If you are going to visit Anchorage Ted Stevens Airport you will definitely make a short hop to Lake Hood, which is just a kilometer away from the terminal. Even if its called “Lake Hood”, the seaplane airport consist of two lakes! One is the western lake, named Lake Hood, while the other one is on the east, called Lake Spenard. Both are connected by a channel which is the longest and the major of the three water runways. Furthermore there is a gravel strip northwest of the lakes for non water planes.
More than thousand aircraft are based at Lake Hood and with an average of 170 movements each day, it is everything else than quiet. Lake Hood is the busiest seaplane base in the world!
But the only schedule air service is offered by Reeve Air Alaska opertaed by a Piper Navajo to and from Gulkana/Glenallen.
Despite visiting the spotting locations that mentioned below you can drive around the lake to take photos of the parked planes. If you do so please respect the private property of the seaplane owners and ask in advance if you can make a photo. Furthermore it shouldn´t be a problem to grant access to one the many ramps for the normal planes if you ask kindly.
Last but not least the lake is a good choice to take a relaxing break at spot #2 during the quiet midday hours in Anchorage Ted Stevens Airport.
Written by Stefan Bratner and Alex (visited 2017)
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|Airport Information||Runways||North-South (Water)||Southeast-Northwest (Water)||East-West (Water)|
|588 x 61 m|
(1,930 x 200 ft)
|417 x 46 m|
(1,369 x 150 ft)
|1.384 x 57 m|
(4,541 x 188 ft)
|671 x 23 m|
(2,200 x 75 ft)
|Spotting Information||Ladder||Not needed|
|Car||If you stay in one of the many hotels next to the lake a car is not required. But usually you switch between LHD and ANC and for latter you definitely need one.|
|Restrooms||In the hotels and restaurants along Spenard Rd.|
|Drinks/Food||Plenty of choices at Spenard Rd.|
|Hotels||From the Lake Front Anchorage hotel rooms with lake view are available.|
|Season||In winter it is almost all the time night. In June, the night never falls completely. It is day from 04:00 to about 23:00 so a lot of time for planespotting!|
Here you can find a great tool to see sunrise and sunset.
|Runway Usage||General Info||Majority of seaplane flights use E/W due to its length.|
|Spot #1 – Lakeshore Dr|
|WHERE||The spot is on the north side of the lake. You can access it directly from the terminals or from the east via the Spenard Rd where you might have your hotel. There is a gravel area where you can park your car and directly take your photos. If you stay in one of the lake hotels the spot is easily to reach by foot too.|
|WHAT||All aircraft using the channel to/from their parking position and all movements on the E/W runway.|
|TIME||In summer only in the morning and evening hours.|
|MISC.||Everything you need is along the Spenard Rd. There is a gate which can be closed, so check the opening hours before you enter that location. Don´t get behind the fence as it is private property.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||70-150mm for the channel, 150-300mm for the runway|
|Spot #2 – Aviation Rd|
|WHERE||Between the hotels and the museum there is a nice place on the southern riverside of lake spenard. Easy to access from the Airport Rd there is a resting area with some benches to sit down and plenty of parking next to it. If you stay in one of the lake hotels the spot is easily to reach by foot too.|
|WHAT||All movements on the E/W runway.|
|TIME||From noon till afternoon.|
|MISC.||Everything you need is along the Spenard Rd.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Depends on the angle but 70-400mm is fine.|
|Spot #3 – Alaska Aviaton Museum|
|WHERE||As the name indicates, this spot is at the Alaksa Aviation Museum. Its on the southern riverside of Lake Hood and easy to reach by car from the Airport Rd and by foot from the hotels.|
|WHAT||You can visit the exhibition which contains a collection of mainly seaplanes which are displayed inside and outside. Furthermore you can take pictures from all RWY movements on the lake. Here you find a list of the aircraft shown in the exhibition.|
|TIME||From noon till afternoon for the lake (same like #2) but for the smaller water runways time varies.|
|MISC.||The museum is open from: Tue – Sat. 9am-5pm; Sun. 12pm-5pm; Mon. Closed|
Entrance Fee is 15 USD for adults.
|FOCAL LENGTH||Depends on the angle and what you prefer. For museum from 10mm until 400mm for the lake.|