Quartz Lake State Recreation Area is located off the Richardson Highway about eight miles north of Delta Junction, Alaska. It is home to three beautiful lakes: Quartz Lake, Lost Lake, and the smaller Moose Pond. On Quartz Lake, there is a small boat dock and boat launch area, and a small boat rental shack for those who don’t have their own boat. Lost Lake has a small dock to fish off, and is home to a huge beaver house which can be seen from the dock. Small and scenic Moose Pond can be reached on foot via the Lost Lake Trail.
Two campgrounds are available for use at Quartz Lake State Recreation Area. The Quartz Lake Campground is located directly in front of a small, sandy swimming area on Quartz Lake. Picnic tables and a pavilion are also right there for your use. There is also a public use cabin available for reservation. Lost Lake Campground is located on a woodsy loop that winds past Lost Lake, providing more private camping. These campsites each have a picnic table and fire pit area.
Fishing is probably the most popular activity at Quartz Lake State Recreation Area. The two bigger lakes are stocked by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game every year. Popular catches include rainbow trout and coho salmon. Ice fishing is available in the winter, and ice shanties can be rented out at the park. For current fishing regulations, be sure to check the website of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game before your trip.
Several trails wind around this 600 acre park. They range from one to three miles long and are all moderately easy walks. The steepest is the Bert Mountain trail, which climbs about 800 feet in elevation over 1.7 miles. Lost Lake Trail leads you to Moose Pond. Along the way, you will see the remains of an old mink farm started by an Alaskan settler in the 1930’s. The first half mile or so of this trail is smooth and even enough that visitors can push a jogging style stroller down it. The Bluff Point Trail is the longest, at three miles (a loop), but the view from Bluff Point is well worth the trip.
Geocaching is a fun and exciting family adventure, where you use your handheld GPS to track down containers previously hidden by other geocachers. There are a few different caches within Quartz Lake State Recreation Area. Currently, there is one near the public use cabin, one on the Bert Mountain Trail, and one at Bluff Point. Check out www.geocaching.com if you are new to the activity so that you can follow caching etiquette, and to get the exact coordinates for the caches located within the park.
Know Before You Go
Quartz Lake State Recreation Area is a very popular recreation are for local Alaskans. It is busy during summer weekends, and downright crowded on holiday weekends such as Independence Day.
There are fees for overnight camping, daily parking fees, and a boat launch fee. You can check with the park ranger, whose office is near the Quartz Lake Campground, for the current fee amounts.
Wildlife ranges from the very aggressive mosquitoes on the Lost Lake Trail to large game such as moose and bears. Definitely bring bug spray, and if you plan on staying overnight, bear safe food containers. Pay attention to your surroundings and be sure to make your presence known with noise if you choose to enjoy any of the trails.
Quartz Lake State Recreation Area is one of the highlights of the Delta Junction area, and well worth experiencing if you are traveling down the Richardson Highway.
Alaska Department of Natural Resources: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/deltajct/quartz.htm