dry camping at birch lake

dry camping at birch lake

It’s hard to believe it, but we’ve been in our home here in Alaska for almost two months. Two months. Is that mind-blowing, or what? While we’re slowly getting settled in our new home in Alaska, parts of our life are still in limbo, and we’re making our way ever-so-slowly through the mass of boxes in our home. The weather has turned quickly, and fall is fast approaching now. Before the temperatures started to drop too much though, we went with some of our new neighbors to experience dry camping at Birch Lake, and it was an adventure, to say the least.

Dry Camping at Birch Lake in Delta Junction

We actually drove through Delta Junction for the first time as we reached the end of our trip on the AlCan Highway. Shortly after we crossed the border from the Yukon into Alaska, we sat at a construction area for nearly 45 minutes and, after finally getting through that hurdle, we were exhausted. Delta Junction is about an hour from Fairbanks, and we’d reached our proverbial limit, so we stopped at this absolutely mesmerizing lake on the side of the road, only to find out it was Birch Lake.

Why is this so surprising, you ask? Well, Birch Lake plays host to Birch Lake Recreation Area, an off-base recreation spot for Eielson Air Force Base. Stocked with rainbow trout each year, it’s a popular place for locals and visitors, alike, to fish, kayak, jet-ski, and camp. It also hosts a number of dry cabins, of which we rented one for a night on the lake.

birch lake recreation area

birch lake camping usaf

birch lake delta junction

Dry Camping Near Fairbanks, Alaska

For those unfamiliar, dry camping refers to camping in an RV, motorhome, or cabin without hookups – and it usually refers to camping without electricity, too. The Birch Lake cabins have electricity, but they don’t have running water, so it was about the level of “roughing it” that we could take since we were pretty much still camping in our new home. We packed up air mattresses, blankets, pillows, a cooler, fishing poles, and our 5-gallon jug with water and made our way out to the lake.

dry camping birch lake

birch lake camping alaska

camping at birch lake eielson afb

What We Enjoyed (and What We Didn’t)

Birch Lake, itself, is beautiful. The cabins are comfortable and well-equipped. There’s a stove, refrigerator, and microwave in each cabin, as well as a full-size bed and a queen-sized pullout bed. The campground also has communal showers and toilets, as well as port-o-johns.

We brought an air mattress for Mieke, the boys were meant to share the air mattress, and Ryan and I would spend the night on the full-size bed. The kids spent pretty much the entire afternoon, however – and well into a 50-degree evening – in the water, and Porter couldn’t get warm. So, we shifted sleeping arrangements, and Ryan spent the night trying to warm Porter back up. We didn’t sleep much, to say the least and, what can I say? Some adventures just work better than others. I’m still so glad we went though because it was our first real “OMG THIS IS ALASKA” experience, and the kids had the time of their lives.

Tips for Camping at Birch Lake Recreation Area

Address: Milepost 305.2 off the Richardson Highway

Price: Camper Pads – $30/night; Tent Sites – $20/night; Family Cabins – $70/night; 2-Person Cabins – $40/Night; Deluxe Cabins – $100/Night — You pay in-person at the office by the beach when you arrive.

Pets: Pets are allowed, but dogs are not allowed on the beach area and must be leashed at all times.

Additional Information: Watercraft rentals are available, including lake boats, pontoons (2-hour max), canoes/kayaks, paddleboards, and more for hourly and, sometimes, daily rates.

Tips & Tricks: Bring bug spray, your fishing license, and food, as well as potable water!