Iliamna Lake, Alaska, USA

Also known as:  Lake Iliamna

Iliamna Lake, also known as Lake Iliamna, is the largest lake in Alaska and the second largest freshwater lake contained wholly within the United States (after Lake Michigan). This glacial lake in southwest Alaska is often referred to as an inland sea, stretching out about 80 miles long, 25 miles wide, and covering a surface area of approximately 640,000 acres. Iliamna Lake is sandwiched between Lake Clark National Park and – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Iliamna Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Iliamna Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Iliamna Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Iliamna Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Iliamna Lake

Lake Locations: USA - West - Alaska - Southwest -

Iliamna Lake, also known as Lake Iliamna, is the largest lake in Alaska and the second largest freshwater lake contained wholly within the United States (after Lake Michigan). This glacial lake in southwest Alaska is often referred to as an inland sea, stretching out about 80 miles long, 25 miles wide, and covering a surface area of approximately 640,000 acres. Iliamna Lake is sandwiched between Lake Clark National Park and Preserve to the north, Katmai National Park and Preserve to the south, and Cook Inlet (Gulf of Alaska) to the east. Several uninhabited islands dot the lake’s surface, including Porcupine, Flat, Triangle, and Seal Islands.

Iliamna Lake was named by the Tanaina Indians, who believed that the lake was inhabited by a giant blackfish that could bite holes in canoes. Other beasts alleged to live in Iliamna Lake, referred to as Illies, look like giant fish up to 30 feet long. Iliamna’s creatures gained wider circulation in the 1940s when pilots began sighting monsters from the air. Unlike these mythical creatures, however, the lake is distinguished for its resident population of freshwater seals, one of only two colonies of freshwater seals in the world.

Small communities dot the Iliamna Lake shoreline, including Iliamna, Newhalen, Pedro Bay, Pile Bay Village, Kokhanok, and Igiugig. The population around the lake totals about 600 residents. The development of hunting and fishing lodges, beginning in the 1930s, brought tourism to the area. Since then, the lake has become a recreational and tourist attraction due primarily to the excellent fishing. Most access to Iliamna Lake is by air and water. Scheduled air service provides transportation to the region’s hubs in Iliamna and King Solomon. Air taxis and charter service provide transportation from the hubs to the local communities. Cargo is shipped in by boat.

The communities of Iliamna and Newhalen on Iliamna Lake’s northern shore are connected by an 8-mile gravel road. A new 22-mile road connects Iliamna to the community of Nondalton and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve to the north. The Williamsport-Pile Bay Road connects the community of Pile Bay on the lake’s northeast shore to Iliamna Bay on the Gulf of Alaska. Recreational boaters can travel from Ilaimna Bay and the Gulf of Alaska to the east to Bristol Bay and the Bering Sea to the west by driving the Williamsport-Pile Bay Road, cruising across Iliamna Lake through the exit at the Kvichak River to Bristol Bay. This route saves a 1,200-mile trip over open waters around the Aleutian Chain.

Iliamna Lake is a renowned trophy fishing region. The lake is teeming with arctic grayling, rainbow trout, lake trout, dolly varden trout (char), sockeye (red) salmon, Coho (silver) salmon, Chinook (king) salmon, and northern pike. The Kvichak River, the primary outflow of Lake Iliamna, is home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. The area is also home to the world’s largest brown bear population, which feed on the tasty river salmon. Tour guides are available to visitors interested in viewing and photographing the enormous brown bears. Other area wildlife include freshwater seals, caribou, moose, wolverines, and eagles. After you have reeled in your record catches, take some time to view this pristine wilderness on foot, by water, or by air.

June through September are prime months for visiting the national parks and preserves to the north and south of Iliamna Lake. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve was established in 1980 to protect the area’s scenic beauty, fish and wildlife, the watershed necessary for red salmon, and the lifestyle of local residents. The park and preserve cover almost 6,300 square miles. Lake Clark is a glacial lake more than 40 miles long at the rim of the Chigmit Mountains, in which there are two active volcanoes, Iliamna and Redoubt, both rising more than 10,000 feet above sea level. In addition to volcanoes, the park’s geologic diversity includes dozens of glaciers, hundreds of waterfalls, and jagged mountain peaks. Caribou, Dall sheep, brown and black bears, bald eagles, and peregrine falcons make their home in the park. Access the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is by air.

The Katmai National Park and Preserve to the south of Iliamna Lake covers almost 6,400 square miles of Alaskan wilderness. Designated as a national park and preserve in 1980, the area was originally established as a national monument in 1918 to preserve the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a massive ash flow deposited on June 6, 1912 by eruptions of Mt. Katmai and Novarupta volcano. The ash flow covers 40 square miles and is 100 to 700 feet deep! The park is also known for its rugged Gulf of Alaska coastline, brown bear population, and pristine rivers and lakes with abundant fish.

Just 15 miles from Lake Iliamna lies the Pebble Deposit, North America’s biggest deposits of gold and copper. The Pebble Deposit is on state-owned land, and Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources will make key decisions about whether to allow mining of the precious metals. Some claim that mining would provide jobs to an impoverished local economy for 50 to 80 years. Others claim that mining will destroy Bristol Bay’s fisheries, dry up spawning streams, contaminate lakes and rivers with acid runoff, and kill off wildlife dependent on the area’s clean waters. Read up on this controversy to learn more about the future of this Alaskan wilderness.

Things to Do at Iliamna Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Hunting
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish Species Found at Iliamna Lake

  • Char
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Dolly Varden Trout
  • Grayling
  • Lake Trout
  • Northern Pike
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Trout

All About Iliamna Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Iliamna Lake

The Iliamna Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Iliamna Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Iliamna Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Iliamna Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Iliamna Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Iliamna Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 653,552 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 46 feet

Average Depth: 144 feet

Maximum Depth: 900 feet

Water Residence Time: 7.8 years

Lake Area-Population: 600

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Iliamna Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Iliamna Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Iliamna Lake photos coming soon!
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  • Share this Iliamna Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Iliamna Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Iliamna Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Iliamna Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Iliamna Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Iliamna Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Iliamna Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Iliamna Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Iliamna Lake forum group? Click Here

New Iliamna Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi