Summit Lake State Recreation Site
Just two miles past the turnoff to Independence Mine State Historic Park along Hatcher Pass Road is one of Alaska's most beautiful state recreation sites. Summit Lake State Recreation Site is a 360-acre park that includes its namesake lake and 3,886-feet-high Hatcher Pass Summit. Summit Lake is a small cirque lake, or tarn, the result of a long-gone alpine glacier that was also responsible for carving the surrounding terrain. A trail circles around the lake and along the bluff above and west of the lake. The bluff offers a spectacular viewpoint of the Willow Creek Drainage, the Susitna Valley, and the western arc of the Alaska Range. From the bluff, hikers can see "Nixon's Nose," a popular launch site for paragliders in the summer who ride the updrafts for several hours on a good day. To the east of Summit Lake is April Bowl, a very small valley with a tarn and several small ponds. In the winter the valley is a popular destination for backcountry skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. The park is also open to snowmobiles when snow depth allows.