12 Best Lakes in Alaska [Update 2024]


As soon as the long harsh Alaska wintertime is behind us, it is indeed wonderful to spend some time relaxing in the sun and soaking up the warmth by one of Alaska’s stunning lakes.

There are about one million lakes in the city, of which 3,197 are natural lakes and the remainder are man-made. In fact, aside from swimming and kayaking, there are a variety of other activities to take advantage of in some of Alaska’s most spectacular lakes.

So, if you truly want to appreciate these 12 best lakes in Alaska in the summer, you really need to see them in person, actually.

1. Lake Clark

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Lake Clark is one of the Best Lakes in Alaska

One of Alaska’s great treasures, Clark National Park and Preserve’s Lake Clark is a popular photo location. Lake Clark attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year who come to photograph its pristine beauty.

If you want to view nature in its purest form, Lake Clark in Alaska is an excellent place to visit. Besides the beauty of the lake, a wildlife sanctuary is located nearby that is home to a variety of wild animals.

The most popular activities in Lake Clark include fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and boating, as well as hiking, bird-watching, camping, and brown bear viewing. You can ride a big tire bike straight on top of Lake Clark if you visit in the winter.

2. Kenai Lake

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Kenai Lake

This large zigzag shaped lake sits in south Alaska in the Chugach National Forest. Kenai lake, one of the best lakes in Alaska, is a popular destination for recreational activities, some of which can be enjoyed on the lake itself, and others on the land surrounding it.

Fishing is particularly popular at this 5,590 hectare lake, though many also come to go boating, kayaking and canoeing. There are four camping grounds on the lake’s shoreline, with the smallest having only eight primitive sites, demonstrating to nature lovers the true meaning of camping.

Hiking is also extremely popular at Kenai Lake, where there are four different trails that head off in different directions. Both the Sterling Highway and the Seward Highway offer access to the lake, as well as magnificent views of it.

3. Skilak Lake

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Skilak Lake, a big natural lake supplied by melted glacier water, is located just west of Kenai Lake and is a sight to behold. At a height of 59 meters above sea level, the lake can be found within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Skilak Lake can be reached in 30 minutes or less from Soldotna by a side road off Sterling Highway. Several hiking routes lead from Skilak Lake Loop Road into the wildlife refuge, which is accessible via this road.

The lake is a popular destination for canoeing, kayaking, and camping by locals and tourists alike. Some campers prefer to camp at the more developed campgrounds around the lake.

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4. Mendenhall Lake

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Mendenhall Lake

The 21-kilometer-long Mendenhall Glacier in the Coast Mountains terminates at this stunning lake. Located north of Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area includes this glacier. The Glacier Highway and Mendenhall Loop Road, as well as a picturesque drive through the Tongass National Forest, lead directly to the lake from Juneau.

At the lake’s southeast corner, there is a visitor center and a trail leading to Nugget Falls. West Glacier Trailhead is located at the southwest corner of Lake McDonald, which has campgrounds and cottages for rent. There are occasions when canoeing and kayaking are possible on the lake, but the majority of visitors come for the scenery.

5. Wonder Lake

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One of Denali National Park and Preserve’s most popular attractions, Wonder Lake, is located at an elevation of 610 meters above sea level. The lake’s stunning perspective of Denali, North America’s tallest mountain, is one of its most notable characteristics.

Wonder Lake sits in the center of the Denali National Park and Preserve at an elevation of 610 meters above sea level. One of the biggest features of the lake is its spectacular view of Denali; the highest peak in all of North America. The nearest camping to the mountain may be found at the southern end of the lake, which is also the most remote.

Because there is no power or water at any of the sites, you’ll need to bring your own camping gear if you intend to stay the night. The journey to Wonder Lake from here is extremely beautiful. The only way to get to Denali National Park is by using one of the park’s designated buses; private vehicles must park at the park’s visitor center.

6. Eklutna Lake

Driving from Anchorage, Alaska, via Chugach State Park and along the east side of Eklutna Lake is one of the most breathtaking journeys in the world. During the summer months, tourists walk, ride ATVs, mountain bikes, or horseback along the lake.

The area offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, bird watching, and fishing, as well as boating and picnicking. A 50-site campsite may be found at the lake’s northernmost tip.

Seasonal changes in scenery can be seen all around the lake and camping area year-round. Winter visitors can reach Eklutna Lake via cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, or snowshoeing, depending on their preferred mode of transportation.

You might also want to visit these stunning small towns in Alaska.

7. Eagle Lake

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Eagle Lake is placed close to the eagle stream in Alaska and is well-known for its crystal-clear water and stunning scenery. To reach the summit of Eagle Lake, which is situated at an altitude of 807 meters above sea level, travelers must climb and walk for many hours.

There are a thousand times more views of the lake because of the difficult terrain and beautiful glaciers that surround it. However, if you intend to hike the trail to the top of the mountain, you should be informed that it will take approximately 5-6 hours for a fit and healthy person to complete the full walk and hit the summit.

8. Portage Lake

Located in the Chugach National Forest, Portage Lake is a stunning glacier lake that rests at an elevation of 180 meters above sea level. The north side of the lake is accessible through Portage Glacier Road, a breathtakingly beautiful drive.

Both the Byron Glacier Trail Head and the Trail of Blue Ice are located near the Begich Boggs Visitors Center on the lake’s northwest coast. Moreover, the Chugach National Forest and glacial activity are the focus of the Boggs Visitor Center.

Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, kite skiing, and hiking are all popular winter and spring activities around Portage Lake. Due to the frigid temperatures and the possibility of glacial activity, water sports are extremely hazardous in this area.

9. Twin Lakes

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Twin Lakes may be seen in all their glory from Port Allworth, Alaska. If you’re looking for a must-visit lake in Alaska, this is it. You’ll be able to see wildlife and Lake Clark National Park if you take advantage of the opportunity to go boating on this lake.

It’s possible to catch a glimpse of brown bears catching salmon and the stunning vistas of the shore if you’re lucky. Your spirit will be revived by the sight of a snow-covered mountain range and a soaring volcano. Among the lakes in the United States, this one is a must-see.

10. Lake Aleknagik

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This lake acts as the entrance to the Wooded State Park. It is situated in Dillingham Alaska and far from all types of hustle of the city. You will enjoy the beauty of this Alaska Lake, and it offers scope to enjoy lots of adventure sports.

If you are fond of fishing then try it here to catch different species of fish such as Pacific salmon, Arctic Char, Grayling, Dolly Varden and moreover if you are lucky then you can also get a northern pike. Well, making an effort to trek here is not very easy, but you can still enjoy it with the help of guides.

11. Iliamna Lake

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Located in Alaska’s southwest, Iliamna Lake is the state’s largest freshwater lake and the second-largest in the United States. The Tanzania Indians gave the lake its name, and legend has it that a fabled blackfish lurks in the depths.

There are six villages on the beaches of the 300,000 hectare lake, which is home to various islands. Besides tourism and fishing, Iliamna Lake has the world’s largest sockeye salmon run, making it an important source of income for the towns.

Beluga whales and harbor seals can occasionally be seen in the lake, thanks to the Kvichak River, which connects it to Bristol Bay to the west. The lake is also home to a huge number of freshwater seals.

12. Becharof Lake

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One of the largest lakes in the United States, Becharof Lake is located in the state of Alaska. Located in the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Alaska, the lake is one of the most isolated in the state. Mount Peulik may be seen from the north side of the 117,000 hectare lake, which is surrounded by mountains.

Seals, sea otters, and whales may all be spotted here, making it a top destination for wildlife enthusiasts. You should know that Becharof Lake is inaccessible by road. It is only reachable by plane from Anchorage, or by boat or a hard trail.

No matter what your interests are, you’re bound to find something that suits you in Alaska city. There are many lakes in Alaska, each of which has its own particular beauty to offer. So, if you’re planning a trip to the wonderful city of Alaska, don’t forget to stop at one of these lakes to round out your experience.

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