Get ready for your visit by browsing the many attractions the Kenai Peninsula offers! Whether catching wildlife in your camera, on a hook, or in your memories, the Kenai is sure to meet your adventurous needs.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough is 90% wilderness and therefore a destination of choice for Alaskan travelers who desire to observe wildlife within its natural habitat. We serve as the gateway for Alaska’s best one-day flightseeing trips to view the famed Katmai and Wolverine Creek bears. The Kenai is home to one black bear per square mile. Black or brown bears may be spotted from your vehicle, from your raft as you float by, or up on the mountainside while hiking our miles of improved trails.
The Kenai’s coast is one of Alaska’s prime viewing areas for marine wildlife. Kenai Fjords is certainly a mecca for marine wildlife watchers, as is Kachemak Bay. Birding is world class, and many travelers time their visit to witness some of nature’s special events: the migration of shorebirds in Homer or the gathering of snow geese on the Kenai River flats. Did we mention moose? Formerly known as the Kenai National Moose Range, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary that comprises approximately a third of the peninsula and provides an ideal haven for moose, lynx, wolves, dall sheep, caribou, fox, coyotes and more.
BIRDING ON THE KENAI
The Kenai has a wide array of easily accessible seashores, rivers, creeks, lakes, marshes and alpine country which make for some truly exceptional birding. We are accessible by road (private and group charters readily available for more remote destinations), have all the modern amenities, yet can offer birding in a truly beautiful wilderness setting. There are 469 species of birds documented in Alaska, plus more than 30 other species reported but not verified, and most can be found right here.
RIVERS AND LAKES
The surprising turquoise color of many of The Kenai’s rivers and lakes is very unusual and is caused by just the right blending of glacial waters and snowmelt. Home to spawning salmon, these rivers and lakes can be explored by rafting, fishing from drift or powerboats, or finding beautiful trails along the shores. Some of Alaska’s wildest whitewater, as well as some of its most placid and scenic waterways, can be found on The Kenai. The quaint settlements of Moose Pass and Cooper Landing, along with the larger communities of Sterling, Soldotna, and Kenai, owe a substantial portion of their livelihoods to the bounty of fish, scenery, and wildlife that the Kenai watershed provides.
KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK
Over the eons, glacier ice has carved valleys that are now submerged under seawater, thus forming the fjords. Kenai Fjords National Park preserves this magical part of the Peninsula, and a diverse fleet of small ships delivers the experience. The Kenai Fjords offers more than majestic scenery—few places in the world can boast of the stunning concentrations of wildlife viewed on a daily basis in the Kenai Fjords and the adjoining islands of the Maritime National Wildlife Refuge: sea otters, puffins, sea lions, kittiwakes, humpback and orca whales, harbor seals, oyster catchers and more. Glaciers are still making their way down from the ice fields, and witnessing the calving of huge chunks of ice from the glacier’s face as it meets the sea reminds us that the Kenai Fjords are still under construction.
FOUR ACTIVE VALCANOES
There aren’t many places in the world where you can gaze upon four active volcanoes from one stretch of beautiful highway. From north to south, Mt. Spurr, Mt. Redoubt, Mt. Illiamna and St. Augustine all may be viewed from the western shore of the Kenai Peninsula, out across Cook Inlet to the Alaska Peninsula. The volcano coast isn’t the only scenic drive on the Peninsula…one would have a hard time choosing a favorite stretch of road—there are dramatic vistas and spectacular scenery from one community to the next.
KENAI MOUNTAINS / HARDING ICE FIELDS
Mountains connect The Kenai to the rest of Alaska, and mountains link the regions of The Kenai together. They form the setting, the backdrop, or the stunning scenery on the horizon. They span The Kenai’s four major protected areas: Chugach National Forest, Kenai Fjords National Park, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and Kachemak Bay State Park. These mountains hold a contiguous ice field that is larger than the state of Rhode Island, is a half-mile deep, and is reachable by an adventuresome trail or two. They are the most accessible mountains in the state; with more than 433 miles of improved trails to help you find your own private mountain paradise for your day hike, backpacking trip, or leisurely walk.
GLACIER AND WILDLIFE CRUISES
The town of Seward is the launching point for a number of different glacier trips ranging from a short tour around Resurrection Bay to an all day excursion into Aialik Bay or Northwestern Fjord. Homer also offers a number of wildlife cruises in Kachemak Bay State Park. Remember that while you will be enjoying glacial views from the comfort of the boat cabin, the closer you get to the glaciers the more the temperature drops, so dress in warm layers.
The Kenai is well known for the extensive camping opportunities available along its road system. Numerous public campgrounds are located within the Chugach National Forest, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska State Parks unit, and within municipal areas of Seward, Soldotna, Kenai, and Homer.
Flightseeing takes many forms on The Kenai, it can be enjoyed from airplanes, seaplanes, ski-planes, and helicopters. You can enjoy the spectacular scenery from the air as you fly over Kenai Fjords National Park, Lake Clark National Park, the Chugach National Forest or even Kachemak Bay State Park. Or you can land for an up close and personal look at a glacier, a volcano, or bears and other wildlife. It can also be your ticket to accessing remote fishing areas and hiking trails.
The Kenai River has many public access sites and private businesses along its shores in the Sterling-Soldotna-Kenai area offering bank angling access during the popular salmon runs. Many of the popular bank angling access sites offer “habitat friendly” facilities designed to protect important fish habitat. Elevated walkways, stairways into the river and other methods protect valuable vegetation important for healthy fish habitat, ensuring that the popular runs of salmon can continue.
Crooked Creek & The Kasilof River offers bank angling at the confluence and is one of The Kenai’s most popular and productive locations for king salmon fishing from shore. With kings ranging in size from about 20-40 pounds, they are more than a handful on rod and reel from the shore!
Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, & Anchor River all give great results. Bank angling on Deep Creek, the Ninilchik River and the Anchor River are all popular springtime pursuits for anglers targeting early kings. Check the fishing regulations, as these rivers are only open for fishing on certain weekends.
Charter Opportunities exist for fishing enthusiasts interested in rainbow and/or salmon fishing of the Kenai or Kasilof Rivers, while an extensive charter industry is available to offer halibut fishing and/or salmon fishing near the communities of Seward, Ninilchik, Anchor Point, and Homer.
Fish, Fish, fish! And why, why, why? Because location, location, location!
The Kenai is world renowned for its wide-ranging fishing opportunities. Four species of salmon by the hundreds of thousands—find their way into the Peninsula’s bays, rivers, and lakes to return to where their lives began. Virtually any time of the summer is salmon fishing season on The Kenai. The largest King Salmon of all, weighing close to 100 pounds, are sought on the famed lower Kenai River. Salmon is only part of the draw. Most seacoast towns on The Kenai offer charter fishing for halibut and other saltwater species.