Nancy Lake State Recreation Area
Guide

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Introduction

With abundant crystal-clear lakes wreathed by pristine forests in a rolling landscape, Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is the perfect place to visit on RV holiday trips. Located about nine miles south of Willow, and 20 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska, this 22,685-acre state park is one of the few rolling, lake-studded landscapes in Alaska’s state park system. The park is the ideal place to enjoy recreational activities including canoeing, boating, fishing, hiking, skiing, wildlife viewing, hunting (archery), cross-country skiing, snowmachining, and dog mushing, backcountry snowshoeing, and ice fishing.

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area features several campgrounds with one campground available for RV camping (91 campsites equipped with fire rings and picnic tables, with access to water and latrines). In addition, the park features 13 rustic cabins on the shores of Nancy, Lynx, James, Bald, and Red Shirt lakes, remote backcountry campsites along popular trails, picnic sites, canoe and boat launch, restrooms, water stations, hiking and canoe trails, and Information Centers.

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area, located in the broad Susitna River Valley, owes its topography to ancient glaciers that once covered the land. When the glaciers retreated some 9,000 years ago, they left behind a rolling landscape of glacial deposits and hundreds of lakes and ponds.

RV Rentals in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area

Transportation in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area

Driving

Located about nine miles south of Willow, and 20 miles north of Anchorage, Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is accessible for RVs, trailers, and other motorized vehicles. The major road in the park, Nancy Lake Parkway connects two campgrounds (Nancy Lake State Recreation Site and South Rolly Lake Campground) in the park. There are no driving restrictions within the park.

Parking

There are nine parking areas for RVs, trailers and cars within Nancy Lake State Recreation Area, offering a variety of options for RV campers to park their rigs. In the western end of the park around the South Rolly Overlook, there are three parking lots. In the center of the park around the Tanaina Lake Trailhead, there are two parking lots, while in the northeastern end by the Winter Trailhead, there are four parking lots. Ovenight parking is available for RV campers at Nancy Lake State Recreation Area.

Public Transport

There are no public transportation facilities available at Nancy Lake State Recreation Area.

Campgrounds and parking in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area

Campsites in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

South Rolly Lake Campground

South Rolly Lake Campground in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area features 91 campsites available for RVs and tents. There are no RV hookups within the campground. There is no RV size limit for RVs and trailers in the campground. All the campsites in the campground are equipped with fire rings and picnic tables, with access to water and latrines. Picnic sites, a picnic shelter, a canoe launch, and an Information Center are available in the campground. Camping limit in South Rolly Campground is 15 days.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area

In-Season

Hiking

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is an excellent place to enjoy hiking on foot on the three-mile long Red Shirt Lake Trail. This is an easy trail that follows the top of glacial hills and moraines in the park to rustic lakeside campsites with a latrine. These beautiful landscapes and natural features along the trail make it a well-loved trail for RV campers at the park. The trail is accessed at the Red Shirt Lake Trailhead located at the end of Nancy Lake Parkway.

Fishing

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is replete with lakes and ponds making it a great fishing destination. The many lakes and ponds in the Lynx Lake Loop have abundant fish measuring up to 14 inches in length, particularly northern pike. Lunker, measuring 20- to 24-inches are also occasionally found in the lakes in the park.

The northern pike in the park are easy to catch and are considered an invasive species in this area, so RV campers can catch and eat all they want.

Trout can be found north of the Nancy Lake Parkway in North Rolly, West Rolly, and Rhein lakes.

Canoeing/Boating

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area features canoe trails that offers amazing opportunities for RV campers to get their paddles wet. The popular Lynx Lake Canoe Trail, which begins at the Tanaina Lake Canoe Trailhead, travels through an eight-mile loop of 14 placid lakes, with well-marked portage sites and boardwalks covering the wettest sections of trail. The Little Susitna Connector Canoe Trail, accessible from the Skeetna Lake Portage is a four-mile trail that connects Little Susitna River to Lynx Lake.

RV campers without their own canoe have nothing to worry about as canoe rentals are available at a local concessionaire. After rentals, the canoes can be picked up at the canoe trailhead.

Lifejackets are required on the canoe trails in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area.

The use of motorized boats is allowed in the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area on Nancy Lake; Lynx Lake; Butterfly Lake; Red Shirt Lake; and the Little Susitna River. Personal watercraft are not allowed on Red Shirt Lake. Electric trolling motor are allowed on South Rolly Lake.

Off-Season

Winter Recreation

During winter under a blanket of snow, the rolling topography of the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is the perfect place to enjoy various winter activities such as cross-country skiing, snowmachining, and dog mushing. With nearly 40 miles of maintained trails and lots of opportunities for backcountry snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmachining and skiing, Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is a superb winter playground.

Hunting

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is a great place to hunt while on RV vacation. However, only bow and arrow hunting is allowed in the park. The use and discharge of a bow and arrow or trap for the purpose of lawful hunting or trapping is allowed in all parts of the park, except within one-quarter mile of a developed facility.

Wildlife Viewing

The landscape of lakes, wetlands, and forest in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area make the park an ideal habitat for various wildlife including beavers, loons, eagles, arctic terns, moose, black bears, and the occasional brown bear. As a result, RV campers at the park enjoy great views of different animals while hiking or canoeing along the trails in the park.

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