Kenai Peninsula

Overview

Introduction

A few hours' drive south of Anchorage, Alaska's beautiful Kenai Peninsula area offers excellent king-salmon fishing and other outdoor activities. Driving southeast from Anchorage on the Seward Highway, stop first at Portage Glacier, where the Begich-Boggs Visitors Center has exhibits and a short film on the geological dynamics of glaciers and how they have shaped Alaska. Boat trips by Gray Line Tours offer a close-up view of Portage Glacier.

Farther on, the highway splits: The Seward Highway heads south to Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park, and the other fork, Sterling Highway, goes west. If you remain on Sterling Highway, you'll pass through a portion of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and drive along the banks of the Kenai and Russian rivers, sure to be crowded in peak fishing season with anglers casting for king, silver or sockeye salmon.

A little farther on and off a short spur road, stop in the town of Kenai, at the mouth of the Kenai River. The town has a Russian Orthodox church, a few interesting stores and a surprising amount of industrial development, including an oil refinery. After Kenai, the highway turns south and eventually ends in Homer. North of Kenai is Captain Cook State Recreation Area, an excellent stop for families with children. It's a great place for picnicking, beachcombing, hiking, boating and fishing. Campgrounds are available.

Note: Spruce bark beetles have attacked south-central Alaska in recent years, and their destruction is most apparent on the Kenai Peninsula, where vast stretches of forest are now dead. Recovery will take decades.

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