Cottonwood Lake, Alaska, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Cottonwood Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Cottonwood 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 Cottonwood Lake

Cottonwood Lake, located near the town of Wasilla in the Mat-Su Valley of Alaska, is a year-round destination. The Mat-Su Valley region, short for Matanuska-Susitna, contains over 3,000 lakes and covers an area of approximately 24,000 miles surrounded by the Talkeetna and Chugach Mountains.

Cottonwood Lake, a natural freshwater lake, is one of the warmer lakes in the Mat-Su Valley. Swimming and water skiing are exciting summer activities on Cottonwood Lake, but with the cold winter freeze, bundle up to enjoy the winter fun as it becomes a great area for skating. Cottonwood Lake also boasts year-round plane service with its ski and float plane operations.

Canoeing is another very popular activity on the lake. Connected to Finger Lake and Wasilla Lake by short portages, Cottonwood Lake is part of a seven-mile canoe trail. Motorized boating is also abundant but because Cottonwood Lake is primarily a residential lake, the entire lake is a “no wake zone” from 10pm to 8am to ensure that a quiet restful night is guaranteed for residents and visitors alike. Cottonwood Lake has one public access entry with a primitive boat ramp on the western shore at the end of Spruce Street.

Fishing on Cottonwood Lake is a twelve-season adventure. Anglers find that the Coho salmon, Dolly Varden trout, rainbow trout, and sockeye salmon are plentiful whether fishing from the scenic shores of Cottonwood Lake or in a boat out on the clear water. Once the lake has frozen over for the winter, anglers can literally walk to their favorite fishing spot and enjoy ice fishing. There are numerous guides that can assist you with fishing during any season.

The majority of Cottonwood Lake shoreline is privately owned real estate with homes, vacation rentals, and bed and breakfasts. The Cottonwood Lake area is a very affordable place to live with a wide range of homes from moderately priced two or three-bedrooms to homes that are much larger and more expensive.

Just over an hours’ drive from Cottonwood Lake is Denali State Park. Denali which means “the high one” is a perfect name for the park as it boasts great vantage points for superb views of Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America. Visitors will enjoy great recreational opportunities from roadside camping to wilderness exploration as well as salmon fishing from the many streams that run through the area. As you are enjoying the fishing or exploring, be wary of the large moose, grizzly bears, and black bears that call the area home.

Cottonwood Lake and the Mat-Su Valley offer year-round adventures. Numerous trails that are used for hiking, biking, and ATVs during warm weather double as trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiles during the colder weather. The Mat-Su Valley is one of the few agricultural areas of Alaska known for producing huge vegetables during the long daylight hours of their 100-day growing season.

Cottonwood Lake is a great place to visit while enjoying the untouched beauty of Alaska’s Mat-Su Valley. Summer or winter, it does not matter as Cottonwood Lake is an all-weather destination for fun, nature, and adventure.

Things to Do at Cottonwood Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park

Fish Species Found at Cottonwood Lake

  • Coho Salmon
  • Dolly Varden Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Cottonwood Lake

If you’re considering a Cottonwood 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 Cottonwood Lake Vacation

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

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, 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.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, 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.

Cottonwood Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 262 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 329 feet

Average Depth: 11 feet

Maximum Depth: 39 feet

Water Volume: 2,835 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 15 sq. miles

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.

Shop Cottonwood Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

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Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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