Kenai River Special Management Area
Guide

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Introduction

Anyone who is even slightly interested in Alaskan recreational culture would know that Kenai River has a big reputation for offering some of the greatest sportfishing on earth, and boasts all five species of Pacific Salmon and large Rainbow Trout.

The Kenai Special Management Area is home to 105 miles of interconnected rivers and lakes. Beautiful as it is, Kenai River Special Management Area is one of the best vacation spots for anglers, especially seasoned anglers who are after prized scalps. In May of 1985, one of the largest king salmon ever recorded was caught in the Kenai River.

That said, there’s no need to disregard the Kenai River Management Area if angling is not exactly your area of interest. 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 in nature. The entire area is an assortment of saltwater and mountain, fjords and tundra, and all within a distance of each other.

The ecosystem of the area, the wildlife, all the endless recreational activities, and the serene and peaceful scenery that surrounds the horizon of the area makes sure that everyone goes home with good memories.

RV Rentals in Kenai River Special Management Area

Transportation in Kenai River Special Management Area

Driving

Getting to Kenai River Special Special Management Area is not that difficult especially if you are visiting by car, RV or motorhome.

From Anchorage, take route 1, the New HWY south and drive for about 150 miles. Three hours later you’ll find yourself in the city of Soldotna on the Sterling highway. You can stop here to stock up on necessary paraphernalia or continue towards your destination. From the city of Soldotna, drive until you cross the Kenai River Bridge and reach the K-Beach Road. Take right, drive for 4.5 miles, take right again and you’ll be looking at the Alaska State Park sign.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Kenai River Special Management Area

Campsites in Kenai River Special Management Area

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

Bings Landing Campground

The ideal spot for a bit of hiking, wildlife viewing and of course angling for salmon and trout. Bings Landing campground has 36 no-hookup campsites available with access to toilets and clean drinking water. Pets are allowed with the campgrounds and picnic tables are also available to enjoy snacking in this beautiful wilderness. Fire pits are present on each campsite.

Funny River Campground

Funny river campground provides ten primitive sites with no hookups. Toilets are available at the campgrounds and pets are also allowed at the sites as long as they are leashed and cleaned up after. Campers will find access to drinking water and picnic tables within easy reach of their campsites.

Izaak Walton Campground

This campground has 31 sites available that do not offer any electric or water hookups. This primitive camping experience is largely in an effort to protect and conserve the existing ecosystem. Pets and campfires are allowed and toilets are available on the campgrounds. There isn’t any wheelchair access facility on this campground. Access to drinking water and picnic tables are also available. Close to a boat launch area and a popular fishing spot for catching salmon.

Morgan’s Landing State Recreation Area

The Kenai River Special Management Area features four campgrounds that offer a primitive and minimalist camping experience for tent and RV campers.

This campground provides close proximity to the river, wildlife abundant trails, and picnic spots. There are 51 no-hookup campsites available in the campground. Campfires are allowed on each site. Toilets are also available nearby along with a boat launch area. Make sure your pets stay on a leash. Bookings are not excepted and the reservations are made on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Kenai River Special Management Area

In-Season

Bald Eagle Viewing

The amazing American Bald Eagles love to spend time around the Kenai River as it teaming 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 and younglings crying out to their mothers for food. Make sure to bring your cameras and capture these amazing moments!

Boating

Stretching over a hundred miles the Kenai River waterway system 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, paddle boarding, rafting, and canoeing are all allowed inside the park with boat ramps and designated boat launch areas reserved for those seeking river based adventures.

Fishing

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 the rare and exotic 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.

Off-Season

Snowmobiling

The vast expanse of the Kenai River Special Management Area, the surrounding forest, and the peeking mountains in the horizon can also be enjoyed in the winters via snowmobiling. The management allows snowmobiling in the Kenai Lake and Skilak Lake so that the campers can zoom past the beautiful scenery and enjoy rare outdoor activities in the winters.

The timing is strict, however, and the authorities wait until the snow depth is adequate enough to protect the underlying vegetation before opening the areas for snowmobiling.

Wildlife Watching

The Kenai River might be an angler’s paradise, but abundant prey can bring about a vast number of wildlife that wants to take advantage of the protein-rich waters just as we humans do. The surrounding woods are home to 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 is home to the Kenai River Special Management Area.

Hiking

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 choose from and explore this vast largely untouched landscape. Remember to pack an extra pair of hiking boots, snacks and drinking water before venturing out on these endless trails.

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