Lake Clark Overview

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, located in southwestern Alaska, USA, is a pristine wilderness area renowned for its stunning natural beauty and diverse ecosystems. Spanning approximately 4 million acres (about 16,187 square kilometers), this remote park encompasses a breathtaking array of landscapes, from the rugged coastlines of Cook Inlet to the majestic peaks of the Alaska and Aleutian Ranges, including two active volcanoes, Mount Iliamna and Mount Redoubt. Established as a national park in 1980, Lake Clark was designated to protect its scenic, natural, and cultural resources, offering a quintessential Alaskan wilderness experience.

At the heart of the park lies Lake Clark itself, a turquoise jewel surrounded by mountains and glaciers, epitomizing the park’s untouched beauty. The park’s diverse environments include vast tundra plains, vibrant boreal forests, and wild rivers, providing critical habitat for a wide range of wildlife. Brown bears, moose, wolves, and salmon are just a few of the species that thrive in Lake Clark’s rich habitats, making the park a significant area for wildlife observation and research.

Lake Clark National Park is also a place of profound cultural importance, with evidence of human history dating back thousands of years. The region continues to be a vital subsistence resource for local Indigenous communities, who maintain a deep connection to the land.

Access to the park is challenging, as there are no roads leading into Lake Clark. Visitors typically arrive by small aircraft or boat, adding to the sense of adventure and isolation. Once inside the park, a variety of activities await, including hiking, kayaking, fishing, and bear watching. The park’s vast landscapes also offer unparalleled opportunities for solitude and reflection, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the natural world.

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is a testament to Alaska’s wild beauty, offering an unspoiled wilderness experience that highlights the importance of preserving natural landscapes for future generations.

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Park Map
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Lake Clark National Park Highlights


Lake Clark National Park, a remote wilderness in Alaska, is celebrated for its stunning landscapes and rich wildlife, where diverse species thrive amidst the park’s mountains, lakes, and tundra, offering visitors an authentic glimpse into Alaska’s vibrant natural life.

Brown Bear In the meadows and along the rivers, Brown Bears are a common sight, especially at Silver Salmon Creek, where they fish for salmon in summer.

Moose Majestic Moose are often seen browsing the park’s vegetation or wading in its lakes and ponds, the largest member of the deer family in North America.

Bald Eagle Soaring above Lake Clark’s waters, Bald Eagles epitomize the wild spirit of Alaska, their powerful presence a captivating sight for bird watchers and photographers.

Wolverine Elusive and solitary, Wolverines roam the park’s rugged terrain, a rare sight that symbolizes the wild and untamed essence of Lake Clark.

Caribou Caribou migrate through the park in large herds, an awe-inspiring display of wilderness life, crucial to the subsistence lifestyle of local communities.

Red Fox Adaptable and cunning, Red Foxes can be spotted throughout Lake Clark, their vibrant fur and keen senses making them successful hunters of small prey.

Trumpeter Swan The serene waters of Lake Clark are home to Trumpeter Swans, the largest of North American waterfowl, admired for their beauty and elegance.

Ptarmigan Camouflaged against the tundra, Ptarmigans, Alaska’s state bird, change color with the seasons, blending into the landscape in both winter white and summer brown.

River Otter Playful River Otters are often observed in the park’s rivers and lakes, their aquatic antics a delight for visitors lucky enough to spot them.

Sockeye Salmon The lifeblood of the park’s ecosystem, Sockeye Salmon undertake epic migrations to spawn in Lake Clark’s waters, supporting not only bears but countless other species.

Lake Clark National Park’s wildlife, from the iconic Brown Bear to the migratory Sockeye Salmon, showcases the wild heart of Alaska, drawing visitors into a world where nature’s drama unfolds in the vast, untouched wilderness.

Lake Clark National Park Pictures

Engaging Lake Clark National Park

Immerse yourself in the rugged wilderness of Lake Clark National Park on a backpacking adventure. Explore remote valleys, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes as you trek through the park’s vast landscapes.

With no designated trails, backpackers have the freedom to choose their own routes and discover hidden gems off the beaten path. Set up camp beneath towering mountains and beneath the starry skies, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature.

Backpacking in Lake Clark offers a true wilderness experience, providing opportunities for solitude, self-discovery, and connection with the natural world

Take to the skies on a flightseeing tour of Lake Clark National Park and experience its breathtaking beauty from above. Soar over towering mountains, vast glaciers, and pristine lakes as you enjoy panoramic views of the park’s rugged landscapes.

Keep an eye out for wildlife such as brown bears, Dall sheep, and mountain goats roaming the park’s remote wilderness. Flightseeing tours offer a thrilling and unforgettable way to experience the vastness and grandeur of Lake Clark, providing a bird’s-eye view of one of Alaska’s most remote and pristine national parks.

Explore the pristine waters of Lake Clark National Park by kayak. Paddle through crystal-clear lakes, winding rivers, and secluded coves as you immerse yourself in the park’s stunning wilderness.

Keep an eye out for wildlife such as sea otters, harbor seals, and migratory birds as you glide through the park’s diverse ecosystems. With options for day trips and multi-day expeditions, kayaking in Lake Clark offers opportunities for adventure and exploration, allowing you to discover hidden corners of the park and experience the beauty of Alaska’s wilderness from a unique perspective.

Lake Clark National Park Trails

Tanalian Trails

Rating: Varies from Easy to Strenuous

Distance and Elevation Gain: Up to 8 miles round trip with elevation gains up to 1,000 feet (305 meters) for the more strenuous hikes

Description: Starting from Port Alsworth, these trails offer something for every hiker. The Tanalian Falls and Kontrashibuna Lake trails are relatively easy and provide stunning views of waterfalls and clear, turquoise lakes. The hike to Tanalian Mountain is more challenging but rewards with panoramic views of Lake Clark and the surrounding wilderness.

Telaquana Trail

Rating: Strenuous

Distance and Elevation Gain: Up to 60 miles one-way, with significant elevation gain over rough terrain

Description: For the ultimate backcountry experience, this historic route takes hikers through the heart of Lake Clark National Park, from Telaquana Lake to Turquoise Lake. This trail is recommended only for experienced hikers equipped for wilderness navigation and prepared for all conditions.

Chinitna Bay Bear Viewing

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: Variable, primarily flat terrain

Description: While not a traditional trail, the area around Chinitna Bay offers unparalleled opportunities to view brown bears in their natural habitat. Visitors can walk along the beach and grasslands under the guidance of park rangers or tour operators, observing bears from a safe distance.

Crescent Lake Hiking and Bear Viewing

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Variable

Description: Accessible by floatplane, Crescent Lake is another prime location for bear viewing and fishing. Hikes around the lake allow visitors to explore the area’s beauty, with opportunities to see bears, salmon, and other wildlife amidst the backdrop of the Alaska Range.

Hope Creek Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Up to 4 miles round trip with moderate elevation gain

Description: This trail, accessible by boat or plane, offers a journey through the park’s diverse ecosystems, including boreal forests and tundra. It leads to Hope Creek, where hikers can enjoy the serenity of the Alaskan wilderness and possibly spot wildlife along the way.


1. What is Lake Clark National Park known for?

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, located in southwestern Alaska, is known for its breathtaking scenery, diverse wildlife, and outdoor recreation opportunities.

The park encompasses a vast and remote wilderness, including towering mountains, pristine lakes, and wild rivers. Visitors come to Lake Clark to experience its rugged beauty and explore its pristine landscapes, which are home to abundant wildlife such as brown bears, moose, and bald eagles.

The park offers opportunities for hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and wildlife viewing, as well as cultural experiences with the local Dena’ina Athabascan people.

Lake Clark National Park is a true wilderness destination, offering visitors a chance to connect with nature and experience the untamed beauty of Alaska’s wilderness.

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  • Britannica, Lake Clark National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Britannica, Lake Clark,, retrieved April 2024.
  • National Geographic, Complete National Parks of the United States, National Geographic Publishing, Washington DC.
  • National Geographic, Guide to the National Parks of the United States, National Geographic Society, 2003.
  • National Geographic, National Parks of North America, Canada-United States-Mexico, National Geographic Society, 1995.
  • National Park Service, Lake Clark,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Travel Alaska, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve,, retrieved April 2024.