The neighboring towns of Kenai and Soldotna are ideal jumping-off points to explore the abundant recreational opportunities of the Kenai Peninsula. Located south of Anchorage, the peninsula has two highways, numerous trails and several major rivers slicing through the spine of the Kenai Mountains. World-class fishing, hiking, river rafting, canoeing, alpine lakes and gold history are some of the activities available here.
Logistics: Fly into either Kenai (PAEN) or Soldotna’s (PASX) paved airports, stay in a local bed and breakfast for a few days, and rent a car for the duration. Consult this FAA website for specific information about this area. These airports are among the waypoints in the Kenai Peninsula flightseeing tour.
Visit places like the hiking trails of Johnson Pass, Resurrection Pass and Russian Lakes-to-Resurrection River, which make up Alaska’s most developed trail system. Turn of the century prospectors blazed these trails and carried millions of dollars of gold over them. The well-worn footpaths climb through forested valleys to open meadows shimmering with wildflowers and gem-colored lakes. Bridges make it one of Alaska’s few regions where you can keep your socks dry. Or try the world famous fishing rivers: the Kenai, which supports all five salmon species, and the Russian, which empties into the Kenai and is one of the few North American streams where red salmon are easily caught with artificial flies. Cooper Landing, at mile 48 of the Sterling Highway, is the area’s fishing mecca and launching point for trips down the Upper Kenai River and its famous Kenai Canyon run.
Or step into the area’s gold mining past at the town of Hope (mile 56 of the Seward Highway, then follow the signs for 16.5 miles). Once a town of 3,000, Hope now has just over 200 residents; try your luck at gold panning and discover weathered log cabins.
Or go white water rafting on Six Mile Creek. This waterway is neither six miles long, nor is it a creek: it features challenging class 4 and 5 rapids that take you through a stretch of canyons to Turnagain Arm.