge was reading 4.1 or so when we ran it. It was tight, twisty and technical, but we were able to put in and run the whole thing in one shot without scouting. (We did inspect things pretty close on the way up) There were a couple of nice drops and super narrow chutes that could have been pretty nasty had we swam in the wrong spots. All the earlier posts recommend running it at 3.5 or below, but we thought that any lower water would really make it bony. Does anyone know if the gauge has been adjusted differently, or what??

Really enjoyed this run. Our first time, and will probably be a more regular run as its so close to town. Looking forward to trying it next year at even higher water. Anyone ran it recently and have any more input?
Thanks,
-Ariel

RELspot
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Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:18 pm

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by RELspot » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:06 pm

- - - "A few of us are planning to hike Crow Pass, float from where the trail meets Eagle River to Echo Bend, then hike to the nature center."
Michael, how did that trip work out for you? We were talking about trying it as well. Probably not this late in the year, but maybe next summer.

JR and I ran it this afternoon, hiked up past the yurt another mile or so...guessing that is the 'magic mile' i saw referred earlier in this post?? The gauge was reading 4.1 or so when we ran it. It was tight, twisty and technical, but we were able to put in and run the whole thing in one shot without scouting. (We did inspect things pretty close on the way up) There were a couple of nice drops and super narrow chutes that could have been pretty nasty had we swam in the wrong spots. All the earlier posts recommend running it at 3.5 or below, but we thought that any lower water would really make it bony. Does anyone know if the gauge has been adjusted differently, or what??

Really enjoyed this run. Our first time, and will probably be a more regular run as its so close to town. Looking forward to trying it next year at even higher water. Anyone ran it recently and have any more input?
Thanks,
-Ariel

JustinWholey
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Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:36 am

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by JustinWholey » Wed May 14, 2014 9:05 am

Ran Echo Bend last night (5/13). No wood or ice shelves to speak of. Skipped the meatiest rapid a quarter of the way through. This is a great after work run. Easy scouting and beautiful scenery. The rapids dotted with boulders definitely challenged my boating skills. Lots of rocks to run into with your body if you swim. Seemed 3 to 3+ at our levels.

It was running at 3.94ft/664cfs. I based the numbers on adding 7 hours to the time to account for the lag between Echo Bend and the gauge at the highway. I floated the lower third of it on Thursday at 3.65ft/509cfs, and it looked dramatically different: lower, clear, and very tight. How does everyone else account for the distance between Echo Bend and the gauge? It didn't seem like 160cfs should change the conditions as much as did.

RomanDial
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Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by RomanDial » Tue May 27, 2014 10:07 pm

Best class III in the Anchorage Bowl when Eagle River reads 4 feet or less.

No wood to speak of (a little piece here or there), nice and clean and beautiful with the beautiful green and snowy mountains and no bugs.

We floated down to Albert Loop Trail and had to squeeze past a little sweeper activity in the low flat water sections but made for some interesting moves. Easy to portage and see coming

Brad and I did it a couple of weeks or so ago and Trevor Golden and I did it tonight and it has not changed.

Go do it now.

RELspot
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Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:18 pm

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by RELspot » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:20 pm

Planning on hiking Crow Pass tomorrow morning and floating out. Looks like the water is running pretty high, 4.5ft. Anyone ran it that high? Ive only ran it once, at 4.1 and it was pretty manageable then, but not sure how the extra water will be. And has anyone floated the upper section yet...updates on wood or anything else?
Also, if anyone will be out that way, hoping to hit Echo by 5-6pm, perfect for an after work run??
Hit me up if youd like to join.
-A

Live to Rally
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Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by Live to Rally » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:21 am

Our group of four did two laps on Echo Saturday at a little below 3.5'. It was very manageable at this level: slow and nothing very sticky. I wouldn't want to do it much lower as it would be getting bony and too slow for a kick.

The entrance rapid has logjam about midway thru it that may be passable, but would be really sketchy. All of us portaged it, including Ganey, so I suggest anyone else should too. You can enter the rapid and still have plenty of time to see the wood with a few opportunities to eddy out river right (at least at the 3.5' and lower levels). If the water is high I'd be careful entering this first rapid...eye your exit ahead of the logjam on river right beforehand.

Other than that, the run is clean with no sketchy wood of consequence.

gandydancer
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Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:36 am

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by gandydancer » Mon May 11, 2015 10:40 am

The gauge is showing just over 3 ft at the moment, is this too low? Also anyone interested in boating in the next couple weeks? I have a couple weeks till I head back to work.

brian

JustinWholey
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Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:36 am

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by JustinWholey » Thu May 14, 2015 10:48 am

Last year when I ran it a couple times and looked at it at different levels in the spring and summer. 3.5 was about the lowest that it seemed feasible, and at 4 the water was pushy.

For reference in 2014: At 3.5 you could squeeze through all of the boulders (just barely in places) minus the largest rapid, and the water was beautiful, clear, and slow, with generally one obvious channel. At 4 feet there was plenty of water, and it was cloudy, tan, and pushy.

In years past, based on earlier posts 3-3.5 were the levels to hit.

It seems there is variation in how the gauge is calibrated from year to year, so it may be too low, or really good. You might have to just check it out to know for sure. I have not been there this year.

-Justin

JustinWholey
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Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:36 am

Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by JustinWholey » Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:33 am

Echo Bend was at a fun low level on Sunday 9/27. Not too scrapey, either. The water was bluish gray and was translucent. There is a logjam that must be portaged just after the first rapid, no other wood, though. Looks like the water is coming up, so that could change. The water seemed higher than what the gauge said; it read 2.9 feet. The blurb on the gauge web page indicated that it would read higher than expected, but that didn't seem to be the case. It felt more like 3.7 feet if the gauge were to be read at 2014 calibration; just a guess though. Albert Loop Trail is closed, but takeout access near Rapids Yurt is open.

ClintHelander
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Re: Echo Bend, Eagle River

Post by ClintHelander » Tue May 03, 2016 8:16 pm

It goes! Fun, low (LOW) water boating today! Only one log jam early on and a little butt scooting here and there. Enjoy!

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