Description - *This information is provided by Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation*
This cirque was the beginning of a long-gone, alpine glacier. The surrounding terrain is all glacially carved. North of the lake, the uneven ground is caused, not by boulders, but by frost action in combination ground moisture and soil type.
Above, and east of, Summit Lake, is April Bowl. This very small valley also has a cirque lake and several small ponds. This area is popular in the winter.
- There is a trail around Summit Lake, and along the bluff above, and west, of the lake. The views from the bluff viewpoint are outstanding, including the Willow Creek Drainage, the Susitna Valley, and the western arc of the Alaska Range. Best viewing is on a clear morning. The scenic viewpoint is a popular launch site for paragliders in the summer, who can ride the updrafts for several hours on a good day.
Recreation - Winter recreation includes back country skiing, snow boarding, and snowshoeing. The park is open to snowmachines when snow depth allows. Avalanches occur regularly on the steep slopes in the area. Please use extreme caution when winter recreating in the park and the Hatcher Pass Area.
Climate - The climate in Alaska varies with terrain and region. The south-central region of the state is most temperate because it is protected from cold northern winds by the Alaska Range. The large bodies of water that lies closely to this area create a stabilizing factor for the air temperature. Southeast Alaska is wet. An average of 80 inches of rain comes to this region directly from the Gulf of Alaska.
In contrast to the southeastern region, the interior receives very little precipitation. The winters are long in this region with spring, summer and fall taking place from May through September. The western coast of Alaska experiences long, cold winters and short, chilly summers. This area is very far north and at the mercy of huge water bodies that don't warm. Southwestern Alaska experiences foggy, wet summers with high temperatures reaching 60 degrees F. Winters are severe on this long peninsula of land with storms rising from the surrounding waters frequently. The average rainfall for the region is 75 inches/year.
Summit Lake State Recreation Site is located at mile 19 of Hatcher Pass Road, approximately 2 miles past the Independence Mine State Historic Park turnoff.