Chugiak is an unincorporated community in the Municipality of Anchorage in the U.S. state of Alaska, situated approximately 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Anchorage. It is located between Eagle River to the south, and Eklutna to the north, and between Knik Arm to the west and the Chugach Mountains to the east. There are about 7,000 residents, most of whom work in Anchorage or the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, and are spread out mainly along the Glenn Highway. The urban cluster of Anchorage Northeast (including Chugiak and surroundings) has an estimated population of 26,000 (2005), covering an area of 39 km². The name "Chugiak" comes from a Dena'ina word meaning "place of many places". Chugiak was first heavily settled in the 1950s, primarily by homesteading former military personnel who had served in Alaska during World War II. It is currently one of the main sites of suburban expansion near Anchorage. Component communities of Chugiak include Birchwood and Peters Creek.