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Alder Lake

Mount Rainier Area, Washington

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Alder Lake

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  • Alder Dam was constructed in 1944, creating Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
  • Low water levels in the reservoir reveal muddy banks.- Alder Lake
  • A pearched eagle at Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
  • Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
  • A gate marking a no wake zone on Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
  • One of three small, rocky islands in the bay near Alder Lake Park.- Alder Lake
  • Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
  • Finding a spot for lunch on the banks of Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
  • Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
  • Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
  • Looking west with Quiemuth Peak in the evening haze.- Alder Lake
  • Sea kayaking on Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
  • The small community of Reliance.- Alder Lake
  • Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
  • Mount Rainier (14,411') makes it's first apperance of the day.- Alder Lake
  • Sea Kayaking on Alder Lake.- Alder Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views of Mount Rainier. Lots of fingers to explore. Pretty water.
Cons: 
Somewhat remote. Moderate boat traffic. Tree hazards just below the surface.
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Region:
Mount Rainier Area, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Site characteristics: Water: 
Lake
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Parking fee weekends and holidays from Memorial Day to Labor Day
Portage required: 
Yes
Preferable Season(s):
Summer
Water difficulty: 
Easy / Class A
Current Local Weather:
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Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Contributor

Kayaking in Alder Lake provides views of Mount Rainier, tree-shrouded foothills, and amazingly turquoise water. The lake's many different areas keep the scenery fresh and exciting.

Touching three counties and boasting 28 miles of shoreline, Alder Lake was formed in 1944 by the creation of the Alder Dam on the Nisqually River. The Alder Dam, located on the northwestern side of the lake, provides about 50,000 kilowatts of energy, most of which is sent to Tacoma.

Just to the east of the dam sits Alder Lake Park and campground. The western shore of the park features a beach and swimming area. The boat launch is located just to the southeast. The southernmost finger of the lake leads to the mouth of the Little Nisqually River.

Situated on the lake's eastern shore with a modest population of 29, Elbe may not qualify as a town, but it remains a welcome place to stop for lunch as you explore a colorful little diner made from old rail-cars.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(36 within a 30 mile radius)

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