Great Land of Alaska

Safe Loads for Clear Ice

The thicknesses here are a rough guide. The actual thickness needed to perform these activities may vary depending upon ice clarity. Opaque ice is not as strong as clear ice so the thickness required for activities on opaque ice is greater than that require for clear ice.

Be aware that just because the ice may be thick enough for an activity in one area, it may not be the same thickness in another. Warm springs, currents, vegetation, and other factors may cause ice on lakes to vary greatly in thickness. River ice is very unpredictable as changing currents may weaken ice that was previously thick enough to safely walk on.

The thicknesses given here are not based upon my own personal experience, rather they were obtained from another source. My own personal recommendations is to not venture onto the ice by foot until it is at least 1 foot (30cm) thick, and not drive on it until it is at least 2 feet (61 cm) thick.

Thickness of IceLoad or Activity
3 inches
8 cm
Cross country skiing
4 inches
10 cm
1 person ice fishing
5 inches
13 cm
1 snowmachine
6 inches
15 cm
1 ice boat
7 inches
18 cm
Group activities
8 inches
20 cm
1 car or truck
9 inches
23 cm
Several vehicles

Current Conditions:

Click for Kenai, Alaska Forecast

Click for Soldotna, Alaska Forecast