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The Kenai Peninsula
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The Kenai Peninsula


Kenai National Wildlife Refuge & Chugach National Forest

Seward Highway (AK1/AK9)--Seward to Portage



Kenai Fjords National Park

Sterling Highway (AK1)--Seward Highway Junction to Homer

Northwest Kenai





Kachemak Bay State Park and State Wilderness Area


Kachemak Bay State Park and State Wilderness Area

Location/Size: Southeast of Homer across Kachemak Bay. 328,290 acres within Chugach National Forest.

Main Activities: Wilderness exploration, hiking, boating, kayaking, fishing, camping, mountaineering.

Gateway Towns/Getting There: Homer/vehicle access via Seward Highway (AK 1), scheduled ferry from Kodiak and Seward, scheduled air service from Anchorage; Seldovia/scheduled and chartered water taxi service from Homer.

Park Access: Charter and tour boat from Seldovia and Homer; charter air service from Homer; kayak from Homer and Seldovia.

Facilities, Camping, Lodging: Ranger station at head of Halibut Cove. Six designated campgrounds in Halibut Cove area, most on the shores of the cove. One public-use cabin (contact headquarters for information, see above). Primitive camping elsewhere.

Headquarters and Information: Kenai Area South District Office, Mile 168.5, Seward Highway, Homer, 235-7024; Halibut Cove Ranger Station (summer only), 235-6999; Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (Kenai Area Office), 262-5581; Department of Natural Resources, Public Information Center, 3601 C Street, Suite 200, Anchorage, AK 99510-7001, 269-8400.

The Kenai Mountains stretch southwestward to the end of the Kenai Peninsula between Kachemak Bay and the Gulf of Alaska. The inner half of this non-federal land is preserved in Kachemak Bay State Park and Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park. There is little distinction between the two parks (both are roadless), though unlike the wilderness park, the regular park encompasses several private parcels, most along the coast of Kachemak Bay.

The parks are a favorite destination of local residents. The most popular area is Halibut Cove (the cove, not the village), only about 8 water miles from the tip of Homer Spit. Halibut Cove offers the parks’ only trails—basically a single winding 10-mile path that parallels the east shore of the cove and a series of small lakes to the south, and several short spur trails that lead to 2,000-foot peaks, ridges, lakes, and glacier views. There are five designated campsites on the cove and one on Leisure Lake, as well as several small private parcels and campsites. A summer-only ranger station is at the head of the cove, close to the area’s one public cabin (call for information; see details below).

Outside of Halibut Cove, the park is undeveloped. Ridge walking and cross-glacier hikes are possible activities, as is sea kayaking in Kachemak Bay, Port Dick, and the Nuka Passage.

Rocky River Road crosses the peninsula along the park boundary, heading south from Seldovia. The road once provided access to the southwestern tip of the peninsula, including Rocky and Windy Bays and a trailhead at road’s end that leads 4 miles to Port Chatham. It is now basically impassable due to washouts and downed bridges. All of the land along the road is state (non-park), native corporation, or private. Outfitters are mostly in Homer, though Seldovia has some offerings (see the Appendix).

The Town of Halibut Cove

Located at the mouth of Halibut Cove on Ismailof Island, this little artists colony was once an important center for the thriving herring fishery of Kachemak Bay. About 80 people live here, and only around 10,000 guests are permitted to visit each summer. A few blocks of boardwalk host some galleries and the excellent Saltry Restaurant (296-2223). The Saltry’s menu includes fresh and international specials, pasta, chowders, and fresh mussels. Breads are baked in-house, and salads come from local gardens. Reservations are recommended. For information on the village, call 235-7847.

The way to get to Halibut Cove from Homer is via "Danny J" Tours (reserve via Central Charters, 907/235-7847). A charming old fishing boat covers the 5 miles from the Homer Spit to Halibut Cove on two daily RT voyages throughout the summer—at noon for day trips with a 4 p.m. return, or at 5 p.m. for residents, Saltry diners, and overnight guests. Jakolof Ferry Service (see the Appendix) operates a daily boat from Jakolof Dock.