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“A little disappointing . . .”
Review of Byers Lake

Byers Lake
Ranked #11 of 35 things to do in Talkeetna
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
San Francisco, California
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“A little disappointing . . .”
Reviewed 28 July 2013

After kayaking in Homer, we were a bit disappointed by the dearth of wildlife at Byers Lake, but nonetheless enjoyed a walk around the lake. I think we would have liked Byers Lake for kayaking also had we not just had an extraordinary experience elsewhere.

Visited July 2013
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1 Thank travelmomadventure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Saint Louis, Missouri
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Good Kayaking”
Reviewed 24 July 2013

Went kayaking with the denali southside tours and had a very good time. Very serene location, didn't see much wildlife if that is what you are looking for though.

Visited July 2013
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2 Thank ldboomer65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Anchorage, Alaska
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Nice campground”
Reviewed 8 July 2013

We decided to spend the extra long 4th of July weekend at Byers Lake campground after we read about it in our camping handbook and figured we'd give it a try after reading the author's rave reviews. Unfortunately for us Mother Nature decided to work against us as it rained all but one of four days we stayed but we still found ways to enjoy ourselves.

The hike around the lake (about 4 miles) was very nice and relatively easy, I'd say 3 out of 10 on the difficulty scale with the biggest challenges being how narrow the trail is at times which only becomes an issue when passing other hikers and the other being the slightly raised wooden path that weaves through about 25 yards of swampy area on the southwest end of the lake. The wooden path is fairly wide and level but there is no hand rail to hold onto which was no problem but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with stability issues and I wouldn't recommend trying to mountain bike the trail either as it's really not designed for biking (lots of roots, narrow trail, rocky and lots of other hikers to dodge, especially on the campground side of the lake...). You can also access the trail that goes up to the summit on the other side of the lake. I can't remember the name of the summit now but a few hikers I spoke to told me the trail goes all the way (27 miles??) to Coal Creek. They said the summit, which was not too far into the hike, is one of the best places to view Denali from. We didn't hike the trail due to weather conditions but plan on doing so next time we go to Byers Lake.

The campground itself is very nice, with lots of pull through spots for larger RVs as well as plenty of tent or smaller back-in sites for smaller RVs. There is a well, a dump station and fresh water fill station - all of which are fairly hard to find in the area and you can't beat the price at $10 a night to camp and $5 to dump (as of summer 2013). The campground is located just off the highway (we could at times here a little highway noise but it wasn't terrible) near mile point 147 of the Parks Highway. There is also overflow sites as well as firewood available at the Alaska Veteran's Memorial which is just past Byers Lake (there is a nice hiking trail worth checking out that connects the two areas).

The campsites themselves offers lots of privacy as they are all surrounded by natural Alaska plant life - high bush cranberry bushes, aspen, birch, firs and other trees surround all the campsites. There is also a cornucopia of floral delights for the wildflower seekers - wild geraniums, watermelon berry or twisted stalk (watch out for the false hellebore which looks an awful lot like the watermelon berry plant but is very poisonous and is growing in close proximity to the twisted stalk!), devil's club, dwarf dogwood and many more. Be sure to take your favorite Alaska wildflower field guide with you on your hikes as I'm sure you'll find it will come in handy.

I was a little disappointed that there wasn't really anywhere to ride our bikes as we lugged them along thinking we'd be able to ride the trail around the lake. We rode around the park a few times but that gets a little old after a while. The hiking trail that works its way around the lake wasn't bike friendly as previously mentioned but not a big deal, we just spent more time in our Kayaks for which the lake was PERFECT! You can rent Kayaks from the Kayak rental place there onsite or you can take your own. We took ours down the main lake access trail from the campground and pushed off right from there. The lake is shallow and rocky at the edges making for easy boarding and push-off of our kayaks.

For fisherman the lake has some rainbows, lake trout, burbot, and I've read some salmon make their way there via Byers creek as well. The best fishing is near the outflow of the lake into Byers Creek. There is a bridge from which you can look own on the lake and rainbow trout as they dodge your favorite fly like they did mine. Although I can say I did catch the biggest rainbow trout I've ever caught in my life which made the multiple hikes (about 50 minutes from the campground via the hiking trail - wear your bear bell or be sure to make lots of noise as the trail goes through some thick wooded areas which I'm sure is home to a bear or two) and kayak trips (about 20 minutes if you beeline it or about 50 minutes if you stick to the edge of the lake) very much worthwhile.

There was very little cell service in the campground although we were able to walk down to the lake to get enough signal to make calls. Personally I like disconnecting from technology when we camp but we'd told people we'd have our cells as we heard there was cell coverage in the area but found that we did not once we arrived so it was necessary to update our family - just mentioning it in case its something that matters to potential travelers to this area.

There was no camp host during our stay but the park ranger did come through daily. The multiple bear-proof trash containers were cleaned out often and the toilets were cleaned daily which was nice. Overall this was a very nice campground which definitely lived up to its expectations, just wish Mother Nature would have been a little nicer to us and given us some nicer weather but oh well, there's always next time!

Visited July 2013
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10 Thank terrapin_station2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Want to spend 12 hours at Denali's or want to have grate day 2 h away from Talkeetna?”
Reviewed 27 June 2013 via mobile

This is the place the locals got instead of Denali Park, as a matter of fact, it is located in Denali park, 3 h away from the main 12 h tour. The trait around the lake is just amaizing, you can swim and enjoy the lake werever you want. If you are going during the summer time, take Thiamine 2 weeks in advance or the best rpeent. Because the morkitoes will EAT you literalky.
Try to have lunch there. You can buy a good sandwich at Neglys store in Town snd dont forget to put gas in town because you wont get nothing on the road

Visited June 2013
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4 Thank albertoColombia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boerne, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
256 reviews
114 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
“Good hiking, gorgeous lake”
Reviewed 23 June 2013

This lake is a little difficult to find--Alaska evidently doesn't spend much money on its state parks because the signage to this place was practically non-existent, and the Visitor's Center where we had hoped to get information about it wasn't even open and had no trail maps to take with us. But no matter, we managed to find it and it is a gem of a lake. You can rent boats or canoes or just hike around the lake. We chose the hike--be sure to bring Off as the mosquitoes around the lake are plentiful. The hike was nice--some elevation change but well marked (although no mileage markers that we could see) and in good condition. Throughout our hike we saw exactly 1 other couple and a few kids out on the lake, so we felt like we had this place all to ourselves. The hike all the way around the lake is over 5 miles.

Visited June 2013
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3 Thank hillcntrytraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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