Harding Lake State Recreation Area Alaska
Photo Credit: ATIA, Michael DeYoung

Harding Lake State Recreation Area

Harding Lake State Recreation Area

One of the oldest parks in the Alaska State Park system, the park features campsites, picnic areas, a boat launch, and nature trails.

Harding Lake State Recreation Area is halfway between Fairbanks and Delta Junction on the Richardson Highway in Interior Alaska. Established in 1967, the 169-acre recreation area overlooks the northwest end of Harding Lake, which is located near the confluence of the Salcha and Tanana Rivers.


The recreation area features a boat launch facility where a canal leads to the heart of Harding Lake, a popular body of water for canoes, motorized boats, jet skis, and kayaks. Anglers troll the lake for lake trout, arctic char, and burbot.

The campground has over 90 campsites, including five walk-in group campsites. The park also has numerous picnic sites and two picnic shelters. In addition, recreation areas have been set aside for activities such as baseball, volleyball, and horseshoes. Nature trails weave through the park, making hiking another prime activity for visitors to enjoy.


Harding Lake is known for its hearty fish population of both introduced and native fish. Indigenous species of fish include burbot, least cisco, and slimy sculpin. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game stocks the lake with trout, Coho salmon, sockeye salmon, rainbow trout, sheefish, and Arctic char.


Harding Lake is fed by hillside runoff, springs, permafrost, and two inlets, and is surrounded by spruce and birch forest with the alpine tundra of the Alaska Range visible on the horizon. The lake itself is massive, spanning 2.5 miles at its widest and 140 feet at its deepest.


Harding Lake State Recreation Area, 45 miles south of Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway, is one of the longest standing park facilities in the Alaska State Park system, having been established in 1967. The lake was named for Warren Harding, the 29th President of the U.S., who visited Interior Alaska shortly before his death in August of 1923.


Harding Lake has 78 RV sites and 5 walk-in sites. Additional camping space is also available on weekdays at the lakefront day-use area and up to 10 additional campsites are available at the Camp Lot camping area near the lake.

The park also has numerous picnic sites and two picnic shelters along with nature trails and designated areas for baseball, volleyball, and horseshoes.


Harding Lake is 45 miles south of Fairbanks and at Mile 321.4 of the Richardson Highway. Turn east off the highway and follow the paved road for 1.4 miles.

For more information, visit the Harding Lake State Recreation Area website.

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