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10-days

Turquoise Glacier High Route – Lake Clark National Park

$4,595 /person

Trip Details

$4,595 /person - 10-days
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This backpacking traverse will allow us to connect three of Lake Clark National Park’s most spectacular watersheds – Telaquana Lake, Turquoise Lake, and the famed Twin Lakes. Your guides will take you up and over glaciers, through spectacularly vertical canyons, past huge waterfalls, and across some of the most stunning alpine tundra in Alaska.  If you dream of hiking through remote mountain ranges on ribbons of ice, connecting high alpine valleys laced with tumbling creeks, and trekking across miles of trail-less tundra, then this adventure will satisfy your yearning.

This 10-day backpacking and hiking trip will take us from the shores of remote Telaquana Lake, around the Trail Creek highlands, beneath the glaciated 8000’ Telaquana Mountain, under the hanging glaciers surrounding Turquoise Lake, over a glacier pass, through the tundra of the Emerson Creek valley, and finally to Twin Lakes and our float plane pick-up at Hope Creek near Dick Proenneke’s log cabin.  While the mountains present to us exciting route-finding challenges, the tundra allows the opportunity to hike easily and glass the horizons for Dall’s sheep, grizzly bears, caribou, moose, migratory foul, and birds of prey.

We pioneered this route in 2006 and found it to be perhaps Alaska’s most quintessential backpacking adventure.  In addition to the magical solitude and intimate beauty of Lake Clark National Park, this traverse also gives a comprehensive introduction to Alaska backcountry travel – float-plane access, wide open tundra ridge hiking, icy river crossings, trekking on glaciers, and backpacking through trail-less wilderness.  The route meanders southward through alpine regions of the Lake Clark Wilderness; from Telaquana Lake past the rugged splendor of Turquoise Lake, and 10-days later to a finish at Dick Proenneke’s log cabin on Twin Lakes.  Thanks to photographer Andrew Peacock @Footloosephotography for the amazing images from this trip!

Itinerary

Day 1
Lunch & dinner included, Distance: 3.0 miles, Elevation Gain: 1700′

This morning you’ll start the day with an orientation and gear check at our shop in Anchorage prior to the flight from Anchorage to Port Alsworth.  Then from Merrill Field, located in the heart of Anchorage, you’ll fly west through the glacially carved splendor of Lake Clark Pass, one of the most spectacular bush flights in Alaska, arriving 1.5 hours later in the small community of Port Alsworth.  You'll enjoy a delicious lunch along the shores of Lake Clark with your guide team,  discuss the adventure ahead,  and wrap up the trip orientation. Then we’ll load into float planes and lift off into the afternoon skies bound for Telaquana Lake, about 45 minutes north of Lake Clark.  We’ll watch the floatplane taxi away from the beach, lift off the lake, and disappear over the ridge to the south, before hoisting packs and backpacking to our first camp in the tundra-carpeted alpine country above of the lake.

Day 2-8
All meals included, Distance: 5-10 miles/day, Elevation gain: 1500′-4000′ /day

We’ll spend the next seven days moving from our first camp above Trail Creek to Hope Creek and the Proenneke site on the famous Twin Lakes.  We’ll likely have at least two layover days during during which we’ll explore glaciers and valleys with stripped-down packs containing only the day’s essentials.  The country will throw a sampling of the Alaska backpacking challenges at us, including two river crossings, just enough brush to remind you of Alaska, abundant talus and scree, some steep side-hilling, and two high mountain passes.

Day 9
All meals included, Distance: 5 miles, Elevation gain: 500′

By the afternoon of day nine, we’ll arrive at Hope Creek, where we’ll pay a visit to Dick Proenneke’s log cabin made famous by the PBS documentary Alone in the Wilderness.  Too soon for most, the float plane will arrive to return us to Port Alsworth, where we’ll check into cabins at the lodge.  After hot showers and a celebratory dinner, we’ll tally up our wildlife sightings, and savor the onset of post-expedition euphoria.

Day 10
Breakfast & lunch included, Distance: 5 miles, elevation gain: 800’

After breakfast at the lodge, we’ll pay a morning visit to the Lake Clark National Park visitor’s center where you’ll have a chance to purchase maps and postcards, enjoy videos and interpretive displays, and share your adventures with park staff.  We’ll spend the rest of the day hiking to Tanalian Falls, before boarding an afternoon charter flight to Anchorage.  If you are departing Alaska on this day, please schedule all homebound flights for after 9 pm.

What's Included

  • All group gear: Expedition quality tents, group tarp, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
  • Safety Equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
  • Toilet supplies including TP, trowel, and hand sanitizer
  • Water treatment options
  • Trekking poles
  • Scenic flight tour between Anchorage and Port Alsworth with the Lake Clark Resort
  • All necessary float plane flight tours
  • Lodging on the final night at the Lake Clark Resort or Wilder B&B on Lake Clark
  • Professional guide service at a maximum 4:1 client to guide ratio
  • All meals from lunch on day one through lunch on the final day of the itinerary
  • Storage for your extra travel items while in the field

Alaska Factor: The Real Deal

While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will during the camping portion of this trip. The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary. Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.” Flight times into and out of the wilderness may also vary based on any number of similar factors. Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

Available Dates

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Trip Stats

Price:
$4,595 /person
Duration:
10-days
Length:
50+ miles
Intensity:
Level 3
Begins In:
Anchorage
Ends In:
Anchorage
Airport:
Anchorage International (ANC)
Wildlife:
Bears, Dall Sheep, Wolves, Caribou, Moose
Great For:
Explorers, Couples, Individuals
Activity:
Backpacking

Get Ready

What to Pack:

Helpful gear suggestions and recommendations for this trip.

Gear List
Itinerary:

Download a detailed itinerary of this trip.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1
Lunch & dinner included, Distance: 3.0 miles, Elevation Gain: 1700′

This morning you’ll start the day with an orientation and gear check at our shop in Anchorage prior to the flight from Anchorage to Port Alsworth.  Then from Merrill Field, located in the heart of Anchorage, you’ll fly west through the glacially carved splendor of Lake Clark Pass, one of the most spectacular bush flights in Alaska, arriving 1.5 hours later in the small community of Port Alsworth.  You'll enjoy a delicious lunch along the shores of Lake Clark with your guide team,  discuss the adventure ahead,  and wrap up the trip orientation. Then we’ll load into float planes and lift off into the afternoon skies bound for Telaquana Lake, about 45 minutes north of Lake Clark.  We’ll watch the floatplane taxi away from the beach, lift off the lake, and disappear over the ridge to the south, before hoisting packs and backpacking to our first camp in the tundra-carpeted alpine country above of the lake.

Day 2-8
All meals included, Distance: 5-10 miles/day, Elevation gain: 1500′-4000′ /day

We’ll spend the next seven days moving from our first camp above Trail Creek to Hope Creek and the Proenneke site on the famous Twin Lakes.  We’ll likely have at least two layover days during during which we’ll explore glaciers and valleys with stripped-down packs containing only the day’s essentials.  The country will throw a sampling of the Alaska backpacking challenges at us, including two river crossings, just enough brush to remind you of Alaska, abundant talus and scree, some steep side-hilling, and two high mountain passes.

Day 9
All meals included, Distance: 5 miles, Elevation gain: 500′

By the afternoon of day nine, we’ll arrive at Hope Creek, where we’ll pay a visit to Dick Proenneke’s log cabin made famous by the PBS documentary Alone in the Wilderness.  Too soon for most, the float plane will arrive to return us to Port Alsworth, where we’ll check into cabins at the lodge.  After hot showers and a celebratory dinner, we’ll tally up our wildlife sightings, and savor the onset of post-expedition euphoria.

Day 10
Breakfast & lunch included, Distance: 5 miles, elevation gain: 800’

After breakfast at the lodge, we’ll pay a morning visit to the Lake Clark National Park visitor’s center where you’ll have a chance to purchase maps and postcards, enjoy videos and interpretive displays, and share your adventures with park staff.  We’ll spend the rest of the day hiking to Tanalian Falls, before boarding an afternoon charter flight to Anchorage.  If you are departing Alaska on this day, please schedule all homebound flights for after 9 pm.

What's Included

  • All group gear: Expedition quality tents, group tarp, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
  • Safety Equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
  • Toilet supplies including TP, trowel, and hand sanitizer
  • Water treatment options
  • Trekking poles
  • Scenic flight tour between Anchorage and Port Alsworth with the Lake Clark Resort
  • All necessary float plane flight tours
  • Lodging on the final night at the Lake Clark Resort or Wilder B&B on Lake Clark
  • Professional guide service at a maximum 4:1 client to guide ratio
  • All meals from lunch on day one through lunch on the final day of the itinerary
  • Storage for your extra travel items while in the field

Alaska Factor: The Real Deal

While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will during the camping portion of this trip. The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary. Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.” Flight times into and out of the wilderness may also vary based on any number of similar factors. Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

Location

Trip Reviews

Great trekking, great guides and great food… just a really spectacular experience from start to finish. You’ve got a repeat customer in me for sure.

The Turquoise Lake High Route in Lake Clark National Park included everything I love about Alaska–glaciers, abundant wildlife, cragged peaks and mountains — beautifully wrapped up into one spectacular adventure.  Every detail of the trip was outstanding!

Best trip I’ve ever been on! Thank you!! Amazing adventures and food.

Guys, you have an awesome outfit.

Looking for more reviews? View all trip testimonials.

Trip Photos

Trip FAQs

Have questions about this trip? We’ve got answers.

Where is Lake Clark?

Lake Clark and its surrounding 4 million-acre national park is located approximately 150 miles West-Southwest of Anchorage.

Why are so many of your trips in Lake Clark National Park?

Simply because we believe Lake Clark National Park to be the most spectacular and diverse park in Alaska. At over 4-million acres, this wilderness park has something for everyone – miles of coastline, active volcanoes, spectacular lakes, glaciers and ice fields, wild and scenic rivers, stunning mountains, and very few visitors. If you seek solitude and the perfect Alaskan landscape, Lake Clark will not disappoint.

How do you get to Lake Clark?

Access to Lake Clark National Park is solely by small aircraft or, in some instances, by boat.

Is transportation to Lake Clark included in the price of the trip?

Absolutely, our trips are all inclusive from Anchorage. The trip includes roundtrip flights from Anchorage to Port Alsworth and floatplane flights into and out of the wilderness.

Where will you meet us?

We all meet at our shop in Anchorage on the morning of Day 1 for an orientation and gear check. We’ll then transfer by van to Merrill field for the flight to Port Alsworth - the gateway community to Lake Clark National Park.

Who will I be flying with and what time will we be departing on day one?

You’ll be flying with Lake Clark Resort, located at Merrill Field. We schedule after an orientation and gear check.

Where is Merrill Field?

Merrill Field is located just east of downtown Anchorage. “Bush” flying is an adventure in and of itself and variable weather conditions may cause delays. We will try to keep you informed of any changes or delays as they occur.

Who was Dick Proenneke?

Dick Proenneke lived on Twin Lakes, in the heart of Lake Clark National Park, from 1968-1998. He resided in a small hand-hewn log cabin on the south shore of the upper lake near Hope Creek. Dick, who has been called a modern-day Thoreau, was a prolific writer and photographer. His cabin, which we visit on a number of our adventures, is a testament to his simple lifestyle and a reminder of his dedication to wilderness and conservation.

Is Lake Clark National Park a good place for viewing wildlife?

Absolutely. Lake Clark has been called ‘Alaska’s epitome’ and ‘little Denali’, though at 4 million-acres and roughly the size of Switzerland, the term ‘little’ doesn’t really apply! In addition all 5 species of Pacific salmon, the park is home to grizzly and black bears, Dall sheep, caribou, moose, wolves, and tremendous seasonal populations of migratory birds.

I'm traveling solo. Is there a single supplement charge?

Yes, there is an additional fee of $275 if you request OR end up in your own room at the lodge on the final night.

For additional information, please reach out to us.

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