Northeast Kenai Locations:

Summit Lakes

Summer on the lakes. ©Helen O'Harra

Notable Species

  • Dolly Varden
  • Beaver
  • Moose
  • Trumpeter swan

Lower and Upper Summit lakes support alder-willow edge habitats next to white spruce forest and open alpine slopes. Songbirds swoop through the brushy thickets during spring and summer. Stop at one of several pull-outs overlooking the lakes to listen for songs and calls. Loons usually nest on the lake edges and pairs can be seen from a long way off paddling on the surface. In spring and fall, watch for trumpeter swans resting on the lakes. Dolly Varden and stocked rainbow trout (in the upper lake) surface early mornings and late evenings. Scan for the white edges of Dolly Varden fins from the bridge over the outlet at Lower Summit Lake. Moose forage in the meadows and wet areas, and beavers have been reported building lodges and felling trees along the shore.


These two subalpine lakes with resident and stocked fish are surrounded by alder-willow brush. Alpine brush transitions into tundra on the facing mountains, while spruce forest dominates the creek bottoms.

Recreation Connection

Ski rope tows once operated above both Lower and Upper Summit Lakes. The area remains popular with skiers, snowmachiners, photographers and tourists.

Viewing Tip

Stop at the pullouts overlooking the lakes to listen and watch. Walk the loop through the USDA Forest Service’s Tenderfoot Creek Campground by Upper Summit Lake or drive with windows open to listen for bird songs.

Helpful Hints

Avoid private property if exploring off roads. Bring rubber boots for crossing wetlands near lake edges.

Getting There

Seward Highway milepost 47.6—Lower Summit Lake pullout and access road.

Seward Highway milepost 46—Tenderfoot Creek Campground on Upper Summit Lake.