Backpacking, hiking, rafting/kayaking, wildlife viewing, mountaineering and fishing are the primary activities in the Jay S. Hammond Wilderness.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve has two distinct climate areas: the damp coast and the drier interior. The coast is often foggy and wet, with an average annual rainfall of 40 to 80 inches. The interior averages only 17 to 26 inches. The same weather systems that bring precipitation to the coast also bring milder winters; the interior often suffers temperatures as low as -40 degrees F.
Visitors to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve might bask in warm, gentle sunshine, be pummeled by fierce storms, or get soaked by rain. Weather conditions can change rapidly, and the mountainous terrain channels fierce winds. Gusts in the 30-50 mph range are not uncommon.
Frost and snow can occur any time, but are most common from September to early June. Lake Clark typically begins freezing in November and melts in April. Ice conditions dictate whether planes on floats or skis can land.
In general, visitors should be prepared to experience a number of different weather conditions during their stay within the Jay S. Hammond Wilderness. Sturdy raingear and appropriate footwear are a must, and smart travelers make sure to layer clothing.
Safety and Current Conditions
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is a wilderness park, exceptionally remote and isolated. For any wilderness trip, we caution that visitors and hikers must be knowledgeable and prepared. Adventures in the park demand self-sufficiency and advanced backcountry skills. Help, if any, may be days away.
Be prepared for the possibility of inclement weather delaying scheduled pick-up, often by several days. Bring extra food and fuel with you.
Learn safe practices to avoid dangerous encounters with wildlife. Animals in the park are not tame, even those that seem "harmless" like porcupines or moose. Resist the temptation to approach or try to feed them.
Always filter or boil your water. Waterborne contaminants such as giardia and cryptosporidium are present.
Snow is possible at any time but most likely to occur from September to June. Bring warm clothing, a sturdy tent, and an appropriate sleeping bag.
Ask in advance about river crossings and other details of your route.
Please consider leaving your itinerary with us at our field headquarters at Port Alsworth before departing into the backcountry, as well as with a friend or family member who can notify us if you are overdue.
If you have additional questions, contact the field headquarters in Port Alsworth at (907) 781-2218.