Crescent Lake

blue lake bounded by steep mountains

Crescent Lake and Redoubt Volcano

NPS Photo / Warren Hill


Crescent Lake, in the heart of the Chigmit Mountains, offers outstanding fishing and bear viewing opportunities for visitors. Sockeye and silver salmon run up the Crescent River each summer. Brown and black bears travel the shoreline of the lake and river in search of their next meal.

The towering Chigmit Mountains and Redoubt Volcano reflect in the clean, clear, cold water. Crescent Lake is a spectacular and wild place. It is also the park's most visited destination and visitors should expect to see other people here.

Getting to Crescent Lake

By plane
Visitors arrive by float or ski planes, depending on the time of year, that land on the lake. The fight from Homer, Kenai or Anchorage is less than an hour.

Getting Around Crescent Lake

Most visitors explore the lake by motor boats or kayaks that are provided by their guide or lodge. While it is possible to walk at Crescent Lake, it is not recommended. Dense brush extends from steep mountain slopes to the lake's shoreline. Thus, the few brush-free areas along the shore that exist are travel corridors for bears.

Things to Do at Crescent Lake

Sport Fishing
Crescent Lake is the most popular destination in the park for anglers. Sockeye/red salmon arrive during the month of July, while coho/silver salmon come in mid August through early September. Dolly varden, lake trout, and small numbers of chinook/king salmon are also present providing ample excitement for adventurous anglers. Sport fishers must abide by all State of Alaska fishing regulations.

Brown Bear Viewing
Brown bears frequent the shoreline in search of fish during the salmon runs.

Lodging and Guided Trips
Several licensed commercial outfitters specialize in day-long and overnight sport fishing and bear viewing trips to Crescent Lake for travelers who prefer to visit bear country with a knowledgeable guide. Camping is not recommended at Crescent Lake due to the high number of bears in the area and the dense brush that extends to the lake's shoreline.

Brown bear eats a salmon on the shore of Crescent Lake.

Bears are common at Crescent Lake. You are responsible for your safety and for keeping bears wild.

NPS Photo / Warren Hill

Staying Safe at Crescent Lake

Fishing In Bear Country
While fishing can be exciting at Crescent Lake, it offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities. You are responsible for your own safety and for keeping the bears wild. Become familiar with the responsibilities that come with fishing in bear country prior to your trip to Crescent Lake.

Staying Safe in Bear Country
It is likely that you will encounter bears during your visit to Crescent Lake. Visibility is low along the shoreline due to dense brush, and the few areas that are clear are bear corridors. Learn how to stay safe in this setting.

In Addition to All Other Park Rules and Regulations
There are a few amenities and regulations at Crescent Lake designed for your safety.

  • Attend your food. If you have any food with you, you must keep it packed out of site and in your possession at all times or stored in an approved bear resistant food container.
  • Secure your fish in an approved bear-resistant container as soon as you catch it. They are available from your guide.
  • State of Alaska Fishing Regulations - Anglers are required to abide by all state of Alaska fishing regulations.

For More Information

Brown bears and American black bears flourish in Lake Clark. Learn about these two species and why they thrive in Lake Clark.
Catch and Release Fishing - Proper catch and release fishing methods increase the chances of survival for the fish you choose not to keep.

Did You Know?