This summer was HOT for Alaska. In fact Anchorage broke its all time record high this summer! We did the more swimming we have ever done and we were lucky to find a couple new places to keep cool in the water. Man Made Beach was one of them!
Man Made Beach seems to be quickly becoming better known, but there is no real sign for this place. From Anchorage you take the Old Glen Highway exit to just before the Knik River Bridge. However, instead of staying on the Old Glen and going over the river, you continue straight, onto East Knik River Road. About a mile down this road there is a small turn off for Man Made Beach. Again, there is no sign. I missed the turn the first (and second) time we visited, you will probably too. No issue, just find a place to turn around a try again.
The size of the parking area depends on the water level of the lake. The first time we went there was only enough room for maybe four cars, other times there has been large areas to park. People bring campers, four-wheels, and lots of other things down here. I get them impression that it is an unregulated area. When we went this fall and we were sad to find quite a bit of trash around. However, this swimming hole is beyond beautiful!
Another reason this area is great is because you have the option of parking and playing by the water just feet from your car! In Alaska you usually have to walk a ways to get to a good swimming area. If you have little ones this is obviously a great plus, because they often require so much gear. However, in the fall the shadow of the mountain does fall on the beach that is nearest parking (though some people drive through the shallow water to get to the other side, we do not). We decided this was far too chilly for us, so we walked to the other side of the lake to play. In doing so we found that it really isn’t too far of a walk right to the edge of the Knik River, another beautiful area to explore!
So whether you are looking for a place to swim in the summer or a place to go exploring when it’s chillier out, Man Made Beach should be on your list!