Red Shirt Lake, Alaska, USA

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

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Red Shirt 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 Red Shirt Lake

Red Shirt Lake, located in the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area in Alaska, is a remote lake that offers outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to have an Alaskan wilderness experience at its finest with minimal human development. Red Shirt Lake is one of the largest lakes in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area with a surface area of 1,183 acres and a 13-mile shoreline.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers rustic cabins for vacation rentals with two cabins located on islands in Red Shirt Lake. Access to Red Shirt Lake is a three-mile hike from the Nancy Lake Parkway on a well-marked trail through the wilderness of Nancy Lake State Recreation Area. The trail ends at a remote camping area on the northern shore of Red Shirt Lake. To reach the cabins, a canoe is needed to cross Red Shirt Lake at the campground area. The canoe can be carried, or prior arrangements with a local canoe rental company will have a canoe waiting for you to load and paddle to your cabin. If you prefer not to hike, the alternate route to Red Shirt Lake is to charter a float plane that can land on the water and carry more essentials and gear to your location. During the winter, Red Shirt Lake can be accessed with snowmobiles, cross-county skis, snowshoes, or float planes. During the winter freeze and spring thaw, none of the cabins are accessible due to the thin ice unable to support weight.

The northern shoreline is owned by the Alaska DNR with a small boat launch ramp, campground, and access to the rental cabins. Most of the southern shoreline is privately owned, and the owners strive to maintain a remote lifestyle with peaceful and relaxing surroundings. Even with the remoteness of Red Shirt Lake, it has gained popularity as a fishing destination for northern pike, coho salmon, sockeye salmon, lake trout, and whitefish. Winter ice fishing is popular with area anglers.

Nancy Lake State Recreation Area is 22,685 acres of undeveloped wilderness. Red Shirt Lake is just one of many lakes, rivers, and streams that connect to make an extensive waterway system popular for canoeing. Canoes and motorboats share Red Shirt Lake during summer months. The Recreation Area also offers hiking trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, and canoe launches. During the snowy winter months, the canoe and hiking trails transform into trails for cross country skiing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and skijoring (cross-country skier pulled by dogs). Ice skating is popular when lake ice is thick enough to support weight.

Bird watchers will want to bring their binoculars and cameras to Red Shirt Lake and Nancy Lake State Recreation Area as many birds and waterfowl use the area for nesting. The Artic Terns return from Antarctica during the summer to nest in this wilderness area. The common loon and Pacific loon can be seen nesting in the area along the shores of the many waterways.

Red Shirt Lake is a natural lake, but the local beavers and their dams play an important part in the water levels of all the lakes in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area. Paddlers often spot the beavers busily working or scampering in the water. Moose and black bear are commonly sighted in the area with occasional glimpses of grizzly bears.

Have you been looking for a “back to nature” experience? Want to get away from the loud noise, bright lights and crazy traffic of the big cities? Then now is the time to plan your trip to remote Red Shirt Lake in Alaska.

Things to Do at Red Shirt Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Dog Sledding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding

Fish Species Found at Red Shirt Lake

  • Coho Salmon
  • Lake Trout
  • Northern Pike
  • Pike
  • Salmon
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Find Places to Stay at Red Shirt Lake

If you’re considering a Red Shirt 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 Red Shirt Lake Vacation

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

Red Shirt Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 1,183 acres

Shoreline Length: 13 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 121 feet

Average Depth: 18 feet

Maximum Depth: 50 feet

Water Volume: 20,758 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 31 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 Red Shirt Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

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


Advertise Your Red Shirt Lake Business or Vacation Rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.


Looking for the Red Shirt Lake Forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Red Shirt Lake Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our Red Shirt Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!