Summit Lake State Recreation Site is located at mile 19.6 Hatcher Pass Road, approximately two miles past the Independence Mine State Historic Park turnoff. Hatcher Pass Summit is in the park at an elevation of 3,886 feet.
Approximately a 1.5-hour drive from Anchorage, Summit Lake presents an opportunity to do some alpine diving with one of the most incredible natural backdrops you could hope for.
Hatcher Pass Summit is in the park at an elevation of 3,886 feet. Road access to the park is limited to the summer months, usually July thru late September. The road is unpaved, so four-wheel drive is almost a necessity and highly encouraged.
The lake itself is immediately after the summit point of the pass, directly to the left of the road, with parking available immediately adjacent to the lake.
First explored as a potential dive site by Alex and Ron Fancher, Summit Lake in Hatcher’s Pass offers one of the most beautiful backdrops to diving you could imagine. Summit Lake is a small cirque lake, or tarn, with a max depth of 25 ft. This cirque was the beginning of a long-gone, alpine glacier. The surrounding terrain is all glacially carved. North of the lake, the uneven ground is caused, not by boulders, but by frost action in combination ground moisture and soil type.
The diving itself is relatively boring and nondescript, despite the many myths and legends that surround Summit Lake (including a resident lake-monster and a bottomless hole). The lake clarity varies heavily based on season and the population of the freshwater brine that inhabit the lake.
There is a spectrum of refuse in the lake, and there’s the potential to find artifacts in the shallow muck on the bottom, including bottles and bones from bygone years, as well as golf balls from yesterday.
Summit Lake is a perfect example of a dive site that’s awesome to do at least once, if nothing else, for all the looks you get from everyone around you. It’d also make an incredible place to do a photo shoot.