Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is a trail-less wilderness, and you are free to travel where you like. Off-trail hiking employs the senses, heightens awareness and actively requires your constant participation in making decisions. You'll hike cross country, using a map and the lay of the land to get where you want to go. There are rivers to ford, bogs to avoid, and bad weather to sit out. Vegetation and terrain usually dictate the difficulty of the hiking. Plan on covering one mile per hour (allowing for errors in navigation, route selection and tough going). If you're not familiar with Alaskan terrain, be prepared to turn back and try a different route, and give yourself plenty of time to get where you're going. Keep in mind that all streams and rivers must be forded, and during high water levels, this may be impossible.
All camping is primitive, no facilities or designated campsites exist. You should use Leave No Trace guidelines to minimize your impacts. Backcountry permits for camping and hiking are not required, however there are rules and regulations governing one's behavior in all national park areas. Please do not take, shape or alter the wilderness around you.
Both black and brown bears live in Lake Clark. It is critical to educate yourself about safe practices in bear country and be prepared to handle a potential bear encounter. Read up on bear safety before starting your trip.
Lake Clark is exceptionally remote and isolated. Caution, good judgment and thorough preparation will help ensure you have a fun, safe trip. Please always tell someone where you are going and when you will return. While it is not required, it is a good idea to also leave your trip itinerary with us at our visitor center in Port Alsworth before departing into the backcountry. If we get a call indicating you are overdue it makes it easier to help you.