Twin Lakes exudes the truest essence of Lake Clark National Park; a wilderness nirvana where the allure of living a more simple life, in tune with nature and the changing seasons, captured Mr. DIck Proenneke and will certainly captivate you. For over 30 years Dick Proenneke carved for himself a life in this wilderness, and his hand-hewn log cabin reminds us of his enduring presence. You’ll marvel at the old world resourcefulness and craftsmanship that went into the building of his backcountry home and sense the overwhelming, yet comfortable, solitude that he enjoyed.
With our inflatable kayaks providing unlimited access to the waterways, we’ll paddle and camp along the shorelines of both Upper and Lower Twin Lakes. Along the way we’ll stop to stretch our legs hiking into the valleys of Hope and Beech Creeks, climbing into Low Pass, and making a loop through the curiously named Death Valley. These day hikes offer a nice compliment to the clear water kayaking and offer amazing views of the Twin Lakes basin! As the sounds of our floatplane break the calm, we’ll ponder waving off our pilot and building our own cabin on the shore of Twin Lakes.
Recognized in 2010 as one of National Geographic’s “Tours of a Lifetime”, join us to experience Alaska’s best kayaking and hiking trip. The supreme wilderness of Twin Lakes, located in the heart of Lake Clark National Park, is a wonderland of crystalline waters set beneath a rugged rim of mountains and vast tundra expanses. It’s home to various birds of prey, moose and caribou, Dall’s sheep, black and brown bears, and the legacy of Dick Proenneke – the conservationist featured in the popular PBS documentary, Alone in the Wilderness.
This morning you’ll start the day with an orientation and gear check at our shop in Anchorage. We'll then make the transfer to Merrill Field where you'll await the flight from Anchorage 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. You'll enjoy a delicious lunch along the shores of Lake Clark with your guide team, discuss the adventure and wrap up the trip orientation. Then you’ll load into float planes and lift off into the afternoon skies bound for Lower Twin Lake; a spectacular 30 minute flight. We’ll spend 2-3 hours setting up camp at Beech Creek near the stream connecting lower and upper Twin Lakes, while we begin to absorb the solitude of this sublime wilderness. After our first delicious wilderness dinner, you’ll have the chance to relax on the sandy beach in front of camp and enjoy the magnificence of Twin Lakes.
Today we’ll hoist daypacks and head off to explore an area locally known as “Death Valley.” This fluvial filled wash is as spectacular as it is surreal, and it leads us directly into the open tundra country above the lake. We’ll approach death valley via a narrow pass with spectacular views of the mountains surrounding Twin Lakes. Your first sample of Alaska wilderness hiking will give you taste of off-trail navigation and Dick Proenneke’s favorite terrain around Twin Lakes.
After yet another great breakfast, and a thorough kayaking orientation from your guide(s), you’ll load the kayaks and begin paddling up the shores of Lower Twin. We’ll spend the day kayaking, picnicking for lunch, and enjoying the remote splendor of this special slice of Alaskan wilderness. As we head out onto the lake, we’ll scope the shores for wildlife and enjoy the dramatic and rugged mountains that surround basin. With plenty of Alaska’s summer daylight, we’ll grab a couple of energy bars and start another hike in search of more wildlife and alpine tundra. We’ll return to camp for another amazing Adventure Appetites dinner and wilderness celebration.
The early dawn will greet us with more adventure and we’ll start it all by lining our kayaks up the connecting stream. After a couple of hours of walking our boats up the creek, we’ll be kayaking the azure waters of Upper Twin Lake, where we’ll paddle toward Hope Creek and our camp for the final 2 nights. We’ll pause at Emerson Creek for a hike up to Emerson Falls. Emerson is a spectacular Alaska drainage and the waterfall was one of Dick Proenneke’s favorite places to visit. After a couple of hours exploring Emerson, we’ll jump back into the kayaks and continue toward Hope Creek. Alaska size peaks will dominate our panorama and the solitude of kayaking Upper Twin is certain to entrance the group. Camping near the mouth of Hope Creek allows a short walk to the Dick Proenneke site. After a hearty dinner, we’ll make our first visit to Proenneke’s cabin – his year-round home from 1968-98.
A visit to Twin Lakes, and Hope Creek in particular, wouldn’t be complete without a hike to Eye of the Needle – an obscure rock formation at the head of one of the many tributaries of Hope Creek. This full-day hike will take us up to the Cowgill Benches before heading into alpine tundra, where we’ll train our eyes on the crags above for glimpses Dall’s sheep. Before long we’ll traverse along a beautiful canyon as we negotiate thousand year old game trails on our way to the head of the alpine valley. With luck, the weather will cooperate and we’ll get a glimpse of the Eye of the Needle from the high point of our hike – a glacial cirque and source of the crystal clear waters of Hope Creek. The day will conclude with another great dinner and, as always, a home-baked dessert that will initiate a good night’s sleep.
After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll break down camp and prepare our gear for the float plane flight back to Port Alsworth. After the morning chores, we will take the rest of our time in the wilderness immersing ourselves in the Proenneke site and perhaps even doing a short hike to Teetering Rock – a Proenneke favorite. We hope you feel Dick’s spirit as you wander about his property, admire his craftsmanship and imagine an existence so far from our modern world. We'll await the float planes for the return flight to Port Alsworth, and will get settled into the cabins at the lodge. After hot showers and a celebratory dinner in the lodge dining room, we’ll tally up our wildlife sightings, and attempt to absorb the solace that Proenneke himself must have felt after spending 30 years at Twin Lakes.
After an amazing breakfast at the lodge, we’ll spend the day hiking to Tanalian Falls before paying an afternoon visit to the Lake Clark National Park visitor’s center, where you’ll have a chance to purchase maps and postcards, enjoy multiple interpretive displays and videos, and share your experience with park staff. You’ll then board a late afternoon charter flight back to Anchorage. If you are departing Alaska on this day, please schedule all homebound flights for after 9PM.
- All group gear: Expedition quality tents, group tarp, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
- All Kayaking Equipment: Inflatable kayaks, life jackets, paddles plus spares, repair kits, throw bags, and dry bags
- Safety Equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
- Toilet supplies including portable loo, TP, trowel, and hand sanitizer
- Large, backpack-style drybag for transporting and storing personal gear while on trip
- Water treatment options
- Trekking poles
- Round trip bush flight transportation from Anchorage to Port Alsworth
- All necessary floatplane flights
- Lodging on the final night at the Lake Clark Resort or Wilder House 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.
Outstanding…..one of the best!!!!!
It was a perfect trip. There was no way to improve it. How many trips in a lifetime does that happen? What a great company – cheers!
It was a really well organized and executed trip, I am happy I went to Alaska with you!
I am recommending your company to friends and family!
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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 usually schedule our flight from Anchorage for 11am 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.