At the end of the Alaska Highway, Delta Junction’s State Parks bring nature and history together
The Alaska Highway officially ends at the town of Delta Junction, home to five state recreation areas and sites: Quartz Lake State Recreation Area, Fielding Lake State Recreation Area, Delta State Recreation Site, Donnelly Creek State Recreation Site and Clearwater State Recreation Site.
As you come to the end of the Alaska Highway, you reach a wilderness area that covers a wide expanse of boreal forests, braided river bottoms, high country tundra and mountainous backdrop. Visitors to the Delta Junction area love this region for its peacefulness, excellent fishing opportunities, variety of wildlife and breathtaking views.
The town of Delta Junction has been referred to as "Buffalo Center". In 1928 twenty-three bison were transplanted from the National Bison Range in Montana to what is now the Delta Junction area. The free ranging bison herd now numbers about 375.
Delta Junction also offers travelers amazing views of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Both north and south of Delta on the Richardson Highway, there are excellent photo opportunities of the pipeline. There are also informational displays for visitors to read about this great industrial achievement.
The Delta Junction Area State Parks hold many opportunities for visitors and townspeople alike. Not only are there beautiful lakes, excellent wildlife viewing, great fishing, various hiking trails, and a wonderful historical park, the Delta Junction Area itself has much to offer. All of them are an hour's drive or less from Delta Junction and offer a variety of recreation opportunities ranging from camping and sport fishing to wildlife viewing, canoeing and hiking.
The Clearwater State Recreation Site features a campground overlooking the Delta Clearwater River, the largest spring-fed tributary of the Tanana River. From the campground, the Delta Clearwater River is a popular float trip that offers fishing for Arctic grayling, whitefish and salmon. A boardwalk located along the river behind the campsites allows visitors to view sandhill cranes, swans, geese and other migratory birds in the spring or fall.
Located right in Delta Junction is Delta State Recreation Site, a popular campground for those traveling between Tok and Fairbanks. The Delta River is directly across the Richardson Highway, along with spectacular views of Mount Hayes and the rest of the Alaska Range.
The Donnelly Creek State Recreation Site is home to an array of wildlife, including moose, bears, porcupine, beavers and snowshoe hares. Occasionally, caribou are sighted browsing in the area while the Delta bison herd is often seen across the Delta River on its summer calving grounds.
Sixty miles south of Delta Junction off the Richardson Highway is Fielding Lake State Recreation Site, a scenic campground above tree line in the Alaska Range at an elevation of 2,973 feet. Because of the elevation, ice sometimes remains on the lake until July. Fielding Lake offers fishing opportunities for Arctic grayling, lake trout and burbot.
Bordering two lakes 10 miles north of Delta Junction is Quartz Lake State Recreation Area, offering a wide range of facilities around two lakes. Five hiking trails, all of which are less than two miles in total length, provide access to views of the Tanana River Valley, Alaska Range, Shaw Creek Flats, Quartz and Lost lakes and Moose Pond. Quartz Lake also has two public-use cabins available and four ice huts anglers can rent in the winter for ice fishing. Other popular activities include snowmobiling, dog mushing and skijoring.
Clearwater State Recreation Site, 10 miles east of Delta Junction, is a beautiful little campground with 17 campsites, a picnic area, water, toilets and boat launch.
The Delta State Recreation Site is a small, seven-acre recreation area has 25 developed campsites, a picnic area, a covered picnic shelter, water and toilets. It’s close to stores, commercial showers and other tourism services. A city airstrip next to the campground allows for fly-in camping.
Donnelly Creek State Recreation Site is 32 miles south of Delta Junction along the braided Delta River. The scenic recreation area has 12 campsites, toilets and water along with outstanding views of the Alaska Range.
Fielding Lake State Recreation Site is a rustic campground with 17 campsites and toilets; a nearby public-use cabin can be reserved in advance. There is also a boat launch.
Quartz Lake State Recreation Area offers 16 campsites in the loop and 87 parking and camping sites in the parking lot development. Other facilities include two boat launches, a handicap accessible fishing dock, picnic sites, a picnic shelter, a swimming area, a beach volleyball court, water and toilets. The second lake, Lost Lake, has another 12 campsites, a handicap accessible fishing dock, a picnic area, water and toilets.
There are nightly fees for camping at all five recreation areas as well as a daily parking fee at Quartz Lake State Recreation Area. There is also a boat launch fee at Quartz Lake State Recreation Area and Clearwater State Recreation Site and the public-use cabins and ice huts which can be reserved online through the parks reservation system.
All five recreation areas are accessible by road from Delta Junction. Clearwater State Recreation Site is reached by turning onto Clearwater Road at Mile 1415 of the Alaska Highway and driving 8.5 miles, or by turning onto Jack Warren Road at Mile 268 of the Richardson Highway and driving 11 miles.
Delta State Recreation Site is at Mile 267 of the Richardson Highway. Donnelly Creek State Recreation Site is 32 miles south of Delta Junction at Mile 238. Fielding Lake State Recreation Site is two miles west of the Richardson Highway at Mile 200.5. Quartz Lake State Recreation Area is 10 miles north of Delta Junction and is reached via a three-mile road at Mile 277.8 of the Richardson Highway.
For more information contact the Northern Area Office of Alaska State Parks (907-451-2695; www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/deltajct/index.htm) in Fairbanks.