Bear in Alaska waters in front of mountain

This Vast US National Park Is A Barely-Visited Gem

By Hillary Louise Johnson


Although it's just 100 miles south of Anchorage, Alaska, you can only get to Lake Clark's 4 million acres of wilderness by plane. Just over 18,000 people visited the park in 2021.
As a major salmon-run headwater, Lake Clark attracts hungry brown bears during the June-August spawning season. A bear-viewing tour to Lake Clark is a bucket list adventure.
This isn't easy to do, as the park has no stores and few campgrounds. Your best option is to book an all-inclusive bear-watching trip that includes airfare, guides, and lodging.
The backpacking routes in Lake Clark don't follow a trail. You'll need expert backcountry skills to trek them, and help might take days to reach you, so a guide is recommended.
Those who don't come just to see the bears often come to see the log cabin built by Richard Proenneke and discussed in his 1973 memoir, "One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey."