Lake Clark National Park

Lake Clark National Park

My namesake National Park, Lake Clark, was next on this adventure! This is one of the parks you have to fly into. There are no roads in or to this park. It is an undeveloped area full of lakes, streams, volcanos, rivers, mountains, and it includes the headwaters for the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery; making it a haven for fishers. 

We flew to this park with Lake & Pen Air from their small office near the main airport. It was our first tiny bush plane experience up here and it didn’t disappoint. I only got a little nauseous AND they have little treats at departure and arrival for you, sooo… worth it.  Just the flight to the park was incredible; we got an amazing birds eye view of this remote park that truly is in the the middle of nowhere. From above, we got to see some waterfalls, many of the lakes and waterways and the pilot squeezed the plane between many of the craggy mountains (this might have been where my stomach got a little upset). 

We arrived to Port Alsworth; the headquarters for Lake Clark. From where we landed, we walked along the airstrip to the Visitor Center, borrowed the free bear resistant food container and then hiked up to the Tanalian Falls. It was amazing and so secluded. We didn’t see anyone until we hiked back. The water was so turquoise and green and so beautiful. 

After our peaceful hike, we made it back to the runway area to meet Beth with Tulchina Adventures. I highly recommend this company.  I had contacted her a week or so before we made it there and she had great suggestions, a good itinerary and worked with our budget. As this park is primarily water adventures, but we’re not keen on fishing, we decided to rent kayaks. Beth and her husband took us out on the boat, along with the kayaks and our camping gear and dropped us off at Brooks Cove; a secluded backcountry camping area about 8 miles away on Lake Clark. 

It was such a cool area – we had our own private beach and we set up our tent just nestled into the woods. Beth told us to move the kayaks off the beach so the bears don’t step on them when they walk the beach at night. That was definitely a first for me. We made dinner on the beach and fell asleep to the wind and the waves. I thought sleep would allude me that night because of the potential of bears just meandering on by 10 feet away, but this was the first night in weeks that we had any real darkness while we slept so that was real exciting. I know this is dumb, but I never realized how important going to sleep in the dark is… third shift workers are heroes. 

The next morning, after a delightful breakfast by the water, Mike and I kayaked back to Port Alsworth.  It was a little foggy but the water was so calm and glassy that it made up for it. At times we would pause and it felt like we were the only people for miles and miles. No sounds except waves. It was incredible.

Recommendations

  • If you’re into fishing and feeling like you’re the only person in the world…. THIS is your park. However, this requires some advance planning and know how. I’m not the girl to give you that advice, but for backcountry camping and fishing, you’ll need to get some advance reservations and figure out where you’re going.
  • However, if you stick with Port Alsworth area like we did, definitely check out Tulchina Adventures! Beth was super great to work with and will make a personalized itinerary for you.
  • If you’re not into fishing or any active activities, this might not be the best park for you. I’d still recommend a flightseeing tour, but everything else requires some work!

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