South Fork Eagle River Falls (also known as Barbara Falls) easily makes our list of best waterfalls in Alaska due to it’s stunning waters and even better views of mother nature’s wilderness surrounding it. The hike alone through Chugach Mountains is one of the more popular trails and adventures for those in the Anchorage area. When you decide to make the trek to this hidden gem you will see why so many people put Barbara Falls at the top of their list.
Details about South Fork Eagle River Falls / Barbara Falls
Their are two tiers to the waterfall that drop over 100 feet into an emerald green pool. The bottom tier section can be seen during your hike up and seems to come out of nowhere before you cross a bridge over a creek. Many like to take a quick break here before continuing on to the top section where you’ll get the most breathtaking views of the Chugach Mountain Ranges.
For a full day of fun, consider several other activities in the area. You’ll already be able to tick off hiking as it’s no small feet to reach the waterfall. However, there is also nearby fishing, dispersed camping, bird watching, and even white water rafting. During winter months it turns into a popular spot to snowshoe and several hiking trails become much easier with frozen rivers and smaller lakes that you can cross over instead of going around.
The South Fork Eagle River also provides habitat for many species including salmon, trout, and bald eagles which makes it a great spot for wildlife viewing.
Directions to South Fork Eagle River Falls
From Anchorage, Alaska: Map
1. Take the Glenn Highway (AK-1 N) from downtown Anchorage for about 12 miles.
2. Turn left onto Hiland Road and drive for 2 miles until you reach a roundabout intersection with Birchwood Loop Road.
3. Turn right onto Birchwood Loop Road and continue for 3 miles, crossing two bridges along the way, until you reach a parking area on your right that is marked with an informational sign about the falls.
4. Park at this spot and look for a trailhead leading into the woods; follow it downhill through dense forest until you come to a bridge over Eagle River which provides access to both sides of the river valley below (the falls are visible from here).
5. Cross the bridge and take either path downstream towards South Fork Eagle River Falls – they converge after 0.25 mile – where you will find multiple viewing areas overlooking powerful cascades tumbling down rocky cliffs!