Twenty-six miles north of Anchorage  on the Glenn Highway is the exit for Eklutna Lake, a favorite weekend destination. Narrow and winding Eklutna Road follows the Eklutna River 10 miles to the lake, where you’ll find a pleasant small campground ($10) with outhouses and a large picnic area.
The 14-mile Lakeside Trail–Eklutna Glacier Trail starts nearby, skirting the west side of Eklutna Lake and then climbing to this very scenic glacier. Three side trails lead off the main route to Twin Peaks, Bold Ridge, and East Fork of Eklutna River. This is an outstanding mountain biking area in summer, and a popular wintertime skiing and snowmobiling trail. Most of the route is also open to ATVs Sunday–Wednesday, so you may not have peace and quiet.
Experienced skiers may want to continue beyond Eklutna Glacier via a multiglacier traverse that takes them 31 miles to Crow Pass. The Alaska Mountaineering Club (907/272-1811, www.mcak.org ) has three huts along the way.
Kayak and bike rentals are available near the Eklutna Campground from Lifetime Adventures (907/746-4644 or 800/952-8624, www.lifetimeadventures.net ), along with a popular paddle-and-peddle option ($75 pp): you kayak across the lake and ride a mountain bike back.
Also from the Eklutna exit, you can follow the access road a mile south to scenic Thunderbird Falls (if you’re heading north from Anchorage , there’s a marked Thunderbird Falls exit before you reach the Eklutna exit). The trail takes you on an easy one-mile hike up Thunderbird Creek. Follow your ears to the falls.