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Camping at Heckman Lake Cabin Campground

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Location and Access

Heckman Lake Cabin Campground is situated in the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. The Tongass is the largest national forest in the United States, and it features a diverse ecosystem including rainforests, glaciers, and islands.

Heckman Lake Cabin itself is located on the north shore of Heckman Lake on Prince of Wales Island. Access to the cabin is typically via floatplane from the towns of Ketchikan or Thorne Bay, although it can also be reached by boat. However, there is no road access to the lake, so visitors should be familiar with remote travel in Alaska and be prepared to arrange transportation accordingly.

Reservations and Fees

Reservations are a must for staying in the cabin. They can be made through the National Recreation Reservation System (Recreation.gov). Fees for staying at Heckman Lake Cabin are established per night and can vary, so checking the most current pricing when booking is advised.

Cabin Facilities

The cabin facility is a rustic, traditional forest service cabin, generally consisting of wood stove heating, a sleeping area (usually with bunk space or a loft), a table, chairs, and sometimes basic cooking utensils. There is typically an outhouse nearby. Visitors need to bring their own supplies such as bedding, food, cookware, a portable cook stove, and a means of water purification.


Outdoor Activities in the area are plentiful and can include fishing, boating, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. Hiking opportunities may also be available in the vicinity, offering the chance to explore the old-growth forests and the abundant flora and fauna of Southeast Alaska.

Bear Country Precautions

The Tongass National Forest, including Heckman Lake, is bear country. Campers must take precautions to avoid attracting bears with food odors. This includes properly storing food, cooking away from the sleeping area, disposing of waste appropriately, and keeping a clean camp. Visitors should be bear-aware and know how to respond to potential bear encounters.

Safety Considerations

When camping in a remote area like Heckman Lake Cabin, safety is paramount. Campers should inform someone of their travel plans and expected return. Knowledge of first aid and emergency response is crucial, as is the preparation for inclement weather and possible delays due to the unpredictable nature of Alaskan weather.

Communication devices, such as a satellite phone or a beacon, are recommended as there is likely no cell phone service. Bringing navigation aids like maps, compass, or GPS is also advisable.

Leave No Trace

Visitors to all national forests are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles. This means packing out all trash, leaving areas as you found them (or in better condition), and minimizing the impact on the environment. Campfires, where allowed, should be kept small and managed responsibly.


A stay at Heckman Lake Cabin in the Tongass National Forest can be a wonderful wilderness experience, but it requires careful preparation and respect for the natural environment. Always check the latest information from the U.S. Forest Service or local ranger district before your trip for updates on conditions, cabin maintenance, and any alerts that may affect your visit.

Location of Heckman Lake Cabin Campground
Other Campgrounds in Tongass National Forest
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