Visit one of the most remote and rugged National Parks in the country! Explore Port Alsworth at Lake Clark National Park and you’ll have the ultimate Alaskan experience! Fish on the shores, observe bears wandering the coast, and bask in the serenity 😌.
I’ve been to 56 national parks and this was one of the most unique trips I’ve had. We stayed at an off-grid cabin, swam in the cool waters 💦 of Lake Clark, hiked up the mountain, and wandered around Port Alsworth while encountering other people was rare!
I already want to go back.
It can be very confusing to plan a trip here. During my own research, I struggled 🤔 to find comprehensive information. So, read my detailed guide below to plan the ultimate trip to Lake Clark!
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Table of Contents
Guide to Visiting Port Alsworth, Lake Clark
This is the ultimate guide to visiting Port Alsworth & Lake Clark. You’ll find everything you need to know including the best time to go, the best things to do in Lake Clark, and tips for getting there!
Where is Port Alsworth Lake Clark?
Port Alsworth in Lake Clark National Park is located in the Southwestern part of Alaska. It is one of the most remote national parks in the entire country.
Lake Clark is more than 40 miles long, situated at the base of the Chigmit mountains. It’s also the headwaters for the Alaska salmon 🐟 and sockeye runs. This rugged landscape of bright blue waters with jagged mountains is alluring and magical.
Best Time to Visit Lake Clark
Although the park is open year round, the best time to visit Lake Clark is in the summer. During the summer, you can experience all of the beauty of Lake Clark and enjoy the warmer temperatures 🌡.
The visitor centers and many of the businesses only operate during the months of June through August.
So, if you want to visit during the other months it might take more preparation and logistics to plan a trip 📝. Most places (including lodging) in Port Alsworth close around September 15th or earlier.
Things to Know Before You Go
💵 There is no fee to enter Lake Clark National Park. However, getting there can cost a pretty penny.
🚗 The only way to get to Port Alsworth or other areas in Lake Clark is by plane or boat. So, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a car while visiting. Most of the areas are very walkable.
📱 There is no cell service in most of Lake Clark. So, either pack a satellite phone or prepare to be disconnected while you visit.
☀️ Weather changes quickly up in the mountains, so make sure that you are prepared with layers and proper gear. Even in the summer months, Alaska can get cold, so just be prepared.
⛺️ There is one campground on Port Alsworth. It is run by Tulchina Adventures and they recommend that you make reservations early.
🐻 There are grizzly bears and moose in Lake Clark! So, pack bear spray and if you see any animals in the area keep a safe distance away.
🦮 Pets are allowed in Lake Clark, but it’s recommended that you leave them at home. A lot of the areas are in the backcountry and there is a lot of dangerous wildlife.
⚠️ Most services in the park open around Memorial Day and close around Labor Day. So, you’ll need to be prepared if you visit outside of those times.
🍃 Remember to follow the Leave No Trace Principles. As always, you want to leave nature looking better than you found it.
How to Get to Port Alsworth & Lake Clark
Getting to Lake Clark seems much more complicated than it is in reality. However, it is a bit pricey. The only way to get to Lake Clark is to take a float plane or a small charter plane ✈️.
There are a few designated airline carriers that will take you from Anchorage, Homer, or Kenai to Port Alsworth in Lake Clark. Flights usually run upwards of $500 💸💸 for one round trip priced ticket. You can read more about all of the airline carriers here.
Airlines with Flights to Port Alsworth:
- Lake and Peninsula Airlines (Anchorage)
- Lake Clark Air (Anchorage)
- Adventure Airways (Homer)
- Smokey Bay Air (Homer)
- Alaska West Air (Sodoltna)
We flew from Anchorage with Lake & Penninsula Airlines, it took an hour and a half and it was the most scenic flight of my life! I just couldn’t get over the beauty that surrounded us on all sides.
Where to Stay in Port Alsworth?
Port Alsworth has a variety of lodging options based on what you want. There is an established campground, a couple lodges, a few cabins, and backcountry camping. But, they can all book up quickly, so try to plan in advance!
🏨 Lodges & Cabins in Port Alsworth
There are a couple of lodges and cabins to choose between in Lake Clark. These spots all have a variety of amenities.
- The Farm Lodge– The Farm Lodge/Lake Clark Resort is the premier place to stay in Port Alsworth. It’s located right on the water with delicious Alaskan meals and gear rentals.
- The Wilder B&B – If you are looking for a quainter option, then stay at the Wilder B&B.
- Tulchina Adventures – Tulchina Adventures offers an off-grid cabin right on the lake’s shores. It has a screened in porch, a kitchen, and shower. We stayed here for the weekend and had the most incredible stay. I highly recommend it!
- Lake Clark Lodge – This lodge is actually in a remote location, but they offer transportation to and from Anchorage. It’s an amazing new lodge with great food and bear tours!
⛺️ Camping in Port Alsworth
- Port Alsworth Campground– There is only one full service campground in Port Alsworth. It’s run by Tulchina Adventures. Each campsite is screened in with bear storage and a fire pit.
- Backcountry Camping– You can go camping in the backcountry, but you should have the proper experience. Also, you’ll need to bring all your own gear. Get ready for an authentic Alaskan adventure!
Things to Do in Port Alsworth, Lake Clark
1. Go Flightseeing ✈️
One of the best way to see the remote area of Lake Clark is to go on a scenic flight. If you plan on flying to Lake Clark, then you may just get lucky to fly through the mountains.
On a clear day, you’ll soar through the mountain pass and it will feel magical. I was in complete awe on our flight. It was the most astounding flight I’ve ever been on.
You can also book scenic flights that leave from Port Alsworth and will take you further into Alaskas’s wilderness to destinations like Mt. Iliamna or Katmai. You can find these flights through Lake & Penninsula Airlines or Lake Clark Air.
2. Trek up to Tanalian Mountain 🏔
Get up above Lake Clark and hike to the top of Tanalian Mountain. This is a full day hiking trek that requires a decent level of fitness. But, once you get to the top you’ll get 360 degree views of the entire area.
This hike is a minimum of 8.9 miles and gains 3700 feet of elevation.
If you are ready for a challenging trek, then this is the perfect one! It’s a hike that you will always remember.
3. Hike to Tanalian Falls 🥾
One of the best things to do in Lake Clark is to take a visit to Tanalian Falls. This waterfall is serenely located in the woods. Walk through the birch forest before getting to the 30 foot waterfall cascading over ancient lava.
It’s a nice half day hike that is 4.2 miles round trip! Everyone should add the Falls to their trip to Lake Clark.
4. Go Bear Viewing 🐻
One of the ultimate adventures to do in Lake Clark is to go bear viewing. There are tons of bears in the area that roam this coastal region!
Take trips to view the bears in one of these locations:
- Chinitna Bay
- Cook Inlet
- Silver Salmon Creek
If you can’t see bears in Lake Clark, you can add a flight to Katmai. Visiting Katmai is one of the coolest wildlife encounters you’ll have. When you get to Katmai, you’ll get the chance to be up close to the brown bears.
5. Take a Kayak Trip 🛶
One of the best ways to see Lake Clark is to get on the water. So, rent a kayak to explore the park further into the wilderness. You can choose to either just paddle around or go on one of the recommended trips.
6. Spend a Day Fishing 🎣
There’s nothing more Alaskan than going fishing in the summertime. The best places to go fishing in Lake Clark are on Lake Crescent or Silver Salmon Creek, but there are plenty of options in Port Alsworth as well.
You can rent a kayak and just go fishing on the lake, further at Kontrashibuna Lake or take your rods out and go fly fishing by Tanalian Falls. Try and test your luck by catching a fish during the annual salmon run!
7. Enjoy the Beauty of Kontrashibuna Lake 😍
Kontrashibuna Lake is just 3 miles from the beginning of the Tanalian trailhead. It’s a fantastic place to spend a day and get deeper into the wilderness.
Once you get to the Lake you can choose to go fishing for lake trout, hike further around the lake, hang out on the shores, or enjoy the surroundings. It’s one of the most beautiful areas in the park.
Watch out for bears, they love this area. So, pack bear spray and be aware of your surroundings!
Final Tips for Visiting Port Alsworth & Lake Clark
Port Alsworth & Lake Clark are extremely remote and isolated. That means that you should plan ahead of time and bring everything you need. There’s one burger stand and a coffee shop in town, but otherwise you’re on your own outside of the lodges.
It’s truly remarkable to spend time in the rugged Alaskan wilderness. You’ll have the best time and you can disconnect from the rest of the world 🌎 while you explore this amazing national park.
Let me know if you enjoyed this guide in the comments.
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