Harding Lake, Alaska, USA

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

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All About Harding Lake

Lake Locations: USA - US West Region - Alaska - Interior Region, AK -

Harding Lake is the largest, deepest, and most easily reached of the four road-accessible lakes within two hours of Fairbanks (Birch Lake, Quartz Lake, and Chena Lake are the others). Located 45 miles from Fairbanks near Salcha in Alaska’s Interior, Harding Lake is a rapidly improving sport fishery, and its accessibility makes it a popular Alaska destination.

Harding Lake in the Tanana River Valley is a spring-fed lake. In addition, the lake has two inlets including one from 52-acre Little Harding Lake. There is no outlet from Harding Lake into a river or other lake. Although most lakes in the Tanana River Valley, including Little Harding Lake, are ringed and in some cases covered with lily pads, there are not any on Harding Lake. About fifty percent of the lake’s shoreline is developed with cabins and private residences.

Because of its size, accessibility and proximity to Fairbanks, a deliberate decision was made to improve the sport fishing on Harding Lake. Northern pike and burbot are indigenous to the lake, and there are also healthy populations of lake trout, artic char, and salmon. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game began stocking the lake in 1956 with rainbow trout and steelhead. Most recently the lake has been stocked extensively with artic char. Pike fishing is currently closed on Harding Lake, but fishing for lake trout, burbot, and artic char is exceptional. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game also stocks Little Harding Lake with rainbow trout, artic char and Coho salmon.

Road access to Harding Lake is from three roads that connect to the Richardson Highway with access also through the Harding Lake State Recreation Area. Established in 1967, the Recreation Area has a campground managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with a campground host, restrooms, picnic areas and nature trails. There are boat launches, and Harding Lake is popular for motor boats and jet skis.

Nearby Salcha has restaurants, shopping, and various accommodations. Less than an hour from Harding Lake, Fairbanks is the largest city in Alaska’s Interior, and behind Anchorage the second largest city in the state. Fairbanks got its start as a gold rush town and has a rich history. There were several gold rushes in Alaskan history from its discovery in 1880 at Juneau through the early 1900’s. The Tanana Valley gold fields were some of the most productive, however, and directly led to the growth of Fairbanks. Any amenities a visitor could want can be found there along with cultural and recreation opportunities.

Harding Lake’s neighbor lakes, Birch Lake, Chena Lake, and Quartz Lake are also exceptional fishing and recreation spots. Located along the Richardson Highway on an 80 mile stretch from Delta Junction to the town of North Pole, the lakes are very accessible and a great way to expand a visit to Harding Lake.

The easy accessibility and abundant fish populations combine to make Harding Lake an exceptional Alaska getaway. Add the beauty of Alaska’s interior, the rich history and amenities of Fairbanks, plus the recreational offerings of Harding Lake and its neighbors, for a trip that is sure to please everyone.

Things to Do at Harding Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Jet Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Shopping

Fish Species Found at Harding Lake

  • Burbot
  • Char
  • Coho Salmon
  • Lake Trout
  • Northern Pike
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Steelhead Trout
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Harding Lake

If you’re considering a Harding 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 Harding Lake Vacation

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

Harding Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 2,470 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 715 feet

Maximum Depth: 170 feet

Lake Area-Population: 953

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.

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