Photo Credit: Nancy Lake Cabin #4

Guide to Nancy Lake Area Public Use Cabins

For lakeside adventures of all kinds — with canoe trails, pike fishing and wildlife viewing nearby — try this 22,500-acre multi-use park outside Willow, featuring 131 lakes and a network of trails. Its 13 public use cabins range from places that offer motorboat access, to vehicle parking, to true wilderness refuges reachable only by canoe or ski trail. Winter creates a snow-sport mecca for cabin users too — skiing, Nordic skating, snow biking and snowmobiling.

Family And Child-friendly Cabins

For a breeze-to-supply overnight that still delivers on the promise of a wilderness setting, visit Bald Lake Cabin, situated on its own secluded lake. Only a half-mile walk down a gently sloping trail from parking, the Bald Lake sleeps six in a true log cabin with a covered front porch. The lake is perfect for kids taking their first paddles, and the landing has a solid bottom for an afternoon swim.

Other outstanding destinations ideal for families with small children: Nancy Lake Cabin #1, Nancy Lake Cabin #2, Nancy Lake Cabin #3, and especially Nancy Lake Cabin #4 with its giant front porch, floating dock and bunks for eight.

Canoe Trail Trekking

If you want to travel paddle-in-hand like an old-time Voyager — possibly moving cabin-to-cabin on a multi-day trek — the Lynx Lake Canoe Trail offers access to four different PUCs over an eight-mile loop that crosses 14 lakes. Lynx Lake Cabin #1, Lynx Lake Cabin #2 and Lynx Lake Cabin #3 are on Lynx Lake, about half way through the trip, all offering great pike fishing and miles of paddling. But the jewel of the trip may be James Lake Cabin, a handsome log cabin that sleeps six, deep in the park on an open hillside beneath huge birch trees. As you enjoy an amazing view of an empty lake, loons cry, beavers splash, and the wind rustles the leaves. You can spend days there and see no other parties.

Stay At A Lake With A History — And Big Pike

The salmon runs into immense Red Shirt Lake once drew Dena’ina Natives to spend summers in fish camps along its shores. Now known for big Northern pike, the 1,183-acre lake remains a gathering place, with dozen of private homes and four popular public use cabins - Red Shirt Lake Cabin #1, Red Shirt Lake Cabin #2, Red Shirt Lake Cabin #3, and Red Shirt Lake Cabin #4. It’s an adventure to reach these cabins. In summer, most people hike a three-mile trail and then canoe across the lake. (The winter trail is about seven miles and opens only after freeze up.) For the best of everything — fishing, boating, lake views, great fishing — try Red Shirt Lake Cabin #3. Perched on an island in the middle of the lake, the cabin sleeps eight and faces southwest with a good beach and a long view. You’ll never run out of things to do.

Planes, Boats and Canoes

It’s not always about wilderness. For those who seek action with reasonable access, four public use cabins on Nancy Lake offer families and adventurers a chance to experience one of Alaska’s most popular recreation lakes while over-nighting in one of its more quiet corners. Perched on a point between a no-wake cove and the busy main lake, Nancy Lake Cabin #1 offers the best of all worlds in a new log cabin that sleeps six only a short walk or paddle from parking. Great for kids and active groups, the cabin can be a base for canoeing, swimming, fishing and motorboating. Winter trails lead from its doorstep deep into the park and all around the lake.

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On the shore in the qui­et cor­ner of a busy lake, Nan­cy Lake 1 may be one of the most ver­sa­tile pub­lic use cab­ins in Alas­ka. One minute you’re in deep woods beneath a tow­er­ing canopy, and then, like step­ping through the look­ing glass, you descend a hill to find a sto­ry­book log cab­in with a panoram­ic view of boat­ing and fish­ing, or ski­ing and snowmobiling.

A place for peo­ple who want to expe­ri­ence the seren­i­ty of deep woods but main­tain the option of boat­ing or ski­ing on a 761-acre water play­ground with plen­ty of action. Sit­u­at­ed on a hill­side beneath a mature stand of spruce and birch, this new log cab­in is the most iso­lat­ed PUC near Nan­cy Lake proper.

If you want a con­ve­nient no-frills out­post close to your boat or air­plane — and just off the win­ter trail — Nan­cy Lake Cab­in 3 will fit the bill. What this well-used, old-style pub­lic use cab­in lacks in ameni­ties or archi­tec­tur­al won­der may be com­pen­sat­ed by its sim­plic­i­ty and ease of heat­ing on frigid win­ter nights. Cozy is the word — a warm, dry refuge after a long day outside.

Cab­in” may be the wrong word for this sprawl­ing, com­fort­able cot­tage front­ed by an ample float­ing dock ready for all kinds of lake fun. With a cov­ered front porch large enough to keep an extend­ed fam­i­ly reunion dry dur­ing a late sum­mer down­pour, this facil­i­ty is real­ly a one-room house, near­ly 600 square feet of liv­ing space com­pete with a semi-pri­vate sleep­ing bay, a clos­et, plus gobs of room to cook, lounge and play.

This hand­some, well-sea­soned log cab­in is the post­card for your pub­lic use cab­in dreams. If they filmed Alas­ka Pub­lic Use Cab­ins — The Movie,” the pro­duc­ers would have a hard time find­ing a bet­ter place than James Lake for the setting.

Cen­tered on a park-like island with wind­ing trails through the brush, Red Shirt Lake Cab­in 1 is a big cab­in that’s an easy pad­dle from the launch point at end of the three-mile Red Shirt Lake Trail. From its sprawl­ing front porch, you can glimpse water on two sides, but no major vis­tas. Sit­u­at­ed in the mouth of the lake’s pro­tect­ed north­west­ern lobe, the cab­in is a great launch point for explo­ration by canoe when the main lake becomes windy and  ...more

Red Shirt Cab­in 3 cel­e­brates the ancient spir­it of Red Shirt Lake as a gath­er­ing place. The lake once fea­tured large salmon runs and sum­mer camps for Dena’ina Native groups, and still hosts pri­vate cab­ins on its south­ern half. The cab­in may be per­fect for large par­ties in quest of lake action, a plat­form for those who want stren­u­ous days of pad­dling, fish­ing, swim­ming, and motor­ing fol­lowed by rous­ing evening campfires.

Locat­ed on an isth­mus between a shel­tered cove and the main body of a vast back­coun­try lake, Red Shirt Lake Cab­in 2 offers a basic, easy-to-heat base for explor­ing 1,186-acre Red Shirt Lake regard­less of weath­er. It gives a small par­ty no-fuss access to water, fuel and ski trails — a cozy space to relax when the day is done and the light begins its dying slant.

Ide­al for those pad­dling, boat­ing, fish­ing, hik­ing as well as those look­ing for seclu­sion away from the lake’s more pop­u­lar routes for ski­ing and snow­mo­bil­ing. The cab­in faces the sun­set and may be the per­fect locale to string a ham­mock for long sum­mer after­noons lis­ten­ing to for­est birds.

Bald Lake Cab­in is a great choice for peo­ple who want to stay at an Alas­ka wilder­ness cab­in on a pris­tine lake, but don’t want to trav­el far to get there. On the hill­side over­look­ing iso­lat­ed Bald Lake, the cab­in offers seclu­sion and pri­va­cy only a short walk from your vehi­cle. It’s a best of both worlds” kind of place — where you can spend the day explor­ing a vir­tu­al­ly pri­vate lake with inter­est­ing bays, or quick­ly dash back to your vehi­cle to  ...more

Have you ever want­ed to spend time in a trapper’s shack deep in the Alas­ka Bush? A place where you might see the out­line of a loon’s head against slate water with Denali gleam­ing above the trees and no oth­er move­ment? Nes­tled on a penin­su­la on a lake deep inside the Nan­cy Lake State Recre­ation Area, Lynx Lake Cab­in 1 is pri­vate, snug and cozy. An ear­ly-to-bed, ear­ly-to-rise retreat with a weath­ered, lived-in vibe.

These two almost iden­ti­cal cab­ins (only 200 feet apart) are aimed toward adven­tur­ers and fam­i­lies who want to include both pad­dling and hik­ing in their dai­ly adven­tures. They offer direct access to two lakes as well as the park’s trail sys­tem. Though rel­a­tive­ly close, each cab­in is col­ored by a slight­ly dif­fer­ent atmos­phere. Lynx 2’s porch faces the sun­set, with good after­noon sun and a view of Lynx Lake. It feels open, more exposed. Lynx 3  ...more

Rhein Lake Cab­in over­looks a large, pris­tine lake with great pad­dling and decent fish­ing for rain­bow trout in the for­est of Nan­cy Lake State Recre­ation Area near Wil­low. This hand­some (brand-new in 2018) log cab­in offers some­thing spe­cial in a vast park known for its back­coun­try outposts