One of the oldest in the State’s park system, this area offers campsites to baseball fields
Harding Lake State Recreation Area is halfway between Fairbanks and Delta Junction on the Richardson Highway and is one of the oldest units in the Alaska State Park system. 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.
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.
The Harding Lake State Recreation Area sits on the northwest end of the lake, and was established in 1967. The camp features campsites, picnic areas, recreation areas, restroom, a boat launch and hiking trails.
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 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.
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 or other watercraft. Anglers troll the lake for lake trout, arctic char and burbot, which sunbathers enjoy the swim beach.
All together there are over 90 campsites, including five walk-in group campsites. The park also has numerous picnic sites and two picnic shelters. In addition, areas have been set aside for activities such as baseball, volleyball and horseshoes with equipment available at the ranger station. Nature trails weave through the park, making hiking another prime activity for visitors to enjoy.
Harding Lake has a total of 90 campsites with the main campground consisting of 78 vehicle sites, many of which are large enough to accommodate motorhomes, along with five walk-in sites in a spruce/birch forest. Additional camping space is also available for self-contained units Monday through Friday at the lakefront day-use area; up to 10 additional campsites are also available at the Camp Lot camping area near the lake. Campground amenities include fire rings, picnic tables and a sanitary dump station.
The park also has numerous picnic sites and two picnic shelters along with nature trails and designated areas for baseball, volleyball and horseshoes with equipment available at the ranger station.
There is a daily parking fee at Harding Lake and a nightly fee for campers. There is also a fee for the sanitary dump station for visitors not staying in the campground.
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 contact the Northern Area Office of Alaska State Parks (907-451-2695; www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/harding.htm) in Fairbanks.