Lake Clark National Park is an often overlooked gem nestled in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness. The massive park is worth seeking out, though, as it is full of glimmering lakes, meandering rivers, jagged mountains, and fantastic wildlife encounters. We only saw a tiny portion of this park, but the untouched beauty of Crescent Lake and its pristine shores is something I will never forget. If you want to visit Lake Clark, here is all the information on our day trip to this stunning location. Be sure to watch the video on the trip above and leave any questions in the comments.
How Long Should you Plan for your visit?
Lake Clark is difficult to visit for longer than a day merely because it is remote and not as busy as Katmai, so there is less infrastructure. Most of the day trips I found from Anchorage did not go to Port Allensworth (where the visitor center is); you had to leave from Homer for that. The Anchorage trips either went to Chinitna Bay or Crescent Lake, and they only had a few due to the popularity of Katmai National Park, taking many of the planes during the busy season. Due to this, the options are relatively limited, but we still loved our one day in the park.
How to Access Lake Clark National Park
I booked a day trip flight from Anchorage that left early in the morning, flew us to Crescent Lake, and then spent the whole day looking for bears before flying back to Anchorage. Most people will access this park via plane, but technically, you can access some outlying areas via boat. Again, it is a massive park, so you are only seeing a tiny bit on your tour, and taking a plane helps you get a better appreciation for the park by seeing it from above. If you want to go to the central part of the park, then you need to go to Homer to do that (at least, that was the case when I was researching it).
What you can see at Lake Clark National Park
Bears are the main thing to see on the day trips to Lake Clark, and we got lucky and saw over a dozen on our trip. What made it so special is that we just cruised Crescent Lake in a pontoon boat and observed the bears from afar, making it a relaxing and unique experience. We were a little early, so we didn’t see them eating much, but they were actively exploring. The experience here is unique because it is less popular than Katmai and feels much more rugged.
The natural beauty of Lake Clark, Crescent Lake in particular, was especially memorable during our time there. We got great weather, and the lake had a stunning blue color and was surrounded by big mountains, including Mt Redoubt, a 10,000-foot volcano. My mom even said she thought the lake was more beautiful than Yosemite, which is high praise. We cruised around the lake and saw multiple waterfalls and even a couple of glaciers. It honestly felt like heaven on Earth.
Where to Stay in Lake Clark
If you want to stay in the park, you can camp in Port Allensworth if you can get a flight there. You can also stay at the Redoubt Lodge, which is on Crescent Lake but is very expensive. It is an easy park to visit on a day trip from Anchorage, though, so that might be the best way for most people to experience it.
Cost to visit Lake Clark
We paid $1,200 per person ($2,400 for both of us), including the flight to the lake and back from Anchorage, the boat tour and lunch at the lodge.
Let me know what other questions you have in the comments and watch my Lake Clark videos in the description.