Featuring over 100 miles of river and 16 public parks for you to explore, Kenai River Special Management Area is an incredible destination for RV lovers visiting Alaska. Originally established in 1984 to protect the river system, the Kenai River Special Management Area is a favorite destination with tourists and locals alike who are looking to have some fun in the great outdoors.
The most common form of recreation in the area is undoubtedly taking to the river and going fishing. The Kenai River has a big reputation for offering some of the greatest sportfishing on earth and is very popular with anglers looking to catch Pacific salmon and rainbow trout. There are also 34 more species of fish that live in the rivers and lakes, so you will have plenty of different types of fish to catch. In May of 1985, one of the largest king salmon ever recorded was caught in the Kenai River, but maybe you will be able to catch a bigger one!
Along with fishing, the area has plenty to offer to all those seeking some peaceful and serene time amidst nature. The terrain of the Kenai River Special Management Area is almost fairy-tale-like. The entire area is an assortment of saltwater and mountains, fjords and tundra, and all within a distance of each other. The ecosystem, the wildlife, all the endless recreational activities, and the peaceful scenery that surrounds the horizon of the area will provide travelers of all ages a place to make memories.
Since this area is so large, you will have plenty of camping options to choose from, including four primitive campgrounds on the banks of the river and plenty of private campgrounds with more amenities on offer. Due to the harsh weather conditions, the Kenai River Special Management Area is best visited during the summer months.
RV Rentals in Kenai River Special Management Area
Transportation in Kenai River Special Management Area
Getting to Kenai River Special Special Management Area is relatively straightforward during the summer months. Since you are traveling in Alaska, the most common route to take to reach the river and its surrounding area is AK-1 through Anchorage. Anchorage is by far the best place to stop for any supplies you need to get before your adventure, as it is the biggest city in all of Alaska. The river can also be reached by those visiting the southern area of the peninsula near Kachemak Bay State Park by taking AK-1 north.
Once you reach the Kenai River, you can also check out the city of Kenai if you need to grab any other last-minute supplies. All of the areas in and around the river should be quite easy to access as the roads are usually well maintained.
During the winter months, it will be tough to navigate your RV to this area due to the icy roads and high snowfall. For this reason, we recommend you consider only visiting during times of less snowfall, but if you do want to come in the winter during the heavy snow, you need to be prepared for the challenging conditions.
Campgrounds and parking in Kenai River Special Management Area
Campsites in Kenai River Special Management Area
Morgan’s Landing State Recreation Area Campground
Another excellent choice for a primitive camping experience is the Morgan's Landing State Recreation Area campground. Also home to the headquarters of the Alaskan State Park System, Morgan’s Landing State Recreation Area Campground is near the river, wildlife, abundant trails, and great picnic spots. There are 51 campsites available in the campground, with all of them being dry sites that feature no hookups. Campfires are allowed on each site, and toilets are also available nearby along with a boat launch area. Morgan’s Landing State Recreation Area Campground is known for being kept in excellent condition, and 10 of the sites are pull-throughs. This campground will be the best choice for travelers with larger rigs as several of the sites are on the larger side. Pets are allowed at the campground, but make sure your pets stay on a leash. Reservations are not available, so all sites are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Izaak Walton Campground
One of the more popular campgrounds within the Kenai River Special Management Area is the Izaak Walton Campground. Another campsite that is great for fishing, there are 31 RV friendly sites available for visitors to call home during their stay. Each site within the campground has a little bit of privacy on offer thanks to some shrubs, and you will only be a stone's throw away from the river and all of the fun that it contains. This primitive camping experience is largely in an effort to protect and conserve the existing ecosystem so that it can be enjoyed for years to come. None of the sites at Izaak Walton Campground offer any electric or water hookups, but pets and campfires are allowed, and toilets are available within the campground. Access to drinking water and picnic tables are also available, but if you need an accessible site, you shouldn't stay here as there isn’t any wheelchair accessible facility. All sites are available on a first-come, first-served only basis, and during the summer, Izaak Walton Campground can get quite busy.
Funny River Campground
One of the smallest campgrounds within the Kenai River Special Management Area is the Funny River Campground. Situated on the banks of the beautiful river around 11 miles from Soldotna, Funny River Campground is popular with anglers and travelers wanting some peace and quiet.
There are only 10 sites within the campground, all of which can be used by small RVs. You won't find any hookups at the Funny River Campground, but there are toilets for your convenience. Drinking water and picnic tables are some of the other amenities available here, but if you are looking for anything else, this might not be the place for you. The campground is also pet-friendly as long as your animal is leashed and cleaned up after. Reservations are not permitted, but since this is usually a pretty quiet campground, you shouldn't have any trouble if you arrive in the afternoon.
Bing's Landing Campground
Known for being a very popular place for anglers to go bank fishing, Bing's Landing Campground and Day-Use Area is a fantastic campground for adventurers wanting to enjoy the outdoors. The campground is suited to smaller RVs under 35 feet in length and there are no pull-through sites.
Bing's Landing campground has 36 no-hookup campsites available with access to toilets and clean drinking water. There are no water, sewer, or electric hookups, but if you want more amenities, there is a private RV campground right next door. Fire pits are present on each campsite, but you will have to travel elsewhere if you want to use a dump station. Pets are allowed with the campgrounds and picnic tables are also available to enjoy lunch in this beautiful wilderness.
There are no reservations allowed at the campground, so keep this in mind when you are looking for a place to stay. Bing's Landing Campground is most popular through May and August.
Seasonal activities in Kenai River Special Management Area
Fishing is the focal point of Kenai River Special Management Area, considering it is amongst the largest sport fishery spots in the world and home to over 36 species of freshwater fish. The river and lake waters have bestowed anglers with record-sized Chinook salmon and rainbow trout. Anglers of all ages and expertise can come and have a blast fishing for salmon and trout from the river banks or via boat out into the many lakes and river systems. If you don't have any fishing gear, they may be some available to rent, but it is best to check with the park office for confirmation. Before heading to the river, ensure that you have the appropriate fishing tags and licenses.
Stretching over a hundred miles, the Kenai River waterway system in the Special Management Area is built around rivers; hence, it goes without saying that boating activities are found in abundance here. Campers get a chance to enjoy the scenic views and the diverse natural flora and fauna around them as they float over the calm river and lake waters. Kayaking, boating, paddleboarding, rafting, and canoeing are all allowed inside the park. If you wish to launch your boat, you can do so at many of the ramps and designated boat launch areas located along the river.
Bald Eagle Viewing
The amazing American bald eagles love to spend time around the Kenai River as it teeming with fish during the spring and summer months. The park organizes float trips on boats that silently drift under the very nests of these majestic predators. These nests are often built on trees near the salmon-filled rivers, and the boat tour takes you past these various spots for a chance to spot an American bald eagle in flight or see the eagle younglings crying out to their mothers for food. Make sure to bring your cameras and capture these amazing moments!
Hiking enthusiasts come in droves to Alaska for its simply breathtaking trails that wind through mountains, lakes, rivers, grasslands and dense woodlands. The Kenai River Special Management Area is no different and captures Alaskan beauty by offering numerous trails for hikers to traverse and explore this vast land and largely untouched landscape. Remember to pack an extra pair of hiking boots, snacks, and drinking water before venturing out on these endless trails and hike with a partner.
The Kenai River might be an angler’s paradise, but abundant prey also brings about a vast number of wildlife that wants to take advantage of the protein-rich waters. The surrounding woods are home to many different species of animals, including moose, trumpeter swans, waterfowl, wolves, black and brown bears, caribou, lynx, river otters, coyotes, and minks all dwell into the Kenai Peninsula during the salmon bloom. Bring your binoculars and witness the vast array of wildlife that call the Kenai River Special Management Area home.
The vast expanse of the Kenai River Special Management Area, the surrounding forest, and the mountains on the horizon can also be enjoyed in the winters via snowmobiling. The management area allows snowmobiling in Kenai Lake and Skilak Lake so that the campers can zoom past the beautiful scenery and enjoy rare outdoor activities, even in the harshest of winters. You won't be able to go snowmobiling until the snow depth is adequate enough to protect the underlying vegetation, so it may be worth calling the park office to check when the season will begin.