NPS Getaway of the Month: Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Jeanette Mills/ National Park Service
Every month the National Park Service highlights one of our nation’s most notable parks. This month’s featured getaway is a well-kept secret tucked away in the north land of Alaska.
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve (called “little Alaska by some) is home to an array of quintessential Alaskan wildlife like brown bears, salmon, moose and wolves, all of which share the area with the native Athabascan people who have created a unique and sustainable culture living off the land there for thousands of years.
The park spans from the shores of Cook Inlet, through the rugged Chigmit and Neacola ranges and encompasses the Redoubt and Iliamna volcanoes, a stunning alpine expanse and bright blue bodies of water that provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, fishing and rafting.
One of the best places for bear-viewing in the entire world, a recent survey of the land counted a population of 267 bears and a visit to the park almost guarantees you’ll catch a glimpse of one fishing for salmon in the Silver Salmon Creek or Chinitna Bay.
Countless miles of hiking trails and open access to the entire area offer endless opportunities for adventure. However, because the area is swarming with wildlife the NPS recommends that visitors prepare and plan their backcountry trips carefully.
More tamed attractions include an exploratory exhibit of Richard Proenneke’s (one of Alaska’s most famed wilderness advocates) historic cabin home where visitors can sit at his writing desk and retrace his steps along the shore of Upper Twin Lake.
More remote than you might imagine, Lake Clark is not a part of the traditional Alaskan road system and is typically only accessible by small plane. Luckily, for those without access to an aircraft the NPS offers plenty of information about how to get to the park, including guide services and information about private lodging, too.