This is a great pocket of wilderness right in Anchorage: easy to get to, quiet and pretty idyllic. Set in the northeastern section of Kincaid Park, Little Campbell Lake is packed with lily pads and surrounded by a thick forest lined with trails. Here’s how you might want to spend an afternoon here:
- Hike. The easy trail around the lake will take you about 30 minutes if you don’t stop.
- Bike. Rent a bicycle at Downtown Bike Rentals, on 4th Avenue, and pedal along the surrounding trails.
- Swim. When Alaska’s summer temperatures climb high enough that locals are ready to take a dip, and soak up vitamin D, Little Campbell Lake is a top choice. With the long swimming dock extending 50 feet into the water, a few small boats wandering across the lake, it looks more like a private summer camp than a free city park. And the sandy bottom stands in sharp contrast to most Alaskan lakes. Most people wear wetsuits, but the summer temperature is usually in the mid-60’s, so you can often get away with just a neoprene cap. That said, water temperatures can vary 5-10 degrees in a few days, given consistent sunshine or rain. If it ’s been raining for a spell you’ll want to consider a wetsuit. Life guards are not on duty. To be safe, kids should always bring a flotation device or borrow one at the dock for an added measure of safety. On Fridays (when triathlons generally happen), you might end up parking a quarter mile down the road.
- Paddle or float. You might see folks in canoes or inflatable rafts on the lake. You can get an inflatable raft at the local Wal-Mart for about $20.
- Fish from the dock. At nearby Mountain View Sports, you can buy enough tackle—pick up some wooly bugger lures for the trout you’d find here—for as little as $15. (A license is another $20, and if you want a basic rod and reel, you can get them for as little as $40 at Wal-Mart or Fred Meyer; Mountain View Sports offers more high-end gear.)
- Great photo ops. Watch for loons on the lakes (though you’ll need your telefoto to snap them). If you come in the fall, you can often see mist rising from the water.
Drive. From Kincaid Park’s Raspberry Road, follow the sign for Lake parking. The lot holds about 20 cars.
When to Go
Mostly summer, but has year-round access.
What to Bring
Fishing gear if you want to fish, or a canoe or raft if you want to paddle or float. Kids can borrow life jackets for day use.
Length of Stay