Chugiak, Alaska Real Estate and Community Information
Sitting at the edge of the Chugach Mountains is Chugiak, Alaska, an area first settled in the 1930s. The town is only a 15-minute drive from Anchorage and has a unique history. The small town located on the highway that connects Anchorage to Wasilla is small and quant, providing beautiful mountain views, but close to the urban amenities of the city.
History of Chugiak
Chugiak incorporated as a community, retaining the option of merging with Anchorage or the Matanuska Borough, starting with five families, a post office that served as a general store, a public restroom and Moose Horn, a cabin rental facility. It quickly became the central point between agriculturally-focused Palmer and the big city of Anchorage, growing to a town of several hundred within a few years. One of the reasons people settled in Chugiak was due to its more temperate weather as it sits on a natural cove that block Cook Inlet winds. Anchorage, which faces open coastal waters, is often much colder and blustery. The first school was held in the home of one of the founding families until a new one could be built. New homes were built to house the teachers for the new school who then desired a library. One of the two-room apartments in the town was turned into a library with books donated on a voluntary basis.
In 1972, the Alaskan Pipeline project arrived in Chugiak and the area grew tremendously as workers rented almost every available home and a new highway was built between Anchorage and Fairbanks, veering away from Chugiak. When the City of Anchorage declared that the area including Chugiak would be absorbed into the city, it made Anchorage the largest small city in the world, with approximately a quarter of a million people living in an area that was over 100 square miles.
Chugiak is surrounded by natural beauty, situated close to the Eagle River and Chugach State Park. Rafters and whitewater enthusiasts flock to the area to enjoy the Alaskan wildlife and beautiful scenery. Visitors stop in at the log cabin visitor’s center to make reservations for hikes into the mountains or to enjoy backcountry camping. The visitor’s center also offers telescopes that allow people to view the Dall sheep and other wildlife in the surrounding area. Contact The Jarratt Team to learn more about what the visitor center has to offer.
There are two hiking trails that are the most popular with visitors to Chugiak. The Rodak Nature Trail is less than one mile and passes an observation deck over a salmon stream. The Albert Loop Trail is three miles and meanders through boreal forest with breathtaking views of the Eagle River. Although these are the most popular trails with visitors, there are many others available at various levels of difficulty.
Bear Paw Festival
In mid-July, Eagle River and Chugiak hold the Bear Paw Festival, a five-day event that includes a classic car show, a grand parade and a chili cook-off. The event also includes the Bear Paw Festival Royalty Pageant where young men and women in grades 9 through 12 compete with costumes and a personal interview to be crowned Mr. and Miss Bear Paw King and Queen, Bear Paw Prince and Princess or to receive one of two Community Service Awards. There is also a Bicycle Safety Rodeo, Dog & Owner Look-a-Like Contest and Running with the Bears. One of the most anticipated events at the Bear Paw Festival is the Slippery Salmon Olympics. Teams of two race through the Eagle River, straddling hula hoops, carrying a soda on a tray in one hand and a salmon in the other. Proceeds from the event go to the Chugiak-Eagle River Foundation, which provides scholarships and grants to non-profit agencies in the area. Contact The Jarratt Team to learn more about the Bear Paw Festival
Chugiak is in the Anchorage School District. Area children in grades Kindergarten through fifth attend Chugiak Elementary School. The school offers the Natiya Program, an academically rigorous educational program and students perform higher than the state average in reading, writing and math. Students in grades seven and eight attend Gruening Middle School. More than 54 percent of students were considered advanced on state tests in reading, 17 percent were advanced in writing and 41 percent were advanced in math based on state reports. High school students in Chugiak attend Chugiak High School. Almost 48 percent of students were considered advanced in reading and more than 35 percent were advanced in math on state tests. More than 79 percent were proficient in writing.
Chugiak has an average home cost of almost $345,000, compared to the state average of just over $306,000. This is an increase of just under one percent compared to the previous year. However, the cost of living in Alaska is about 27 percent higher than the rest of the United States, but healthcare costs are slightly lower and utilities are also less expensive in Alaska than in other areas of the country. Living in the Chugiak area is less expensive than in San Francisco, Honolulu or Manhattan.
Alaska still offers wide open spaces that are difficult to find in other areas of the United States. Much of the state is still covered in wilderness with very few inhabitants. Even in more urban areas like Anchorage, there is less congestion like that normally found in big cities. With its close proximity to Anchorage with its better employment opportunities, Chugiak offers a quieter, more natural setting for families who enjoy the great outdoors as well as some unique, interesting events. Contact The Jarratt Team to learn more about homes available in the Chugiak area as well as more about this quaint, quiet community within a short drive to a major metropolitan city. You can reach the Jaratt Team online, by phone or find them on social media.