Despite the amazing beauty of this area of Alaska, and the fact that the government has not reserved much of Lake Louise as park land, there were relatively few people around when we came for our first visit in the height of the summer season, 2006. The campgrounds were nearly empty and several incredible lodges offered accommodations for those wishing all the amenities. We had called in advance to reserve a boat rental to explore the lake system. We found this was not necessary since most of the people who come up to Lake Louise are Alaskans who have their own boats and either haul them via trailer or actually leave them up at the lake for the summer. We explored a walking trail along the lake that leads from Lake Louise Campground to Army Point Campground and then up to old cabins once used by army officers. The trail continued down to a peninsula that holds a public use telescope for amazing views all around the lake (N62 17.030280 W146 31.547880). Some of these telescopes require a quarter to be pushed in a slot like a video arcade game, but this one was free!
To find Lake Louise, head out of Anchorage north on the Glenn Highway (Alaska 1). Sixth Avenue in Anchorage is a one way street that becomes the Glenn Highway. After milepost 160 turn left on Lake Louise Road (N62 05.225820 W146 21.091980). Follow the road about 16.6 miles back to the Lake Louise State Recreation Area. Lake Louise Road is paved for 3.8 miles and then turns into a well maintained gravel road. Turn right at the brown and white sign marking the way to the campgrounds (N62 16.629900 W146 32.878260). There are two campgrounds here. We took a look at both the Army Point Campground and the Lake Louise Campground and found the later to be much nicer.
There are 30 campsites at Lake Louise and 38 at Army Point. We arrived on a Friday afternoon in late July. There were very few people camping so we had our pick of sites. The whole weekend we only saw about 6 or 7 other camps occupied. The campgrounds are both state owned and maintained. The costs were $15 for a campsite, $10 for use of the boat launch and $5 for day use. The campsites had toilets which were clean and well maintained, water (must be boiled), boat launches, picnic tables and fire rings. Additionally, there are picnic areas and park benches along the trail with lake views. If you do not feel like roughing it there are some great lodges with full amenities. One note of caution is that the area was once used for military purposes. There are portions of the lake where sharp objects pose dangers for swimmers. Portions are marked off and swimming is prohibited.
We rented a boat all day for $100 from the Lake Louise Lodge (N62 16.670580 W146 30.859620). The boat was about a 14 foot skiff, but looked new and well cared for. We rode across to Cliff Bay and then cut through the small channel connecting Lake Louise to Susitna Lake (N62 21.545880 W146 37.943040). The channel was full of fish of all sizes. There is no fishing allowed in the channel. We crossed all the way north and entered Tyone Lake. At the entrance to Tyone Lake there was a sign that said "Tyone Native Territory. You are entering God's country. Please do not set it on fire or it will look like hell." We ran the boat as far as we dared, using about a third of the fuel, so we would have a third to get back and a third in reserve. We turned back at the outskirts of Tyone Village (N62 30.633480 W146.41.140260). We spotted an eagle and caught the sight of a swan in flight. We enjoyed a gorgeous day exploring the lake system.
Back at camp while enjoying our meal we made a new friend. A seagull with a crazy limp came begging. He walked like he had hip replacement surgery that went horribly wrong. So we named him "Gimpy."
Our hope is that at some point in the future we can return to Lake Louise in the winter and stay at one of the lodges. It looks to be an amazing winter destination for snowmobiling and cross country skiing.
Click here to jump to a printable topographical map of Lake Louise, Lake Susitna and Tyone Lake.
Click here for contact information on Lake Louise Lodge.
Last Visited: July 2006