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Byers Lake – Denali State Park Alaska
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Overview
Location

147 miles north of Anchorage

Sights

Byers Lake, Denali, wildlife

Parking Lot Elevation

792 ft

Summit Elevation

varies

Pets

Allowed on leash

Fees

$5 entrance fee
$15 per campsite
$10 dump station

Water Info

Byers lake is about 1 1/2 mile in length and about 1/2 mile wide

Best Season

Summer, fall

Hours

Open year round

Sun Exposure

Lots of trees

Trail Condition

There are some well trodden trails

Restrooms

Yes, in camp ground

Camping

73 campsites
$15 per night

Food

Bring meals and food as needed

Equipment

Camping gear, backpacks, food, water, hat, sunglasses, canoe or small boat, fishing gear

GPS Coordinates:

Byers Lake:62.73955, -150.11838
Beeman’s Cabin:62.74502, -150.11292

Trail Map


Driving Directions


The Trail:

Please be careful of bears and moose in the area.

I have driven by Byers Lake many times over the past 8 summers working in Alaska but I have never stopped for more than a few minutes on a break until now.  The lake is about one mile in length and provides many opportunities for camping, canoeing, hiking and fishing.  The lake is very tranquil and to keep with that, the Alaska DNR does not permit boats with gasoline powered motors or even aircraft on this lake.

It cost us $5 to park and explore the area and it was a self-serve type fee station.

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

Fishing on Byers Lake

Byers Lake offers fishing for Burbot, Lake Trout and Rainbow Trout.  I’ve talked to people who have fished here and even caught (then released) Salmon – you aren’t allowed to fish for Salmon though.

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake has an incredible vantage point of Denali and other giant mountains near it.  To see Denali from the lake you will of course need be present on a clear day.  On the day I visited, it was just about completely overcast and we didn’t get a chance to see Denali.

Byers Lake - Alaska

There is a small boat dock and ramp where you can bring your boat down.  There is a company nearby that operates seasonally and provides boats for you to rent.  If you forget your life jacket the DNR provided a few that you should use for you and your family.

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake Trails

We quite enjoyed our short hike along the western shore of the lake

We quite enjoyed our short hike along the western shore of the lake

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

There are several trails in the area, one of which circles the lake.  I didn’t have too much time to hike around the whole lake or to try the other long trails but I got a sense that this area was popular for hiking as we saw several cars pull up full of hikers getting ready for a long trek.  I would love to come back and try some of the longer trails one day.

I did however have time to hike to an old trapper’s cabin called Beeman’s Cabin.  I’ll post more about this below.

Ermine Hill Trail:

  • 3.7 miles

K’esugi Ridge Trail:

  • 11.2 miles

Cascade Trail:

  • 2 miles

Byers Lake Trail:

  • 5.3 miles

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

Beeman’s Cabin

Beeman's Cabin

Beeman’s Cabin

This cabin was built back in 1959 and it sits on top of a very small hill near the boat ramp.  It was built by Edward Beeman and he and his wife lived here for some time.  For many years after the cabin was built the only way to access this cabin was to hike 9 miles from the railroad or by a plane.

The cabin is not in use any more but you can clearly see it is has long been forgotten.  It almost appears that it has sunken in to the ground, slowly disappearing into the forest.

The cabin is really cool to see.  Most of the windows have been removed so you can still see inside and imagine living on this lake more than 50+ years ago.  The cabin is in severe disrepair and there is a sign stating to not enter it – great advice since you never know when this thing will collapse!  But you can glimpse inside and still see tables, bunk beds and other artifacts.  Please be respectful and not not enter or take anything from the cabin.

Looking inside the cabin

Looking inside the cabin

Byers Lake - Alaska

Inside Beeman's Cabin

Inside Beeman’s Cabin

Byers Lake - Alaska

Beeman's Cabin. You can see the trees growing on top of it

Beeman’s Cabin. You can see the trees growing on top of it

Here is the entrance to the cabin

Here is the entrance to the cabin

Camping at Byers Lake

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

There are 73 campsites and the current price is $15 per site per night with a 15 day camping limit as of July 2016.  There are ADA facilities and even toilets, water and a dump site too which costs $10.  You could park your RV in the campsites but there is a size limit of 35′ or smaller.  The campsites looked pretty comfortable with lots of trees and bushes and a fire ring – fires outside of the ring are not permitted.

We found a mama moose and her new calf wandering around and there was a recent bear sighting in the camping area too so always be careful of your surroundings.

The DNR has built three cabins for $70 per night which you can reserve online.  I didn’t have time to check out the cabins but they look comfy and last time I checked were booked solid, except for a few sporadic days, for 3 months.

For current prices please click here.

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

Byers Lake - Alaska

Personal Thoughts:

Byers Lake was a beautiful place to see.  It was very peaceful and my family and I really enjoyed hiking along the lake’s shoreline for the limited time we had there.  I really want to come back and hike the longer trails.

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Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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