Chena Lake Recreation Area

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Chena Lake has two distinct personalities: The Lake Park and The River Park. The two parks were created at the same time an earthfill dam was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in response to devastating Chena River floods in 1967. The dam is 7.1 miles long and controls nearly 1,500 miles of watershed that would otherwise freely flow into Fairbanks.

Lake Park, with the 260-acre Chena Lake, includes:

  • A campground with 45 campsites, including 11 pull-throughs
  • Two covered pavilions, that may be rented by the hour
  • Two designated swimming areas with beautiful sandy beaches
  • A boat rental facility that rents paddle boats, row boats, canoes and kayaks
  • Two fishing docks (one handicap accessible)
  • A boat launch
  • Multiple, day-use picnic sites with tables and fire rings
  • Two changing rooms/warm up buildings
  • A playground
  • Three volleyball courts
  • One horseshoe pit
  • Potable water stations
  • Restrooms

The River Park, along four miles of the Chena River, includes:

  • A campground with 35 campsites, including 10 pull-throughs
  • One covered picnic pavilion, that may be rented by the hour
  • A 4.5 kilometer self-guided nature trail
  • Multiple, day-use picnic sites with tables and fire rings
  • One changing room/warm up building
  • One volleyball court
  • One horseshoe pit
  • A boat launch
  • Potable water stations
  • Restrooms

For avid fisherfolk, you will enjoy plying waters of the Chena River for its remote setting and for its Arctic Grayling, Northern Pike, Whitefish, Burbot, and an annual run of King Salmon.

Camping is a popular activity at Chena Lake Recreation Area. All campsites are first-come-first-served, and camping is limited to five consecutive nights or 10 nights within a 30-day period. For the visitors seeking a more remote camping opportunity, the Chena Lake island has six tent sites with boat access only. (Campers, remember: you are in Alaska—bear country. It’s a bit deceiving with Chena Lake being located so close to a well-populated community like North Pole, but Chena Lake is at the edge of the Alaskan wilderness and bear activity is always a possibility.

During the winter months, Chena Lake Recreation Area is still a favorite destination for locals. The lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout, Silver Salmon, and Arctic Char, and the park rents three ice-fishing houses by the day. Your ice house rental comes with a bundle of firewood for the woodstove, but pre-drilled ice holes. (They couldn’t make it any easier. Or, more fun…) The Chena Lake park staff also grooms classical cross-country ski trails with 2, 4.5, and 7 km loops, and they maintain a multi-use trail with a 3.8, 5.5, 6.5, 9.5, and 12 mile loops for snowmachiners, skate skiers, skijors, dog mushers, walkers, and runners. For outdoor enthusiasts, Chena Lake is a winter wonderland.

Admission/Fees:

General access to all regions of Chena Lake Recreation Area:

  • Day use is free

Picnic Pavilions:

  • $30 for up to 4 hours
  • $50 for more than 4 hours

Camping:

  • Tents: $15 per night
  • Campers: $20 per night

Ice House Rentals (winter only): $30 per day

Firewood Bundles: $5

Boat Rental fees vary. Please visit the park’s webpage for details.

Hours:

Chena Lake is open year-round for recreational use.
Summer, Day-Use:

  • The park is open 24/7 from Memorial Day through Labor Day
  • The lake beaches and day-use areas are closed from 10pm – 6am
  • Quiet hours are from 10pm – 6am

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 64.733793
Longitude: -147.259693

Photos

Chena Lake Recreation Area

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