Telaquana Trail

a man stands near two horses on a tree-less hilside, steep mountains in the distance
Wrangler Whitey Pierson, of the 1929 SR Capps USGS expedition, on a ridge overlooking Telaquana Lake.

USGS photo, SR Capps Collection

sketched map showing an inlet and the area that is now called lake clark national park and preserve
A map by biologist Wilfred Osgood of his 1902 travels. The
Telaquana Trail is labeled "Portage to Trail Creek-Kuskokwim

A Biological Reconnaissance of the Base of the Alaska Peninsula by Wilfred Osgood, Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1904

The Telaquana Trail is a historic Dena'ina Athabascan route from Telaquana Lake to Kijik Village on Lake Clark. Early western explorers noted that the Inland Dena'ina were expert hikers, and trails connected all major villages in the area to each other and to seasonal camps. The Telaquana trail is part of a larger network crossing Dena'ina territory on the upper Alaska Peninsula.

In the historic period and likely before, the trail served as both transportation corridor and important subsistence area. Early visitors to the region reported that people from Kijik village spent much of the year hunting in the mountains north of the village. Miners, trappers and explorers also occasionally used the trail throughout the 1800s and early 1900s.

Dena'ina use of the Telaquana Trail declined in the early part of the 20th century when introduced diseases decimated the population and villages moved or consolidated. After the decline of the fur trade in the 1940s, use by trappers dropped off. Sections of the trail were occasionally used by hunters and fishermen, but the entire route was rarely traveled.

As interested in the wilderness increased in the 1960s and 1970s, hikers and hunters began to use the trail again. Today the Telaquana Trail is mostly traveled by intrepid backpackers.

In recent years there has been a renewal of interest in the rich cultural history of the Telaquana Trail. Dena'ina elders have shared traditional names for features along the route with the Place Names Project, a cooperative effort between Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Subsistence. The University of Alaska Fairbanks' Project Jukebox has recorded elders describing the trail.

The Telaquana Trail has been designated both an Historic District and a Cultural Landscape.


If you want to visit...

See our backpacking page for more information on wilderness travel in Lake Clark and route information on the Historic Telaquana Trail.

Last updated: November 8, 2016

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PO Box 226
Port Alsworth, AK 99653


(907) 781-2218

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