Ice Skating at Nancy Lake State Recreation Area

A premier paddling destination in summer, the eight-mile loop canoe trail through 14 lakes can be skated after freeze-up and before significant snowfall. People often cruise the entire route in one long day, or skate out a few lakes and return. Be prepared to hike portages up to a half-mile between lakes.

Once more than two or three inches of snow accumulates, the lakes might not be skatable. A lot depends upon the texture and density of the snow cover as well as the underlying condition of the ice surface. If necessary, you can check out the situation via the winter trailhead at Mile 2.2 with a half-mile tramp to Bald Lake.

It’s always a good idea to bring along alternative gear like skis, snowshoes or snow bikes when making a long trip to a skating venue. After all, too much snow for skating might make for excellent skiing!

Photo: Tammy Thiele

Getting There

Mile 4.5 Nancy Lakes Parkway
Willow, AK 99688

Drive to Mile 67.5 of the Parks Highway in Willow, then head 4.5 miles west on the Nancy Lakes Parkway to the Tanaina Lake trailhead. If winter conditions have closed the road, you will need to park at the winter trailhead at Mile 2.2. An alternative would be to try skating on Nancy Lake itself. Park at the summer canoe access at Mile 1.6 and walk a short distance to the lake.

Driving Directions