How Many Lakes are in Alaska?

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: June 20, 2022
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Alaska is by far the largest state in the U.S. making up 1/5th the total size of the lower 48 states. It covers 365,000,000 acres which include many rivers, cool streams, and lakes. Minnesota claims to be “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” but does Alaska have that many? Let’s find out how many lakes are in Alaska.

What is the biggest lake in Alaska?

Iliamna Lake is the biggest lake in Alaska. It is 77 miles long and 22 miles wide!


The biggest lake in Alaska is Iliamna Lake. The lake is around 77 miles long and 22 miles wide covering 1,600 sq miles. For reference, Rhode Island – the whole state – is only 1,214 sq. miles and is 48 miles long and 37 miles wide. Clearly a big lake! It is located in south-central Alaska just north of the Katmai National Park and Reserve.

Iliamna Lake is known for amazing trout and salmon fishing. It is also home to one of only five Freshwater seal populations. Freshwater seals are rare and it is thought that they live in and around Iliamma year-round.  

Freshwater Lakes with Seals

Other freshwater seal populations include:

  • Lacs des Loups: A lake in northern Ontario near Hudson Bay that’s home to harbor seals
  • Lake Saimaa: Home to the Saimaa ringed seal, which is believed to number about 400 individuals
  • Lake Lagoda: A lake in northwestern Russia near Saint Petersburg that’s home to ringed seals
  • Lake Baikal: A lake that houses the Baikal seal which has a population of about 100,000 seals

How many lakes are in Alaska?

Mount Hubbard Alaska

There are 3 million lakes in Alaska.


There are 3,000,000 lakes in Alaska. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game there are 3 million lakes larger than 5 acres. Many of those lakes are extremely remote being reachable only by boat or air. More commonly Alaska recognizes the 3,197 officially named lakes.

What lakes are near major cities in Alaska?

Auke Lake is in Juneau and Goose Lake is in Anchorage.

One of the popular recreational lakes in Juneau is Auke Lake.

© Cross

  • Auke Lake: Located near the Juneau airport, it is a 160-acre popular recreational lake. There is a boat ramp on the lake giving anglers an opportunity to explore the lake for the best fishing holes. Common fish caught in the lake are rainbow trout and steelhead trout as well as pink, chum, sockeye and coho salmon.
  • Goose Lake: This lake is right in the heart of Anchorage. It is a 192-acre lake with a 3-mile paved trail around it. There is a small café on the lake and a place to rent paddleboats. Keep your eyes open for some loons and Canadian geese that frequent the lake. Swimming may not be your first thought when it comes to Alaska, but there is a swimming beach on Goose Lake. Average summer temps in Anchorage are 55°-78°, so maybe it is nice for just a quick dip.

What are some of the most remote lakes in Alaska?

When you think of remote lakes you may imagine tiny, inaccessible lakes. But there are two massive lakes in Alaska that are also very remote.

Caribou Migration

Thousands of


live around Teshekpuk Lake in northern Alaska.


  • Teshekpuk Lake: This large lake covers 204,800 acres of water and is the third largest lake in the state. It is not a recreational lake because it is located at the far northern tip of Alaska. The Arctic Ocean is only about 12 miles away. The lake and the land around it are part of a protected wildlife area and it is recognized by National Audubon Society. There are around 100,000 geese that make this area their home as well as a large herd of thousands of caribou. You can also find the largest bears in the world…the polar bear.
  • Tustumena Lake: Tustumena is another large remote lake but only a fourth the size of Teshekpuk. At 60,000 acres it is a vast lake that is in the far south-central Alaska. It is only 75 miles SE of Anchorage but there are no roads that access to the lake. It is a part of Kenai Fjords National Park, the only way to get to it is by boat through the Kasilof River. It is the site of the Tustumena 200 Dog Sled Race every year which is a 200-mile race. Fishing for char, salmon, and trout is good on the lake and hunters like the remote area to track and hunt moose.

What is one of the most unique lakes in Alaska?

Katmai Crater Lake is inside the top of a volcano!

©GCaptain Budd Christman, NOAA Corps / Public Domain – License

One of the most unique lakes in Alaska is Katmai Crater Lake, a lake inside the top of a volcano! If you want to see the turquoise-blue waters of Katmai you can only see it by air. The lake was formed after a volcano in the area erupted in 1912. It is located in the southern part of Alaska across from Kodiak Island. There are float plane tours that will take you over the crater lake for some amazing video.

How many lakes are in the World?

There are around 117 million lakes in the world. A group of Swedish researchers used satellite images to count the number of lakes in each country. They included all lakes that were larger than .002 square kilometers (or about a half-acre). 70% of the earth is covered in water, but only 3.7% of it is covered with fresh water.

What is the biggest lake in the world?

Caspian sea

The biggest lake in the world is the Caspian Sea.

©Marina Khlybova/

The biggest lake in the world is the Caspian Sea. Technically wouldn’t that be a sea? Actually, the Caspian Sea meets all the criteria to be a lake. It is located right between Europe and Asia. The Caspian Sea is 143,000 sq mi.

What is the biggest lake in the United States?

The biggest lake in the United States is Lake Superior. Lake Superior is one of the five lakes that make up the Great Lakes. It measures 31,700 sq mi and has a volume of 2,900 cu mi.

What is the biggest lake completely in the United States?

Lake Michigan is the biggest lake completely contained in the U.S. Lake Michigan is another one of the Great Lakes. It is 22,000 sq mi.

Are there any countries in the world that don’t have any lakes?

Saudi Arabia does not have any lakes or rivers! In fact, there are 19 countries in the world that have no free-flowing rivers.

Fun Fact: How many lakes snakes are in Alaska?

Cottonmouth swimming in water. The snake has a long, thick, muscular body measuring up to 6 feet in size.

You can enjoy all of Alaska’s lakes without worrying about one of these. There are NO snakes in Alaska…at all.

©Seth LaGrange/

There are no snakes in Alaska! Snakes are completely absent from the state.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © aarbois/

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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