Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is a composite of
ecosystems representative of
many regions of Alaska. The spectacular scenery stretches from the shores of Cook Inlet, across the Chigmit Mountains, to the tundra covered hills of the western interior. The Chigmits, where the Alaska and Aleutian Ranges meet, are an awesome, jagged array of mountains and glaciers which include two active volcanoes, Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Iliamna. Lake Clark, 40 miles long, and many other lakes
and rivers within the park are critical salmon habitat to the Bristol Bay salmon fishery, one of the largest sockeye salmon fishing grounds in the world. Numerous lake and river systems in the park and preserve offer excellent fishing and wildlife viewing.
Operating Hours, Seasons
Open year round Highest Visitation June through September
PLANE - Access to the Lake Clark region is by small aircraft.
Float planes may land on the many lakes throughout the area. Wheeled planes
land on open beaches, gravel bars, or private airstrips in or near the
park. A one to two-hour flight from Anchorage, Kenai or Homer will provide
access to most points within the park and preserve.
CAR - There is no highway access to the park and preserve.
Weather & Climate
June through August temperatures average between 50° and 65° F with considerable precipitation. Weather conditions in the region change suddenly and proper equipment, rain and cool weather gear, extra food, and extra cooking fuel, are essential for any back country travel. Frost and snow can occur in September and October, and in mid-summer evening frost should be expected. Strong winds can occur at any time. Winter temperatures can sink to -40º F.
Most National Park Service buildings and local visitor services, facilities, and air charters are not handicapped accessible.
Activities and More Information
There are no roads in the park. A two and one half mile trail to Tanalian Falls and Kontrashibuna Lake is accessible from the town of Port Alsworth. The 50 mile Telaquana Trail depicted on maps is an undeveloped historic route from Lake Clark to Telaquana Lake.
Webster defines wilderness as "an empty or pathless area or region". Most of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve qualifies under that definition of wilderness. There are no "improvements" to hiking or camping. All camping is primitive, no facilities or designated campsites exist. 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. Become familiar with them. Resist the urge to take, shape or alter the wilderness around you.
Still want to go camping or hiking here? Good! A further caution then, take it upon yourself to be extremely knowledgeable and prepared. Lake Clark is wilderness: exceptionally remote and isolated. Weather can often be uncooperative. Adventures such as these demand self-sufficiency and advanced backcountry skills. Help is what you bring with you: common sense and skills. Assistance maybe days away. Travelers should also be prepared for the possibility of inclement weather delaying scheduled pick-up, again by perhaps several days.
There are no trails.... one hikes cross country, using map and the lay of the land to get where you want to go. There are rivers to ford, mires to avoid, weather to sit out and experiences of a life time to be found here. As varied as Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is, so is its hiking. 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). Generally the western slopes of the park and preserve are higher and dryer than the eastern or coastal portions of the park, which tends to have more precipitation and denser vegetation. Be aware that willows, alders and birch brush found along the water courses and on many of the lower mountain slopes generally mean slower and tougher going. Some areas are virtually impassable because of the vegetation. Hikers should also be prepared for wet feet, from either occasional soggy tundra or river fords. Keep in mind that all streams and rivers must be forded, and during high water levels, this may prove to be impossible.
You may want to leave your itinerary with us at our field
headquarters at Port Alsworth before departing into the backcountry. If
you have additional questions, rangers on staff will be happy to assist
you: "To give our eyes, legs, and hearts to those who thus far have
not seen as clearly, walked as swiftly, or felt as strongly." Dylan
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