The best camping in
Alaska

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Camping Alaska

Alaska is the biggest state in the U.S., more than twice the size of Texas. Yet it’s the least densely populated state in America, and one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world. There’s a lot of land waiting to be explored. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out the best place to go if you’re thinking about camping in Alaska. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

Located within a short day’s drive from Anchorage, Denali National Park covers six million acres of wild, untamed land. A destination for mountaineers, explorers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts, the park is home to North America’s tallest peak, Denali—formerly Mount McKinley. The mountain alone attracts visitors from all over the world to climb its rugged peaks, ski its snowy slopes, and take in all the natural wonder camping in Alaska has to offer.

Established by Congress in 1917 as a park to conserve Dall sheep from hunting, Denali is home to all sorts of wild animals, such as wolves, bears, moose and reindeer. The park has six campgrounds but keep in mind there is no National Park Service-run lodging. But tent and RV camping are welcome.

If fishing is part of your camping experience, then the Russian River is the perfect place for you. Rated the most popular sockeye salmon stream in Alaska and one of the top-rated spots for rainbow trout, the Russian River is located on the Eastern Kenai Peninsula in the Chugach National Forest, which spans more than five million acres of raging rivers, mountains and beautiful terrain.

More than 100,000 people visit the Russian River area annually and enjoy activities such as hiking the Russian Lakes Trail, visiting the K’beq Interpretive Site—where tribe members guide visitors through interpretive walks showcasing archaeological sites, stories and culture—along with biking and boating. The campground has 83 campsites and is open from May through September.

As one of the ultimate bucket list camping destinations for campers like you, finding camping in Alaska can be overwhelming and, at times, competitive. Trust authentic campground reviews on The Dyrt to guide you through the wilderness in the 49th state.

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Recent Reviews in Alaska
Primitive but gets the job done

Stayed here on my big Alaska trip. Really not much to it, but it was a super nice place to stay. I think there was only around 15 sites or so, and they are first come first served. There were some toilets and food storage. We were just passing through but it was a great place to stay for the night. Make sure to check out the exit glacier trail not too far from there. We also took a little day cruise in Seward which was a ton of fun. I would definitely recommend something like that. This was a great stop on our trip!

small and quiet

I camped here a few years ago when I was on an Alaska trip with my grandma.  We were moving around a lot and this campground was just what we needed for one night.  We took the shuttle bus in, since that's the only way to get there, stayed for a night and then moved on. There aren't many sites in this place, maybe 10 or so but they are spread out and nice. Only tent sites with no hook ups. Be prepared because there is no drinking water here so you need to bring your own or some way to purify it. You can't make reservations, its only walk ups.  

We did one little hike while we were in the area which ended up being really nice. I would definitely recommend checking out horseshoe lake trail if you need an easy hike and want some nice views. I think it was about 2 miles without much elevation gain. 

Although we didn't stay here for very long, just passing through Denali, it was a good experience and I would recommend the campground.

Great CG for Denali NP Access

Please note that Riley Creek is under construction in 2020. Only a portion of the CG will be accessible and open for use and the sites open may be noisy due to construction. 

Great CG. Walking distance to some easy hikes. Access to the Visitor Center, Store and Bus Depot is within walking distance.

So much fun

Joe Thompson's cabin is a rustic historical cabin much like Proenneke's One Man's Wilderness cabin at Twin Lakes. It is a small log cabin with minimal windows for light so be sure and bring a lantern. The location is stunning with views of western Lake Clark. Directly behind the cabin is Portage Creek trail which takes you above tree line in less than 2 hours. This historical route was climbed daily by Joe Thompson as he mined for gold near the summit. Thompsons cabin is located on the lakeshore and a series of nearby islands provides fun exploring by kayak. This cabin can be combined with Priest Rock public cabin for a kayak tour of Lake Clark. Water taxi and kayak rentals are available from www.tulchinaadventures.com

Perfect Getaway

This spacious warm cabin has amazing views! The cabin is furnished with bunk beds and NRS sleeping mats. All beds are located in one room, but there is plenty of good tent space near the cabin if anyone felt they needed more space. Fishing is good at the cabin or at nearby Kijik River. Hiking is limited here but there is plenty to explore with kayaks. Tulchina Adventures www.tulchinaadventures.com provides water taxi services, kayak rentals and camping gear rentals in Port Alsworth.

Beautiful scenery, challenging coho fishing

Coghill has an outstanding A-frame cabin and the view from the front porch is one of the best I have seen in visits to over 20 different USFS cabins in Alaska.  The view included 3,000-4,000 ft peaks covered with glaciers, and a beautiful lagoon right in front of the cabin. The flight there and back from Anchorage was incredible, we saw hundreds of glaciers, several massive ones. The area around Coghill is very swampy, and it was very buggy when we were there in the middle of Sept., all biting black flies, no mosquitos. 

the trail that supposedly exists to the estuary is overgrown, criss-crossed with bear trails,  hard to find, and very brushy where you do find it. We wondered why nobody has placed any trail markers on the trail from the cabin to College Fiord? I realize the USFS does not have the resources to maintain or improve the trail, but if it was marked regular use would help maintain the trail somewhat. But it also seems like the vegetation grows so fast there that nature is doing its best to obliterate any trail, and the many bear trails make it hard to figure out which trail is which.

When it rains the river downstream of the cabin is too large to cross, so you become very restricted in where you can fish downstream. We brought a 2.5 HP kicker motor, so we were able to explore all of the tribs that feed into the upper end of the the lake. 

we were fishing for silvers and our group caught very few during a week.  The place is very well known for sockeye, but they run in July and we were there in Sept.  the lagoon in front of the cabin and lake had about 20 harbor seals that were on constant prowl for silvers. The harbor seals were also in the river down below the cabin. with so many seals it is hard to imagine that the silvers ever have a chance to stack up anywhere without being scattered.  The cabin log book mentions the seals being there more than 20 years back, so they just seem to be a feature of this lake/lagoon system.  

The Coghill cabin was in excellent shape when we visited, and very clean thanks to the preceding group (the “Igloo Boys”). the area around the lake is incredibly beautiful!! the stove worked well but only has one heat setting (but that was not a problem).

THE ROWBOAT IS MISSING AN OAR, and really needs a new set of oars and oar locks so that the remaining oar can serve as a back up. The Igloo Boys improvised a shovel as a replacement for the missing oar, but it is only a matter of time before somebody drops the oar/shovel to the bottom of the lake and then they will have to row their way back to the cabin with only a single oar.  If you visit this cabin make arrangements with the USFS to get a new set of oars, or bring your own.  Without oars you will be very limited in where you can get to at this cabin.

Family Awesomeness!

Although there is no no alcohol allowed this campground is just pure cool. Quiet times from 10pm to 8am, they have a dump, day use area, tons of trails, and fire rings. There are several loops to choose from with a paved RV section up top. Sherrod loop is only 30 feet but much more secluded than above but with no hookups. Pull throughs sites above with over 87 sites total including the paved and dirt road ones. 4 pavilions with a playground and dog station.

Stop Over Site

Full hookups, but the place is for sale now that it is the end of the season. Hopefully it will get bought or reopen as it is a nicely situated RV spot with a restaurant on the premises. A great stop over spot.

Gorgeous Glacier Views

Never would have thought to stop at this small but beautifully gem. Only 10 campsites total at $20 a night this place is just orgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. The fall leaves here were so beautiful. Hiking nearby gives you something do besides just sit and rejuvanate.

Long Term Gem

A bit wide open and highway noise but on lake with laundry, showers, full hookups, firewood for sale, restaurant, matanuska lake access, long term parking too. Some sites have gorgeous lake views.