Blue Lake, Alaska, USA
Also known as: Blue Lake Reservoir
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Blue Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Blue Lake
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Blue Lake Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Blue Lake Gifts
Looking for Blue Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Blue Lake
Blue Lake, located in the Alaska Panhandle of southeastern Alaska, is for adventure seekers. The County of Sitka is known for its vistas, mountain backdrop and thick forests. Construction of the Blue Lake Dam in 1958 increased the surface area of natural Blue Lake from 490 acres to 1,225 acres, and raised the elevation from 208 feet above sea level to 342. Blue Lake Reservoir provides hydroelectric power and drinking water to Sitka County. Although the City of Sitka does not permit swimming in the reservoir, Blue Lake is enjoyed by anglers, campers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts. Nearby campgrounds with lake views provide easy access to hiking trails. Campers should obtain a permit from the City.
Blue Lake’s major inflow is Blue Lake Creek and its major outflow is Sawmill Creek. Inflow into the reservoir is greatest during the summer and fall from snowmelt and rain flow. Inflow is lowest in mid-winter because precipitation is stored as snow pack. Demand for electricity is highest in winter and lowest in summer. Due to these seasonal fluctuations in precipitation and electricity demand, the elevation of Blue Lake can range from 280 feet above sea level in winter to 342 feet in summer (spillway elevation).
Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the challenging terrain that the trails of Blue Lake present. Because the lake is partially surrounded by glacier, trails can be dangerous. One of the most popular and challenging trails is Deer Mountain Trail. The trailhead begins in downtown Ketchikan and climbs over 3,000 feet. The trail offers breathtaking panoramic views of mountain peaks, forests, islands and ocean. Deer Mountain Trail is equipped with two shelters, one at Deer Mountain Lake and one at Blue Lake. This is a thrilling experience unique to the trails of Blue Lake. However, it is only for the experienced hiker, as the trails are narrow and wind through mountainous terrain. The steep terrain creates potential for avalanches.
Bird watchers and nature enthusiasts will enjoy observing animals in their natural habitat around Blue Lake. Large mammal species include brown bear, Sitka black-tailed deer, and mountain goat. Smaller mammals inhabit the Blue Lake basin, such as the playful river otter, beaver, pine marten, and mink. Blue Lake is also a resting stop-over for migrating waterfowl, including trumpeter swan, tundra swan, pintail, green-wing teal, hooded merganser, northern shoveler, redhead and lesser and greater scaup. Visitors may also observe bald eagle, dipper, and American merganser in the Sawmill Creek basin. Because different animals appear at different times of the year, a visit to Blue Lake during each season will be a unique experience.
Access for recreational fishing is along Blue Lake’s south shore from small boats that are carried into the area. Limited road passage prevents boat trailer access. Blue Lake is a deep (468 feet maximum depth), cold lake with a significant population of Rainbow Trout. Bank anglers cast their lines in Sawmill Creek for Pink Salmon, Chum Salmon, Coho Salmon, King Salmon, and Steelhead Trout.
Blue Lake is located about 94 miles from the Juneau International Airport. Juneau is the nearest large city to Sitka County. Come visit Blue Lake to get away from the stresses of everyday life. Take up bird watching, skiing, hiking, or snowmobiling, Become one with nature as you soak in the beauty of Blue Lake Reservoir.
Things to Do at Blue Lake
- Vacation Rentals
- Wildlife Viewing
Fish Species Found at Blue Lake
- Chinook Salmon
- Coho Salmon
- Pink Salmon
- Rainbow Trout
- Steelhead Trout
Find Places to Stay at Blue Lake
If you’re considering a Blue Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Recommended Sites to Book a Blue Lake Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Blue 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.
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.
Blue Lake Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed
Water Level Control: Sitka County
Surface Area: 1,225 acres
Shoreline Length: 8 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 342 feet
Average Depth: 171 feet
Maximum Depth: 468 feet
Water Volume: 145,200 acre-feet
Lake Area-Population: 8,700
Drainage Area: 37 sq. miles
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