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Summit Lake (Willow, Alaska) facts for kids

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Summit Lake
Looking down on Summit Lake during the late summer with a few patches of snow still visible on the rock glacier in the background
A mid-summer view of Summit Lake
Summit Lake is located in Alaska
Summit Lake
Summit Lake
Location in Alaska
Location Willow, Alaska
United States
Coordinates 61°45′58″N 149°19′16″W / 61.7660°N 149.3210°W / 61.7660; -149.3210
Type Natural lake
Part of Susitna River Basin
Primary inflows Snow fields & springs
Primary outflows Willow Creek
Basin countries United States
Managing agency Alaska Department of Natural Resources: Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation
Designation State recreational site
Max. depth 20 feet (6.1 m)
Surface elevation 3,600 feet (1,100 m)

Summit Lake is a very small tarn (cirque lake) located above the tree line within the Hatcher Pass of the Talkeetna Mountains in Willow, Alaska, United States.


Summit Lake at Hatcher Pass 1, Jul 07
Another view of Summit Lake, with the rock glacier in the background

The lake is located about 2,000 feet (610 m) southwest of the summit of Hatcher Pass, about 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of the Independence Mine State Historic Park, and about 2,500 feet (760 m) northwest of Hatch Peak. It is also about 26 miles (42 km) west of main area of Willow and about 12 miles (19 km) north of both Palmer and Wasilla. The lake is situated within (and is the namesake of) the Summit Lake Recreation Site The lake is fed directly by springs and snow fields and flows via a waterfall into beginning of Willow Creek. Willow Creek feeds into the Susitna River, which empties into the Cook Inlet of the Gulf of Alaska.

While lake is very small, it is still a very popular site for photography. In addition to the lake's very scenic views in the summer, the area is also a destination for hiking and paragliding. In winter, the area is also popular for backcountry winter sports and access to the area is maintained year-round. However, complete access through the pass (including access from Willow) is usually not possible until early July. The lake itself is accessed from the gravel road by a wide, but short and fairly rocky trail.

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