Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, south of Anchorage, has been labeled the playground of southcentral Alaska. It is a favorite destination for Alaskans and visitors from Outside, who are drawn by its incomparable scenery and variety of fishing opportunities on the Kenai, Russian and Kasilof rivers, and in Resurrection Bay, Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet.
The Seward Highway provides access to the Kenai Peninsula from Anchorage. Completed in 1951, the Seward Highway (Alaska Routes 1 and 9) winds along the north shore of Turnagain Arm, crossing the isthmus that separates the Kenai Peninsula from the rest of southcentral Alaska some 52 miles south of Anchorage. Without the “Welcome to the Kenai Peninsula” sign at Milepost S 75, motorists probably would never notice they had crossed onto a peninsula, having left behind the urban setting of Anchorage just 45 miles up the Seward Highway.
Once the Seward Highway crosses onto the Kenai Peninsula, it first climbs to Turnagain Pass, a stunning alpine area that is a favorite winter recreation area as well as a summer viewpoint. Beyond Turnagain Pass at Milepost S 56.3, the Seward Highway junctions with the 18-mile Hope Highway, which leads to the historic mining town of Hope on the south shore of Turnagain Arm.
The Sterling Highway is the other major highway on the Kenai Peninsula. The Sterling Highway begins at its junction with the Seward Highway at Milepost S 37, Tern Lake Junction, 90 miles south of Anchorage. (It is at this junction that the Seward Highway becomes Alaska Route 9.) From here, the Sterling Highway (Alaska Route 1) travels 57 miles west to Cook Inlet, before turning south and following the west coast of the Kenai Peninsula 85 miles to the scenic town of Homer on Kachemak Bay. (This stretch of highway offers magnificent views across Cook Inlet of 3 active volcanoes: Redoubt, Iliamna and Augustine.) Across from Homer are the settlements of Halibut Cove and Seldovia, both accessible by boat.
The Sterling Highway provides access to the communities of Cooper Landing, Soldotna, Kenai (via the Kenai Spur Road), Kasilof, Clam Gulch, Ninilchik and Anchor Point. The Sterling Highway also provides access to the world-famous Kenai River and Russian River, Kasilof River and Anchor River, considered to be some of Alaska’s most popular fishing rivers.
Hiking and canoeing are 2 equally well-known pursuits on the Kenai Peninsula, and the Sterling Highway provides access to the popular Resurrection North Pass Trail and to canoe trails in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Homer is a jump-off point for trips to: the charming waterfront community of Seldovia and visitor center, accessible by air and by state ferry and private ferry; the artist’s community of Halibut Cove on the east shore of Kachemak Bay, accessible by private ferry; as well as parks and wilderness areas around Kachemak Bay, Kodiak Island by state ferry or via flight from Anchorage, and other points by charter air taxi or water taxi.
Detailed information about the attractions of the Kenai Peninsula, including the geography, history, communities, wildlife, fishing, camping and other recreation, is found in the current edition of The MILEPOST®.