The Nancy Lakes State Recreation Area is one of the crown jewels of the Alaska State Parks system and offers visitors a multitude of outdoor recreation opportunities, from canoeing and kayaking to fishing, birding, wildlife viewing and hiking.

The area is located off the Parks Highway (Hwy. 3) near Willow. There are a series of lakes within the park, and several "canoe trails" have been established to allow park users to explore the region. There are canoes available for rent as well.

To get there, take Nancy Lake Parkway at Mile 67 of the Parks Highway. The road continues to South Rolly Lake Campground, which is a great place to pitch a tent or park an RV. From there, you can begin your canoe adventure via the Lynx Lake Loop Canoe Trail or the Little Susitna Connector Canoe Trail. Portages are well marked. For hikers, it's a 3-mile hike to Red Shirt Lake from the parking area.

Many of the lakes offer great fishing for trout, landlocked salmon and northern pike. Additionally, there are 13 public-use cabins located throughout the park on various lakes - some with easy hiking access, others only accessible via canoe. You can rent them up to seven months in advance - they are very popular, so plan well ahead when renting them. You can find the reservation system HERE. The cabins are insulated and have bunks, counters and a wood stove inside them, although renters have to bring their own personal gear along with firewood.

Don't just explore Nancy Lake State Recreation Area in the summer - it's also a bustling winter recreation site as well. Nancy Lake Parkway is plowed in the winter only for the first 2.2 miles, until the first parking lot. From there, you can snowmobile, cross-country ski, snowshoe or fat-tire bike the park's elaborate trail system. It's also a very popular region for ice fishing.