Places To Go

With four million undeveloped, wild acres to explore there are countless places go for adventure, solitude, and recreation in Lake Clark. Part of the purpose of the park is to allow for individual, personal exploration of wilderness; however, listed below are a few areas of particular significance or interest.

Photo of a brown bear standing in a meadow.
Brown bears graze in the sedge meadows at Silver Salmon Creek and Chinitna Bay in early to mid summer.

NPS Photo / Kevyn Jalone

Cook Inlet Coast

The park's coastline is across Cook Inlet from the Kenai Peninsula and the communities of Homer, Kenai, and Soldatna. The coastal meadows and streams have world-class Alaska brown bear viewing and fishing.

Silver Salmon Creek - Located midway up the park's Cook Inlet coast, this is the place to be if you are interested in bear viewing or fishing. Despite the name, you can find fish other than salmon in Silver Salmon Creek.

Chinitna Bay - At times, visitors are able to see twenty or more brown bears in the salt marsh and on the tidal flats east of Middle Glacier Creek. Tucked in the protected reaches of Chinitna Bay, this is another fantastic bear-viewing spot in the park.

Coastal Beach Hike - Travelers with experience in brown bear country can follow a spectacular 25 mile hike from Chinitna Bay to Silver Salmon Creek. Though no formal campgrounds exist, excellent camp sites abound. Use extreme caution when hiking this route due to the high population of bears in the area.

Aerial view of snowy, rocky mountains.
Jagged peaks, volcanoes, and glaciers slip in and out of view during flight-seeing tours of the Chigmit and Neacola Mountains.

NPS Photo / Kent Miller

Mountains and Volcanoes

The craggy Chigmit and Neacola Mountains run north-south through the center of the park with Redoubt and Illiamna Volcanoes towering above them all. Mountaineers will find both challenge and solitude. Flight-seeing tours through the mountains is available from air taxis based in communites along the Kenai Peninsula or in Port Alsworth.

Crescent Lake - Crescent Lake is tucked into the coastal Chigmit Mountains, with spectacular views of Redoubt Volcano, high density bear populations, and strong salmon runs. Alder-filled hillsides rise from the shoreline to towering mountains. Sockeye and silver salmon run upriver to Crescent Lake, making it a great spot to base for fishing. Bear viewing is also possible from boats cruising along shoreline.

Photo with a view from within one kayak, looking past the tip of another kayak across a turquoise lake, towards distant mountains under a blue sky.
Kayakers on Lake Clark are able to reach miles of shoreline with endless hiking and camping possibilities.

Photo courtesy M. Richotte

Lake Clark

Lake Clark is centrally located in the park. This spectacular fifty-mile long lake offers fishing and kayaking. The private community of Port Alsworth sits on the southern shore of the lake.

Port Alsworth offers visitor services such as lodging, air taxis, guide services, gear rentals, and a post office. A small park visitor center in Port Alsworth has displays, films of the park, and rangers who can help you plan your trip.

The Tanalian trails network begins in town. Day hikers can chose between hikes to a beaver pond, Tanalian Falls, Kontrashibuna Lake, and the summit of Tanalian Mountain. Intrepid hikers with more time can extend the trip into the trailless high country beyond Kontrashibuna Lake.

Aerial photo looking down two blue lakes connected by a short stream and  bound by snow capped mountains
Twin Lakes are just two of many lakes and ponds that dot the western foothills of the Chigmit and Neacola Mountains.

NPS Photo / W. Hill

Lakes Country

North and south of Lake Clark stunning iridescent and turquoise blue lakes stud the connection between the tundra and the mountains.

Twin Lakes and Richard Proenneke's Cabin

The famed historic Proenneke cabin is located on upper Twin Lake north of Lake Clark. For many people, Proenneke is an icon of wilderness values. Enamored with the wilderness in Alaska, in the 1960s he constructed a cabin on Twin Lakes, using hand tools he also built himself. His journals and self-made film clips served as the inspiration for the documentary One Man's Wilderness, and his cabin remains a huge draw for park visitors.

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Photo of a woman backpacker walking on a gravel stream bank with mountains in the background and pink flowers in the foreground.
Backcountry hiking in the lakes country rewards the adventurer with scenic vistas.

NPS photo / Dan Young

Hiking and Backpacking in the Lakes Country

Base camping, backpacking, and hiking options abound in this section of the park and preserve. While the only developed and maintained trails in the park are part of the Tanalian Trails network near park headquarters in Port Alsworth, hiking is allowed anywhere not otherwise closed to public use. Lake shores, coastal beaches, and high tundra are excellent areas for that activity. Adventurers in Lake Clark will need to rely upon their way-finding and trailless hiking skills, or hire a guide who can help them.

The following route descriptions are not a complete listing. They are simply a sampling of the variety of trips available in the park and preserve. Many of these routes could be expanded, linked together, or the descriptions used simply to get an idea of the terrain in order to plan your own unique trip. Regardless of how you chose to use them, thorough research and preparation will be important in creating your own safe adventure in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

  • Hope Creek Route - Explore some of Dick Proenneke's stomping grounds by hiking into the valley above his cabin at Upper Twin Lake.
  • Low Pass Route - Backpackers on this route will explore more of Dick Proenneke's stomping grounds in the high country above Upper Twin Lake.
  • Trail Creek Route - Traverse a gentle glacier and navigate across alpine tundra between Telaquana and Turquoise Lakes.
  • Historic Telaquana 'Trail' Route - This popular backpacking journey follows a historic Dena'ina Athabascan route between Kijik Village on Lake Clark and Telaquana Lake.
  • Upper to Lower Twin Lakes Route - Explore some of Dick Proenneke's stomping grounds by walking the shoreline between Upper and Lower Twin Lakes.
  • Fishtrap Lake to Snipe Lake Route - Backpackers willing to navigate through extremely dense brush at lower elevations will reach secluded alpine tundra with endless ridgelines to explore.

Last updated: July 25, 2017

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