Nancy Lakes State Recreation Area
Nancy Lakes State Recreation Area is located near Willow, along the Parks Highway. It is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise, with canoeing, kayaking, bird watching and more available in the summer. In the winter, there are opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and aurora viewing.
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Nancy Lakes State Recreation Area is easy accessible along the Parks Highway (Hwy. 3). Nancy Lakes Parkway is located at Mile 67.3 Parks Highway and extends 6.5 miles to South Rolly Lake. In 2019, the South Rolly Lake Campground is closed to the public due to unsafe conditions from spruce bark beetle killed trees. Along Nancy Lake Parkway, there are access points for various lakes. In the winter, the road is plowed and maintained for only the first 2.2 miles.
The Nancy Lake system is a series of inter-connected lakes. Some of the larger lakes include Nancy Lake, Red Shirt Lake, Lynx Lake, Bald Lake and James Lake. Smaller lakes are scattered throughout the nearly 23,000 acre park. If you don't have a canoe, they can be rented by a private company located at Mile 6.5 Nancy Lake Parkway.
One of Nancy Lake State Recreation Area's biggest attractions is the Lynx Lake Canoe Trail, which travels through an eight-mile chain of lakes. The lakes are connected, so easy portages are available for canoeists and kayakers. Portages are marked with orange signage with a "P" for easy access. The system begins at Mile 4.5 of the Nancy Lakes Parkway road. The system is small enough to be completed in a full day, but consider renting a public-use cabin and making it a weekend excursion.
There are 13 rustic cabins on the shores of Nancy, Lynx, James, Bald, and Red Shirt lakes, which are available for rent by the public. Cabins can be rented up to six months in advance, so it's good to plan ahead. Several cabins can be accessed by hiking in to them on Nancy Lake. Others are only accessible by boat in the summer or snowshoes, skis or snowmobile in the winter. All cabins are equipped with basic amenities such as a heating stove, wooden bunks and a latrine. Visit www.alaskastateparks.org for reservations, locations, and availability of cabins.