Lake Clark National Park
Guide

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Introduction

Featuring craggy mountains and volcanoes overlooking shimmering lakes, Lake Clark National Park is a perfect wilderness setting for remote camping experiences. This national park located in Alaska, about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, is an American National Treasure sitting in a pristine wilderness.

Access to Lake Clark National Park is mostly by airplane, so there are no RV campgrounds and campsites in the park. Travelers may camp wherever they like within the park, or visit Hope Creek Primitive Camping Area for hike-in campsites.

Lake Clark National Park is well-known as a premier bear watching destination as it features abundant brown bears scattered across various parts of the park. Also, a total of 187 bird species have been documented in the park, indicating that there are plenty of bird viewing opportunities in the area. Fishing, kayaking, boating, and canoeing are some of the ways you can also have fun on the lakes and rivers in the park. In winter, biking is a spectacular activity.

Lake Clark National Park was established in 1980.

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RV Rentals in Lake Clark National Park

Transportation in Lake Clark National Park

Driving

Lake Clark National Park, located north of Katmai National Park, is not accessible by road, but rather by boat or planes. As a result, there are no driving options to and within the park.

Parking

There are no parking areas at Lake Clark National Park.

Public Transport

Air taxi services and charter boat services are available to Lake Clark National Park.

Campgrounds and parking in Lake Clark National Park

Campsites in Lake Clark National Park

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Hope Creek Primitive Camping Area

Located on Upper Twin Lake, Hope Creek Primitive Camping Area is available on first-come, first-served basis. No services are offered in the camping area, but bear-resistant boxes are available. Picnic tables are also available.

Seasonal activities in Lake Clark National Park

Spring

Bird Viewing

The diverse habitats in Lake Clark National Park supports the presence of abundant bird species that offer amazing bird viewing opportunities. Some of these habitats include the foothill, lakes, Chulitna Flat, and shoreline areas. 187 bird species have been sighted and documented in the park, ranging from waterfowl, to seabirds, raptors, songbirds, and shorebirds. You’ll find peregrine falcon nesting along the Tuxedni Bay coastline in the park too. Listen out for the bird songs as you stroll in the park or paddle the park’s waters.

Bear Watching

Lake Clark National Park is a world-class destination for bear watching! The park features brown bears that offer wonderful viewing opportunities for visitors and campers. These bears can be seen in various parts of the park, including Chinitna Bay, Crescent Lake, Silver Salmon Creek, Shelter Creek and Tuxedni Bay. All who wish to enjoy the bear watching at the park are encouraged to be familiar with bear viewing best practices and watch the short film about bears in the park.

Summer

Boating/Kayaking

Enjoy a peaceful experience as you canoe and kayak through Lake Clark National Park’s numerous lakes and rivers. Because most of the park is only accessible by planes, it is advisable to bring inflatable canoes, or inflatable and foldable kayaks that can be accommodated on small aircraft. Alternatively, you can register for a guided canoe/kayak adventure so you don’t worry about transporting your gear to the park. Additionally, boating trips are offered at the park for visitors to explore Lake Clark, Cook Inlet and Crescent Lake.

Fall

Fishing

Adventurous anglers enjoy excellent fishing at Lake Clark National Park. Because Lake Clark is home to some of the most pristine fishery habitats in the US, angling enthusiasts look forward to the activity in the park. Pacific salmon is one of the most common fishes that anglers catch in the park.

As for where to fish in the park, you can visit Crescent Lake, Silver Salmon Creek, the mountain lakes and streams that contain arctic char, Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, northern pike and lake trout.

Hiking

Only one maintained trail system is available in Lake Clark National Park – Tanalian Trail System. However, there are other hiking opportunities open to visitors at the park. Hiking trails available include Tanalian Falls and Kontrashibuna Lake, Beaver Pond Trail, and Tanalian Mountain.

Tanalian Falls and Kontrashibuna Lake Trail is a moderately difficult trail that meanders through birch groves to points where hikers will get stunning views of Lake Clark. Beaver Point Trail is also moderately difficult and takes hikers to an old beaver pond where shorebirds can be seen. Take your adventure up a level by hiking on the rigorous Tanalian Mountain trail and be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of Lake Clark and the adjoining mountains.

Winter

Biking

In winter, biking is an excellent way to experience and explore Lake Clark National Park because the frozen lakes and rivers open up the park. Fat tire bikes are particularly well suited to the environment. If you have studded tires too, you’ll be able to ride directly on the ice. The best ice conditions in the park are often found in late winter. Ensure your winter bikes are in good shape and you understand the risks and the environment.

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