Fun Things to Do on the Kenai Peninsula
Some people are happy sitting on the beach and reading a book, but others like to fill their vacation full of activities. On the Kenai Peninsula, known as "Alaska's Playground," you can sit quietly among tall spruce trees surrounded by mountains, by a river, or on a beach, or participate in a wide variety of fun activities. We attempt to list some of these activities here to help you plan your trip. We can help you plan your trip just give us a call! We offer a full concierge service at Gwin's Lodge and we can help you plan, get organized, and make further recommendations. North to Anchorage and Denali National Park, South down the Kenai Peninsula to Homer at the farthest tip, make Gwin's Lodge your home base and venture forth! For a list of towns on the Kenai Peninsula and brief introductions, go to this website
There is no additional charge to our guests for our booking service. Pick your a la carte guided trips and excursions from the following for your adventure. Just let us know which dates you will be in town and which trips you like and we will do the legwork and book them for you.
Full-Day Guided Walk-In Fishing ................. 250
Full-Day Guided Float Fishing Trip ............... 275
Halibut Fishing ............................................ 350
Fly-In Fishing ............................................. 395+ depending on destination
Fly-In Bear Viewing ..................................... 395+ depending on destination
Fly-In Fishing & Bear Viewing ...................... 395+ depending on destination
Scenic Rafting on the Kenai River ................. 65-185 depending on length of trip
Whitewater Rafting 2 Canyons ..................... 114
Whitewater Rafting 3 Canyons (Class V)........ 174
Sea Kayaking ............................................... 65+
Horseback Riding ......................................... 199-300 depending on length of trip
Gold Panning ............................................... 29 or 300+ Depending on experience
Kenai Fjords Cruise ....................................... 89-199 depending on route and length of trip
Alaska Railroad Seward-Anchorage-Denali ....... Check Rate
*Rates are per person and provided for reference only. Rates will be confirmed at time of booking.
There is no doubt that fishing is the number one activity here on the Kenai Peninsula. The Kenai River and the Russian River are well-known all over the world for the best salmon fishing anywhere.
Kenai Fjords National Park Cruises
In the nearby scenic town of Seward, a number of cruise companies operate out of its marina. We can help you choose from a number of cruises of different duration and routes. Depending on the length of the cruise, you will see a number of glaciers, some of them up close, and have the opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife. Commonly sighted are Steller Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Orca (Killer Whales), mountain goats, Bald Eagles, and migrating whale species including the Humpback and Gray Whales.
Scenic Rafting & Whitewater Rafting
Both scenic rafting in calm waters and whitewater rafting (up to Class V) are available on the Kenai Peninsula rivers. These rafting trips on the Kenai River provide a unique opportunity to see the gorgeous landscape as well as wildlife in their native surroundings. Brown and black bears, moose, bald eagles, and a variety of bird species are common. The whitewater rafting on Six Mile Creek near Hope will get your adrenaline flowing. Dropping over 50 feet per mile as it flows out of the Chugach Mountains, Sixmile Creek cuts through three canyons with class III-V rapids, giving rafters a thrill ride. We can help you book either type of rafting trips with reputable companies.
Fly over tours
Because of the vast expanse of wilderness, sometimes the best way to see Alaska is by air. Flightseeing allows you to view the rugged landscape from a different perspective, and reach more remote areas where wildlife may be even more plentiful. Some excursions focus on viewing wildlife (e.g., bears) while others take you to the top of glaciers. One to consider is flying out of Homer to Katmai NP to view brown bears. Another popular trip is flying to Big River Lake and Wolverine Creek to fish and see the bears feast on the salmon at the Creek. Gwin's Lodge can help you identify and book reliable and reputable flightseeing outfits with years of experience and safety record.
Hiking, Mountain Biking & ATV
Hiking is a wonderful way to see Alaska. In Cooper Landing, hikers may try the Russian Lakes Trail (from Russian River Campground) that leads to the Russian River Falls, where salmon leap up a waterfall to reach their protected spawning grounds, and opportunistic brown bears wait with open mouths. Another trail to try is the Resurrection Pass Trail through 38 miles of scenic mountains from Cooper Landing to Hope (information on North and South portions). A somewhat challenging trail that leads to spectacular views overlooking the Kenai Lake is the Slaughter Gulch Trail. Look for its trailhead near Wildman's. Here is an article on the details. Another trail to try in Cooper Landing is the Skyline Trail that is somewhat challenging but rewarding when you get to the top. Kenai River Trail is a 2.5 mile loop trail located near Cooper Landing, Alaska and is good for all skill levels.
Cooper Landing and surrounding areas is home to many hiking trails for hikers of different levels of capability. Alaska.org has a great list of Cooper Landing hiking trails. There are many well-maintained trails. Follow this link (at www.trails.com) and this link (www.alltrails.com) for more information on Cooper Landing hiking trails. Here is a web page that lists all hiking trails in the Chugach National Forest, home of Gwin's Lodge. The Chugach National Forest borders the Kenai Wildlife National Refuge, which encompasses Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. Right down the road at Mile 58 on the Sterling Highway, turn onto Skilak Loop Road, there are many easy-to-moderate scenic hiking trails. Skilak Loop Road is a 19-mile loop that begins and ends on the Sterling Highway.
Exit Glacier is the only part of the Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by road. Here you can hike well-marked trails, get close enough to the glacier to feel the glacial cold air, and take a ranger-led walk. Along the trail, markers mark the retreat of the glacier through the years. The Exit Glacier can be reached near the city of Seward off the Seward Highway. Details. The Harding Ice Field trail, also in the KFNP, is a worthwhile all-day challenge that will reward you with breathtaking views of the Exit Glacier and the Harding Ice Field.
Alyeska is a ski resort in Girdwood 27 miles from Anchorage. Mt. Alyeska is part of the Chugach mountain range. It is the biggest ski mountain in the state of Alaska. An aerial tram takes guests up to the top of Mt. Alyeska, where you can see for miles in all directions, including views of the Turnagain Arm, up to seven glaciers, and endless peaks deep into the Chugach Mountain range. There are also abundant trails for hiking, bicycling, and ATVs.
Portage Glacier is another scenic spot for hiking and photography in the Chugach National Forest. The Portage Valley is about a one-hour drive North on the Sterling Highway from Cooper Landing (one hour South of Anchorage). The Portage Pass Trail is a good day hike for all ages and provide spectacular views of Passage Canal and the surrounding mountains and glaciers.
Something a bit unusual and a bit farther North is hiking on the Matanuska Glacier. It's a 2-hour scenic drive on Glenn Highway North of Anchorage. At milepost marker 101 is the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Area that provides an overlook but does not provide access to the glacier. At mile 102, drive down to Glacier Park onto private property. There is a fee to get access to the glacier, and you can hire a private guide to take you on a hike (cost includes helmet, crampons, and walking sticks). Using the guide is highly recommended to ensure that you see the highlights while traveling on safe passable routes. Details.
A must-do in Cooper Landing is the boardwalk along the Russian River in the Russian River Campground. Park in the Grayling or Pink Salmon parking lots and walk down the stairs to the very well maintained walkway. The walkway will lead you to the confluence of the Kenai River and the Russian River. You will have opportunities to see anglers and bald eagles. Brown bears are known to frequent the area. You will also want to check out Slaughter Ridge and Skyline trails, and also the Skilak Lake area in the nearby Kenai Wildlife Refuge.***
***Use Caution and High Alert when hiking on any trail. Bear and moose encounters are a high possibility. Be sure you bring bear spray, insect repellant, with plenty of drinking water and snacks. Always be aware of your surroundings. Make plenty of noises as you walk so that wildlife have time to evade you.
Horseback riding is a leisurely way to get close to the Alaska wilderness. Horseback riding trips (one hour and up) and pack trips of various durations are available. Trail rides will take you through the Chugach National Forest and to scenic lookout points over Kenai Lake. Customized rides are also available. Elevated in the saddle on a horse is a great way to experience Alaska. Gwin's Lodge staff can book horseback riding treks for you.
There are various outfits that offer kayaking trips in the Kenai Lake or out of Homer and Seward. One company offers educational pointers on wildlife and edibles. Let us know if you are interested in a kayaking trip.