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Overview

Just an hour south of Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula is popular both with tourists and as a weekend destination for Anchorageites. Several small cities provide services: Seward, Soldotna, Kenai, and Homer, but the big attractions are natural. Most of the peninsula lies within Chugach National Forest, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Kachemak Bay State Park, and virtually all of this is undeveloped. The Kenai Mountains form a snowy backbone, while the Harding Icefield feeds a multitude of active glaciers. Winters bring snow and cold to the Kenai, and many parts of Chugach National Forest and the Kenai Refuge are ...

Just an hour south of Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula is popular both with tourists and as a weekend destination for Anchorageites. Several small cities provide services: Seward, Soldotna, Kenai, and Homer, but the big attractions are natural. Most of the peninsula lies within Chugach National Forest, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Kachemak Bay State Park, and virtually all of this is undeveloped. The Kenai Mountains form a snowy backbone, while the Harding Icefield feeds a multitude of active glaciers. Winters bring snow and cold to the Kenai, and many parts of Chugach National Forest and the Kenai Refuge are open to snowmachines. Especially popular are the Caribou Hills, Resurrection Trail, and Alaska's best-known snowmobiling area, Turnagain Pass. Dog mushing, hockey, ice-skating, and snowshoeing are popular with locals. Cross-country skiers will discover fine groomed trails in Soldotna and Seward. The town of Homer has some of the state's most interesting groomed trails in three different locations, and hosts a grueling ski marathon each spring. Backcountry skiers and snowshoers head into the Kenai Mountains for untrammeled adventures. Avalanche deaths occur almost every year in the Kenai backcountry, so anyone heading out on skis or snowmobiles should check the avalanche report first. Seward's Polar Bear Jump-Off in January attracts the costumed crazies who leap into the 39° water of Resurrection Bay (it's all for charity).

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Don Pitcher for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Days are longest and snow cover often the deepest in March.