Join Alaska Alpine Adventures on our signature guided 7-day backpacking trip through the heart and soul of Lake Clark National Park! After an incredible bush flight from Anchorage to Port Alsworth, we’ll load up the Cessna floatplane and take-off north into the heart of this little known national park. Arriving at Turquoise Lake, we will be greeted by one of the most spectacular views Alaska has to offer. We will stand in awe as 6000′ of vertical relief towers above and to the east of our first camp; to the west, endless sweeps of tundra will beckon the hiker inside all of us.
Turquoise Lake, nestled beneath the Alaska Range, offers some of the best hiking, wildlife viewing, and bird watching in Lake Clark National Park and remains one of our favorite places in Alaska to backpack and explore. We’ll spend the first couple of days hiking near Turquoise Lake exploring the powerful remnants of the massive glaciers that once filled this remote canyon. Whether standing beneath 2000′ waterfalls, witnessing hanging glaciers, or listening to the raw wilderness being shaped all around us, you will be mystified by sense of scale and grandeur of this special part of Alaska.
We’ll then load our backpacks and begin the move toward Twin Lakes. For the next 3 days we’ll camp high in the alpine tundra adjacent to small clear streams and in valleys inhabited by wildlife. Perhaps your fondest memories will be the tantalizing solitude, or maybe the “sheep lick” where we’ll likely to see ewes and lambs frolicking on steep cliffs. It’s possible that seeing Dick Proenneke’s cabin on upper Twin Lakes is at the top of your list. Regardless, you’ll enjoy some of Alaska’s most incredible hiking and stupendous views of Turquoise & Twin Lakes, the Chilikadrotna River, and the rugged collision of the Aleutian and Alaska mountain ranges. Since 1999, we’ve been guiding this trip and we still believe it to be one of the great 7-day backpacking itineraries in Alaska.
This morning you’ll start the day with an orientation and gear check at our shop in Anchorage prior to the flight to Port Alsworth. 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. With your guide team, you'll enjoy a delicious lunch along the shores of Lake Clark, discuss the adventure and wrap up the trip orientation. We’ll then load into float planes and lift off into the afternoon skies bound for Turquoise Lake. This 30 minute flight will take us over the 50-mile long Lake Clark, across the spectacular mountains of the Aleutian Range, and into the heart of the national park. We’ll make camp on the shore of Turquoise Lake, and stand in awe of the azure water and surrounding peaks.
After leaving the comfort of your sleeping bag, you’ll sip coffee as your guide prepares a sumptuous breakfast that is sure to fuel you for the adventure ahead. We’ll strike out for a day of hiking in the grand canyon of Lake Clark National Park. If weather and river conditions allow, our goal today will be the Turquoise Glacier, a 6-mile hike up-valley. Otherwise, your guide will lead you up into one of the incredible side valleys that feed the Turquoise watershed. As you marvel at the 5000’ walls of the canyon and the waterfalls cascading from distant summits, you’ll be left speechless by the surrounding majesty.
Today we’ll break camp and head west into the high country. You’ll quickly get accustomed to the off-trail backpacking in remote Alaska. Out here, the only trails are made by animals! Our destination for the night will be a cluster of alpine tarns nestled beneath jagged peaks with breathtaking views of the Turquoise Lake basin.
We’ll pack up camp on the third day, hoist our packs, and begin the trek to Sheep Lick Valley; our home for the next two nights. We’ll trade the wide-open expanses of the Turquoise Lake drainage for the intimacy of our river camp, nestled in a glacially carved valley below the sheep lick. While the hike to the Sheep Lick Valley is strenuous and includes a climb of 1500’, the hiking itself is on a carpet of open and dry tundra. Glacier erratics litter the landscape and views of the surrounding mountains are simply astounding. By the end of the day, you’ll be accustomed to real Alaska backpacking and comfortable hiking and exploring this incredible wilderness region of Lake Clark National Park.
Today will be dedicated to exploration! Stripping our packs down to carry only the day’s essentials, we’ll look to the surrounding peaks for inspiration and head out on another long hike that’s bound to leave us in awe of Alaska’s sublime beauty.
After another great breakfast, we’ll again hoist our loaded packs and begin the ascent out of the Sheep Lick Valley. We will be rewarded for the efforts of our climb with spectacular views of Twin Lakes and the Chilikadrotna River, an aquatic highway stretching to Bristol Bay. We’ll descend out of the high country and through the boreal forest to the north of lower Twin. Once on the shores of Twin Lakes, we’ll pack up our gear, and await the arrival of our floatplane. If weather and lake conditions permit, we’ll make the quick flight to Dick Proenneke’s cabin at Hope Creek. We’ll then spend 1-hour on the ground at world famous Proenneke site where you’ll have the chance to truly experience the legacy of one of Alaska’s most respected wilderness legends. We’ll return to Port Alsworth on Lake Clark by early evening, where you’ll check into the lodge. After hot showers and a celebratory dinner in the lodge dining room, we’ll tally up our wildlife sightings, and begin to absorb a powerful sense of accomplishment.
After a hearty 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 interpretive displays and short films of the area, and share your trip with park staff. We’ll spend the rest of the day hiking to Tanalian Falls, before boarding an afternoon charter flight back to Anchorage. If you are departing Alaska on this day, please schedule all homebound flights for after 9 pm.
- 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
- Round trip bush flight transportation from Anchorage to Port Alsworth
- All internal bush flights necessary for the trip
- 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.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. If anything, I would have planned for a longer stay! Thanks to all of you who made it easy for me to enjoy the Alaskan wild! The trip exceeded all of my over the top expectations!
Organization and logistics were all great. This seems like a great company. Meals were wonderful and surprising. I don’t think I eat such great food on a daily basis, let alone whenever I am backpacking.
The trip was excellent in every way possible. I had every confidence in the guides. They were friendly, generous and knowledgeable. The food was the best I have had on a backpacking trip!
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Have questions about this trip? We’ve got answers.
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 icefields, wild and scenic rivers, stunning mountains, and very few visitors. If you seek solitude and the perfect Alaskan landscape, Lake Clark will not disappoint.
Lake Clark and its surrounding 4 million-acre national park is located approximately 150 miles West-Southwest of Anchorage.
Access to Lake Clark National Park is solely by small aircraft or, in some instances, by boat.
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.
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.
You’ll be flying with Lake Clark Resort, located at Merrill Field. We schedule flights after an orientation and gear check.
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.
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.
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.
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.