Lake Clark National Park

Lake Clark National Park sees more than 14 thousand visitors each year

Lake Clark National Park features four active volcanoes, including Mount Redoubt, as well as an abundance of rivers, glaciers, and waterfalls. Temperate rainforests, a tundra plateau, and three mountain ranges complete the landscape.

Geology

Lake Clark National Park is the scene of a dynamic, living geology

Lake Clark is the scene of a dynamic, living geology. A young landscape shaped by uplift, intrusion, earthquakes, volcanism, and glaciation. The Aleutian Range in Lake Clark is a segment of the circum-pacific Ring of Fire, one of the most active volcanic belts in the world. Quaternary volcanism in the Aleutians is the result of plate convergence, approximately 7.0 cm/year, between the American and Pacific plates (Kienle and Swanson, 1983). Modern tectonism is evident from the frequent strong earthquakes and four active volcanoes in the region (Redoubt, Illiamna, Augustine, and Douglas). Clusters of shallow and deep seismicity, with some magnitudes exceeding 6.0 on the Richter scale, have been recorded beneath Iliamna, Augustine, and Douglas volcanoes (Hampton, 1982).

Most of the southern portion of the park, east of Lake Clark, consists of sedimentary andmetamorphic rock of Mesozoic age. The geology in the northern half of the park is dominated by Tertiary and Mesozoic intrusive rocks (Dale and Stottlemyer, 1986). In detail, the geology and associated structure are very complex with igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary lithologies interacting at various scales.

Two major thrust faults are located within the park. The Bruin Bay Fault can be traced 300 miles from Becharof Lake on the Alaska Peninsula to Mount Susitna, northwest of Anchorage, bisecting Chinitna and Tuxedni bays. The Lake Clark Fault, also referenced as the Castle Mountain Fault by Stone (1983), runs approximately 80 miles to the northeast end of Lake Clark (Alaska Geographic Society, 1986).

The Lake Clark Fault underlies Lake Clark, structurally producing the lake’s long linear geometric shape. The fault is characterized by a right lateral displacement of approximately 8 miles (Ivanhoe, 1962).

see original article here: https://www.nps.gov/articles/nps-geodiversity-atlas-lake-clark-national-park-alaska.htm

Native American History

Home of the Dena’ina, Yup’ik, and Sugpiaq peoples

Archeological, ethnographic, and historic research tell us that people first came to the Lake Clark region around the end of the last ice age. Dena’ina, Yup’ik, and Sugpiaq peoples, Russian explorers, gold prospectors, trappers, aviators, and American pioneers are the forebearers of today’s residents.

see original article here: https://www.nps.gov/lacl/learn/historyculture/people.htm

Park History

How Lake Clark became a National Park

Lime Village, Port Alsworth, Nondalton, Iliamna, Newhalen, and Pedro Bay English is primarily spoken throughout the area now, but there are still Dena’ina and Yup’ik speakers in these rural areas as well. The majority of the residents in these villages are Dena’ina, an Athabascan-speaking people, but there is a mix of various ethnicities throughout the area. While Nondalton and Lime Village are primarily Dena’ina, Newhalen is primarily Yup’ik speaking. Iliamna is home to Dena’ina, Yup’ik, Euroamerican and other ethnic groups.

Port Alsworth
Port Alsworth is where the Park Headquarters and Visitor Center are located. It has a large Euroamerican base, and a unique history of developing around mining and trapping interests, but has also been home to a core of Dena’ina families from the north.

The current land status divisions in and around Lake Clark National Park & Preserve is a complicated quilt of various kinds of land ownership. There are homesteads, Native allotments, lands and subsurface rights claimed by village or regional Native corporations, and navigable waters controlled by the state. Prior to these divisions, and for many years into the distant past, lands that now make up Lake Clark National Park & Preserve were occupied by communities of people who settled primarily on the shores of lakes, along rivers, and at the confluence of rivers and streams.

see original article here: https://www.nps.gov/lacl/learn/historyculture/people.htm

Attractions

The best things to do in Lake Clark National Park

Spectacular wilderness adventure is easy to find in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. There’s something for everyone, whether you want to dip your paddle, spin a fly rod, stretch your legs, or just watch wildness in motion. Figuring out what you want your adventure to be is the first step on your journey to the park.

RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
A man stands with his back towards the photographer watching a brown bear sow and 2 cubs in a meadow
Brown Bear Viewing
Watch “A Day on the Lake Clark National Park Coastline,” learn where to go see bears, & become familiar with bear viewing best practices.

GET YOUR HIKE ON
Port Alsworth Day Hikes
Explore the Tanalian Trails

Camping and Backpacking
The park offers outstanding tundra hiking with both base-camping and point to point backpacking trip options.

Kayaking and Canoeing
Kayaking and canoeing are wonderful ways for experienced paddlers to explore the lakes.

Visit Dick Proenneke’s Cabin
Plan your trip to the home of one of Alaska’s foremost wilderness icons.

Fishing
Anglers ply the waters of streams and lakes annually. The park is known for its outstanding fishing.

Biking
Winter biking is a fantastic way to explore the park. Fat tire bikes work particularly well on snow and frozen lakes.

SPEND THE NIGHT
Priest Rock Public Use Cabin
Reserve a Backcountry Cabin on Lake Clark

Power Boating
Guided boat trips and boat rentals are possible on the 42-mile long Lake Clark, and a power boat is a fantastic way of exploring the park.

River Rafting
Many Alaskans think of rivers as travel corridors whether they are frozen for easy winter travel or flowing in the summer.

Birdwatching
With 187 species documented in the park, Lake Clark is a fantastic place to visit for birdwatching.

Hunting
Sport hunting and trapping are permitted in the national preserve. State of Alaska rules and regulations apply.

see original article here: https://www.nps.gov/lacl/planyourvisit/things2do.htm

Vegetation

 Four of the five biotic communities found in Alaska – coastal, lakes/rivers/wetlands, tundra, and forest – exist in the park.

SWAN Biological Science Technician Emily shares her work and insight about the plants that make the Lake Clark’s coastal sedge meadows. These salt marshes are a small portion of the park (roughly 1%) but they are an important resource for wildlife including the coastal Alaskan brown bear.

The Lake Clark area is special for its diversity of flowers, plants, trees, and lichen in a relatively small area. Four of the five biotic communities found in Alaska – coastal, lakes/rivers/wetlands, tundra, and forest – exist in the park.

see original article here: https://www.nps.gov/lacl/learn/nature/plants.htm

Animal Life

The area’s intact ecosystems support a full complement of sub-arctic wildlife species

A bear splashes into a stream and emerges with a spawning salmon … tundra swans glide elegantly across a boggy pond … a porcupine curls up and shows his quills to a curious hiker … a sharp-shinned hawk dives on a redback vole … wolves howl into the winter night. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve teems with wildlife. Among the reasons congress set aside Lake Clark as a national park and preserve was to protect habitat for wilderness dependent populations of fish and wildlife. The area’s intact ecosystems support a full complement of sub-arctic wildlife species, none of which are endangered or invasive species.

Mammals

Thirty-seven species of terrestrial mammals are believed to be present in the Lake Clark region and five different marine mammal species use haul-out sites or feeding areas along the coast. To learn more, look through the following links:

Brown Bears
Brown bears occur in all habitats in the park, but are especially concentrated along Cook Inlet coast.

Bear Viewing
Bear viewing is one of the park’s most popular activities. Learn more about bear viewing best practices.

Caribou
In the Bonanza Hills and around Turquoise, Twin, and Snipe lakes, caribou can be a majestic sight.
Dall Sheep

Dall Sheep traverse higher elevations along the western flank of the Chigmit Mountains.

Black Bears
Black bears are found throughout the park and preserve, except at the highest elevations

Moose
Moose can be found below timberline, especially in boggy and wet areas.

Wolves
A timeless symbol of wilderness, learn more about Lake Clark’s wolves.

Birds
From migratory birds that arrive in Lake Clark from wintering grounds around the world, to resident birds that brave Alaska’s long winters like the gray jay and boreal chickadee, over one hundred eighty species of birds have been observed in the park and preserve.

Fish

Salmon, rainbow trout, and arctic grayling are among the twenty-five species of freshwater and anadromous fish spend part or all of their lives in the park and preserve’s waterways. Anadromous fish are born in fresh water, spend most of their lives in the ocean, and return to fresh water to spawn. To learn more, look through the following links:

Sockeye Salmon
As a keystone species, sockeye salmon are a critical component in most of Lake Clark’s ecosystem.

Sport Fishing
Lake Clark can be an angler’s paradise.

Mercury Levels in Resident Fish
Some fish in Lake Clark may contain unusually high concentrations of mercury.

Viewing Wildlife Ethically – Take The Pledge!

The state of Alaska offers the following wildlife viewing ethics guidelines. Pledge to uphold them and keep the wildlife wild!

Give wildlife plenty of space. Binoculars and spotting scopes allow you to view wildlife without getting too close.
Approach wildlife slowly, quietly, and indirectly. Always give animals an avenue for retreat.
Try to view animals without changing their behavior. Avoid using calls or devices that attract wildlife. Resist the temptation to throw rocks to see a flock fly. Remember – harassing wildlife is illegal.
Be respectful of nesting and denning areas, rookeries, and calving grounds. Well-meaning but intrusive visitors may cause parents to flee, leaving young vulnerable to the elements or predators.
Leave “orphaned” or sick animals alone. Young animals that appear alone usually have parents waiting nearby.
Restrain pets or leave them at home. They may startle, chase, spread disease, or even kill wildlife.
Let animals eat their natural foods.
Learn to recognize signs of alarm. These are sometimes subtle. Leave if an animal shows them.

see original article here: https://www.nps.gov/lacl/learn/nature/animals.htm

Hiking Trails

The best hiking in Lake Clark National Park

Tanalian Trails

While day hiking opportunities are endless in places that can be reached by plane or boat, there is only one maintained trail system in the park and preserve. The Tanalian Trails originate in Port Alsworth in the heart of the park. The trailhead is located near southern-most airstrip in town. Stop by the park visitor center in Port Alsworth for current trail conditions and a trail map, or download the Tanalian Trails map below.

Tanalian Falls and Kontrashibuna Lake

Difficulty: Moderate

Meander through birch groves and up spruce studded hillsides to a stunning view of Lake Clark. Then round the bend and head down the gentle hill. On a summer day dwarf dogwood lines the trail, the sunlight dapples the forest floor, and the roar of the falls in your ears is deafening. Cold glacial waters fall over a 30 foot cliff of ancient lava. The mist falls coolly on your face and the view takes your breath away. Beyond the falls the trail enters Lake Clark’s designated wilderness on its way to the serenity of Kontrashibuna Lake.

Beaver Pond Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Any hike in the Tanalian Trail system can be made into a loop by returning on the Beaver Pond Trail. This trail meanders through quiet birch groves and past an old beaver pond where shorebirds nest in the early summer.

Tanalian Mountain

Difficulty: Rigorous

The trail up Tanalian Mountain is steep and rigorous with stunning panoramic views of Lake Clark and the surrounding mountains.

Other Day Hikes

A boat or plane ride can provide access to endless opportunities for trailless day hiking where the adventurous traveler can enjoy a climb up to alpine lakes or tundra meadows, a stroll across river gravel bars, or a challenging bushwhack up to a seldom-visited waterfall. Coastal beaches, high tundra, and lakeshores offer excellent hiking for the traveler seeking solitude and the challenge of finding their own route. Walking up to teetering rock on an unmaintained trail that begins behind Dick Proenneke’s cabin is a popular hike for people visiting Upper Twin Lake.

When flying or boating to remote locations for day trips make sure you are prepared to spend the night if unexpected weather makes that necessary.

see original article here: https://www.nps.gov/lacl/planyourvisit/day-hikes.htm

Exclusive Offer

Get 30% Off Your First Purchase