Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Alaska

(907) 262-7021

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Alaska's Kenai Peninsula is, in geologic terms, still quite "young," since its entire land mass was covered by glacial ice as recently as 10,000 years ago. Much of that frozen blanket still exists today, in the form of the more than 800-square mile Harding Ice Field, which the refuge "shares" with Kenai Fjords National Park. Come visit and see moose, bears, mountain goats, Dall sheep, wolves and other furbearers, salmonoids and other fish, waterfowl and other migratory and nonmigratory birds.

Map of Kenai NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 60.269390, -150.604662

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Activities

  • Boating

    The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Canoe Trail System is separated into two areas: the Swanson River and Swan Lake Routes. Both are located in the refuge's northern lowland spruce and birch forest habitat. These canoe routes consist of lakes and rivers connected by water or land portages creating a variety of trip options.

  • Bird Watching

    In the Alpine Tundra areas, Golden eagles can be seen preying on small mammals. In the Boreal forest, visitors can see songbirds, spruce goose and owls. The wetlands are home to migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. Loons, trumpeter swans and bald eagles can often be seen in the refuge's aquatic areas.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Although there are many miles of roads within the Refuge, the views obtained from a leisurely car ride are frequently obscured by brush and timber.

  • Camping

    The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has developed campgrounds located along the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area and Swanson River Road. Campgrounds are located on various lakes near hiking and fishing areas. Camping may not exceed fourteen days in a thirty-day period anywhere on the refuge. Campers may not spend more than two consecutive days at the Kenai-Russian River access area, or more than seven consecutive days at Hidden Lake Campground. Backcountry camping is also permitted in the Refuge, at least 1/4 mile away from the Sterling Highway, Ski Hill Road, or Skilak Lake Road.

  • Fishing

    Waters on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge contain salmon, trout, grayling, and char. A fishing license is required to fish in Alaska and these are sold at most tackle shops, grocery, and convenience stores. Along with your license, pick up a copy of the Alaska Sportfishing Regulations and be familiar with rules pertaining to the body of water where you plan to fish and the fish species that you are catching. Be aware of any emergency closures issued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

  • Hiking

    The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge trail system will satisfy hikers of all ages and abilities. Trails vary widely in length and difficulty and take hikers along creeks and rivers, through forests, and to mountain peaks high above the treeline. The majority of the trails are located in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area and are road accessible. Most of the trails are day hikes, but camping is permitted along all trails. Visitors hoping to see wildlife have the best chance of doing so while hiking, and many trails lead to lakes suitable for fishing. For more specific information, Kenai Pathways: A Guide to the Outstanding Wildland Trails of the Kenai Peninsula, is available at both the Visitor Center and the Visitor Contact Station.

  • Historic Sites

    Please contact the park for more information.

  • Hunting

    The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge provides opportunities for subsistence hunting and fishing to qualified users in designated areas within the Refuge.

Seasonality/Weather

Generally, lakes break up in mid-May and stay open until freeze-up in early October. During June through August, temperatures range from a day-time high of 70 degrees F. to the 30's at night. While rainstorms occur throughout the summer, the rainy season is late August through September. Hypothermia conditions exist on rainy, windy 40-50 degree F. days or if canoeists capsize in cold water. Know how to recognize and treat hypothermia. Bring a rain suit and layered wool or polar fleece clothing that will keep your body warm when wet.

Directions

Driving

Driving from Anchorage, take the Seward Highway south to the Sterling Highway; the eastern refuge boundary is at milepost 55 of the Sterling Highway. Another five miles from the boundary is a Visitor Contact Station (open from Memorial Day through Labor Day) and the west entrance to the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. Continuing on to Soldotna will bring you to the refuge visitor center and headquarters, which is found by taking a left onto Funny River Road, then turning right (before the hardware store) onto Ski Hill Road.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(907) 262-7021

Weather

(907) 262-2737

Links