Lake Clark National Park

Lake Clark National Park

An Explorer’s Guide to Alaska’s Untamed Wilderness at Lake Clark National Park

Nestled within the rugged splendor of Alaska, Lake Clark National Park stands as a testament to the unyielding power and beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.

Spanning over four million acres of pristine landscapes, this park is a sanctuary for diverse ecosystems, encompassing towering mountain peaks, pristine glacial lakes, meandering rivers, and verdant forests. It’s a haven where grizzly bears roam freely, salmon fill the rivers, and bald eagles soar overhead, offering a glimpse into the untamed heart of Alaska.

In this guide, we invite you to embark on a journey of discovery through the remote corners of Lake Clark National Park. Whether you’re an avid hiker seeking to traverse rugged trails, a wildlife enthusiast yearning for close encounters with iconic Alaskan species, or simply a soul in search of tranquility amidst awe-inspiring scenery, this guide is tailored to inspire and inform your adventure.


Top 3 Facts About Lake Clark National Park


Remote Wilderness

Lake Clark National Park is one of the least visited national parks in the United States, offering unparalleled solitude and a genuine wilderness experience. Despite its proximity to Anchorage, it remains largely untouched by human development, preserving its pristine landscapes and ecosystems.


Active Volcanoes

Within the park boundaries lie two active volcanoes, Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna, which add an element of geological intrigue to the landscape. While these volcanoes are closely monitored for any signs of activity, their presence serves as a reminder of the dynamic forces shaping the Alaskan wilderness.


Salmon Migration

Lake Clark National Park is a critical habitat for various species of Pacific salmon, including sockeye, coho, and Chinook salmon. Each year, these fish embark on epic migrations from the ocean to their freshwater spawning grounds within the park’s rivers and streams, attracting predators like bears and eagles in a spectacular display of nature’s cycles.

Camping and transportation in Lake Clark National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Lake Clark National Park

Getting to Lake Clark National Park, nestled in the remote wilderness of Alaska, requires careful planning and consideration due to its isolated location. Here are several common methods of transportation to reach the park:

  • Commercial Airlines: The most common way to reach Lake Clark National Park is by flying into nearby cities such as Anchorage or Homer, both of which have commercial airports. From there, you can take a smaller charter flight or air taxi service to one of the park’s designated airstrips, such as Port Alsworth or Silver Salmon Creek.
  • Charter Flights/Air Taxis: Several air taxi companies operate in the region, offering scheduled and charter flights to various points within Lake Clark National Park. These flights provide convenient access to remote wilderness areas, allowing visitors to bypass the challenges of overland travel in such rugged terrain.
  • Boat: For those seeking a more adventurous approach, water taxis and charter boats are available from nearby coastal towns like Homer and Seward. However, this option requires navigating across open water and may be subject to weather conditions.
  • Bush Plane: Another option is to arrange for a flight with a bush pilot, who can transport you directly to backcountry landing strips within the park. This method is often used by backpackers and wilderness enthusiasts looking to explore the park’s more remote areas.
  • Guided Tours: Many tour operators offer guided trips to Lake Clark National Park, providing transportation, accommodations, and expert guides to help navigate the wilderness safely. These tours may include activities such as hiking, wildlife viewing, and cultural experiences.

Places to Stay Near Lake Clark National Park

While Lake Clark National Park itself is primarily wilderness with limited infrastructure for lodging, there are several options for accommodations and camping nearby:

  • Port Alsworth: This small community within Lake Clark National Park offers a few lodging options, including lodges, bed and breakfasts, and cabins. These accommodations provide a comfortable base for exploring the park and are often run by local residents who can offer insights and guidance for your visit.
  • Wilderness Lodges: Several wilderness lodges are located near Lake Clark National Park, offering remote accommodations in stunning natural settings. These lodges often provide all-inclusive packages that include meals, lodging, and guided activities such as bear viewing and kayaking.
  • Camping: For those looking to immerse themselves in the wilderness, camping is permitted in designated areas within Lake Clark National Park. There are primitive campgrounds available near popular trailheads and along the park’s rivers and lakeshores. However, visitors should be prepared for primitive conditions, as there are limited facilities and services available.
  • Backcountry Camping: Backpackers and wilderness enthusiasts can also explore the park’s backcountry areas by obtaining permits for backcountry camping. This allows for overnight stays in more remote locations, providing a truly immersive wilderness experience.
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Best Time to Go to Lake Clark National Park



Summer is the peak season for visitors to Lake Clark National Park, offering the warmest temperatures and the most accessible conditions for outdoor activities. July and August provide endless daylight hours, allowing visitors ample time to explore the park’s rugged terrain and pristine wilderness. Backpacking, hiking, and wildlife viewing are popular activities during this time, with opportunities to spot brown bears feasting on spawning salmon along the rivers. Clear skies offer breathtaking views of the park’s iconic mountains and glaciers, making it an ideal season for photography enthusiasts.



Winter blankets Lake Clark National Park in a quiet stillness, transforming it into a pristine winter wonderland. From November to March, the park experiences harsh conditions with extreme cold temperatures and deep snowfall. While visitor facilities are limited during this time, winter enthusiasts can partake in activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in the surrounding areas. The park’s rugged beauty takes on a new allure under a blanket of snow, offering solitude and serenity for those brave enough to venture into its icy embrace.



Spring marks the awakening of Lake Clark National Park as the landscape emerges from the grasp of winter. During this season, the park experiences longer daylight hours, melting snow, and the arrival of migratory birds. April and May offer a serene atmosphere with fewer visitors, making it an ideal time for wildlife viewing and photography. As temperatures rise, rivers swell with snowmelt, offering thrilling opportunities for rafting and kayaking adventures. June brings vibrant displays of wildflowers carpeting the meadows and hillsides, creating a picturesque backdrop for hiking and exploring the park’s diverse ecosystems.

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Must-See Attractions

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Chinitna Bay

This coastal area is famous for its concentration of brown bears, especially during the summer salmon runs. Visitors can observe these magnificent creatures from a safe distance as they fish for salmon along the shores of Chinitna Bay.

Twin Lakes

Nestled amidst the park’s rugged terrain, Twin Lakes offers pristine wilderness and excellent fishing opportunities. Visitors can explore the area by kayak or canoe, soaking in the serenity of the remote Alaskan wilderness.

Lake Clark

The centerpiece of the park, Lake Clark stretches across vast expanses of pristine wilderness, offering crystal-clear waters surrounded by towering mountains, lush forests, and sprawling glaciers. Visitors can explore the lake by boat, kayak, or floatplane, soaking in the breathtaking scenery and tranquility of this remote Alaskan gem.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Lake Clark National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Lake Clark National Park is remote and lacks many amenities found in more developed areas. Plan your trip well in advance, considering factors such as transportation, accommodations, permits, and activities.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, so come prepared for a variety of conditions. Pack layers, waterproof clothing, sturdy footwear, and essential gear for outdoor activities. Be aware of potential hazards such as wildlife encounters, swift river crossings, and changing weather conditions.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Lake Clark National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including brown bears, moose, wolves, and eagles. Observe wildlife from a safe distance and never approach or feed wild animals. Follow proper food storage guidelines to prevent human-wildlife conflicts.

Stay Informed

Arrange Transportation

Lake Clark National Park is accessible by air or watercraft. Arrange transportation in advance, whether it’s a chartered flight, air taxi, or boat service. Be aware of transportation schedules, weather conditions, and any permit requirements for accessing the park.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Lake Clark National Park

You’ll find that Lake Clark is wonderland with active volcanoes, massive lakes, and an impressive array of wildlife. Imagine watching steam rise from a volcano while salmon make their seasonal run, or observe bears in their natural habitat, all within the park’s diverse environments.

The adventure begins before you even arrive! Access to Lake Clark National Park is by air or water only. Floatplanes are the most common mode of transportation, giving you a spectacular aerial view as you fly into the park.

Your stay here can range from rustic to comfortable. The park offers various options, including campgrounds, public-use cabins, and local lodges situated in Port Alsworth. The lodges might be your pick for a cozy night after a day of exploring.

Absolutely, your bucket list should include kayaking on turquoise waters, hiking along scenic trails, and wildlife photography. Don’t miss out on observing the cultural heritage of the Dena’ina people, who have called this land home for centuries.

Anglers rejoice, as the park’s rivers and lakes are teeming with fish. Silver salmon, sockeye, and Arctic Grayling are just a few of the species that you might reel in. The Newhalen River is a hotspot for fishermen, especially during salmon runs.

Trails? Yes, but the park is largely wilderness with very few marked routes. For a guided experience, the Tanalian Trails near Port Alsworth offer stunning views and diverse wildlife sightings. More experienced hikers might venture into the backcountry, following riverbeds or game trails.

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