Kenai Peninsula Parks and Hiking Trails
Kachemak Bay State Park is Alaska’s first state park and only wilderness park. It contains roughly 400,000 acres of mountains, glaciers, forests, and the ocean. The bay’s twisted rock formations are evidence of the movement of the earth’s crust. Visitors frequently observe sea otters, seals, porpoises, and whales. Intertidal zones offer natural settings for marine studies. Land mammals include moose, black bears, mountain goats, coyotes, and wolves.
There are not many trails in the Kenai Fjords National Park as most of the land is covered in glaciers and a huge ice field. The park also encompasses the surrounding fjords that the glaciers carved into the Pacific Ocean. Subsequently, the best way to view this area is with an all-day boat tour out of Seward. You can explore the fjords in a kayak with a qualified guide. The scenery is incredible and you may get the chance to view whales, puffins, sea lions, otters, and other marine life.
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge covers the western section of the Kenai Peninsula. It is mainly flat taiga with numerous lakes, and as such, its primary recreation is suited more toward water activities, especially fishing. Most of the hikes are short trails that end at a lake. The water in Kenai Lake, Skilak Lake, and the Kenai River are gorgeous.
The Kenai River Special Management Area consists of more than 105 linear miles of rivers and lakes. The Kenai River boasts major runs of four Pacific salmon species — King, Red, Silver, and Pink — in addition to trophy-sized Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden. Kenai River King, or Chinook Salmon, are among the largest North Pacific salmon, often weighing from 50 to over 85 pounds.
Museums and Libraries
The Alaska SeaLife Center is Alaska’s only public aquarium and the ocean wildlife rescue center is celebrating ten years on the shores of Resurrection Bay. Visitors to this “window on the sea” have close encounters with puffins, octopus, sea lions, and other sea life while peeking over the shoulders of ocean scientists studying Alaska’s rich seas and diverse sea life.
The Donald E. Gilman Resource Library houses a collection of books, periodicals, CDs, videos, and other materials related to natural resource management and the natural and human history of the Kenai Peninsula. The library is open to the public during regular Kenai River Center hours.
The Pratt Museum is the only natural history museum in the 25,600-square-mile area of the Kenai Peninsula. The Pratt Museum is dedicated to the process of education by exploring the natural environment and human experience relative to the Kachemak Bay region of Alaska and its place in the world.
Kenai Peninsula Maps
Kenai River Special Management Area
Geological and Geophysical Surveys
Kenai Peninsula Wildlife
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge provides a listing of land mammals found on the Peninsula.
Brown bears can be found throughout the Kenai Peninsula except in the coastal portions of the Kenai Fjords National Park. Densities of bears is considered highest in the lowland forests and intermountain valleys where anadromous streams provide salmon for feeding.
The central Kenai Peninsula is one of the few places where you can see Caribou in your back yard, in your neighborhood, or from the road.
Alaska’s Kenai Moose Research Center is a world leader in moose science.
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge provides Reflections, a visitor’s guide.
The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward is home to displays of Alaska sea life.
Chiswell Island, approximately 35 miles south of Seward, Alaska, is home to a small rookery of endangered sea lions. Steller Sea Lions often return to the same rookery – a place where they give birth and mate annually – making long-term studies feasible with remote video observation.
An Alaska Bald Eagle Nest Atlas and other information are available from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
You can purchase Alaska fishing licenses online.
Alaska State fishing regulations and detailed maps of the fishing areas can be found here.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game offers a detailed review of Kenai River fishing.
Borough and City Government
Chamber of Commerce Offices
Further Readings on the Kenai Peninsula
Kenai Fjords: A Stern and Rock-Bound Coast: Historic Resource Study is a 1998 publication by the National Park Service provides a history of the Kenai Fjords from before the Russian days.
Wikipedia offers general information on the Kenai River along with many links for additional information.
Stock Assessment of Rainbow Trout in the Upper Kenai River, Alaska, in 2001.
Headwater Stream Wetland Settings and Shallow Ground Water Influence:
Relationships to Juvenile Salmon Habitat on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska.
Studies in the Wilderness Areas of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge: Fire, Bark Beetles, Human Development, and Climate Change.
Kenai Fjords Oral History and Archaeology Project.
Ecological Studies of the Kenai Peninsula Brown Bear.
A Guide to the Late Quaternary History of Northern and Western Kenai Peninsula, Alaska was published by the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys in 2007.
Quick facts on Kenai Peninsula Census Data is available here.