Day Trips while you visit Soldotna
Soldotna is home to the world record King salmon, so if you like to fish, Soldotna is where you’ll want to be. The famous Kenai River runs right through our city and there are many Kenai River Guides who would love to take you fishing. There are also bird viewing and wildlife trips available on the river. Flightseeing is available from Soldotna as well as canoe trips, hiking trips, specialty shopping, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. Be sure to stop at the Visitor Information Center for complete information on the area. We offer maps, friendly advice and information on over 500 businesses. Also, next door to the Visitor Center is our Homesteader Museum, a must see for the historical buffs. Across the street is the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and they offer free movies and hiking trails.
SKILAK WILDLIFE RECREATION AREA (20 miles from Soldotna)
Head north on the Sterling Highway to mile 75.2 and drive the Skilak Lake Loop Road, which loops south, through the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area to campgrounds, trails and fishing spots. This 19.1-mile road is a favorite for the locals because of its beauty and wildlife viewing. The loop comes back out on the Sterling Highway at mile 58. Then head north again on the Sterling Highway to mile 52.6, Russian River Falls Trail. The 3-mile trail takes you to the viewing platform for the falls, which is a good place to view jumping salmon and maybe a brown bear or two.
CITY OF KENAI and CAPTAIN COOK STATE PARK
Head east of Soldotna to the city of Kenai, which is located right on Cook Inlet…what a view. From Soldotna take the Spur Highway north to mile 11.5 and check out the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center, which hosts an incredible museum, movies, and a wealth of information on the area. They will also let you know if the Beluga whales have been spotted from Kenai. Continue north on the Kenai Spur Highway all the way to Captain Cook State Park. You might want to bring a picnic with you so you can sit there and enjoy the breathtaking view of Cook Inlet. There is also a hiking trail, beach combing and campfire circle. On the way back, stop at the North Peninsula Recreation Nikiski Pool at mile 23.4. You’ll find a 136′ waterslide, hot tub, and an indoor warm water pool. When leaving Kenai, be sure to drive back to Soldotna by way of Bridge Access Road and K-Beach. The flats along Bridge Access are a favorite hang out for the local caribou herd.
CLAM GULCH/NINILCHIK (40 miles from Soldotna)
Check the tide books and see if the tides are right for digging razor clams. Head south on the Sterling Highway to Clam Gulch and get in on the action (you do need a sport fishing license to dig). Or maybe you want to check out the halibut and salmon fishing from Ninilchik. There are many guides available, but you do need to make reservations and find out when they are launching, as it is dependent on the tides. The panoramic view of Mount Redoubt, Mount Iliamna and Mount Spur across Cook Inlet are well worth the trip.
HOMER (78 miles from Soldotna)
A trip to Homer is a must. Head south on the Sterling Highway to Anchor River (milepost 155). At milepost 156.9, you’ll want to turn off the Sterling Highway on to the Old Sterling Highway which ends up being the most westerly point on the U.S. Road System and provides access to the Anchor River recreation area. Get back on the Sterling Highway and head south again. You’ll be in Homer at milepost 168. Stop at the Homer Visitor Information Center at milepost 173.1 for complete information on the area. The Pratt Museum is located at 3779 Bartlett Street and is highly recommended. Homer is also known for its many artists, so be sure to visit some of the art galleries. The Homer Spit offers a series of boardwalks which houses shops, charter services, food outlets, gift shops, etc. Sightseeing tours are also available from the Spit, which take you to Seldovia, Halibut Cove, etc. and guarantee an abundance of wildlife and hospitality.
SEWARD (95 miles from Soldotna)
Head north on the Sterling Highway until you reach the Seward Highway. Hang a right and drive to Seward. Stop at the Visitor Information Center located at mile 2. You will certainly want to visit the Alaska Sealife Center and view the sea animals. Plan on taking one of the wildlife and glacier cruises through Kenai Fjords National Park. They vary in length and amenities offered. You would probably want to have reservations ahead of time. On your way out of town, be sure to turn left at milepost 3.7 and follow Exit Glacier Road to the visitor center parking area. Exit Glacier is the most accessible of the park’s glaciers and is truly amazing.
COOPER LANDING (48 miles from Soldotna)
Head north on the Sterling Highway, when you reach Cooper Landing, you’ll want to get on one of the Kenai River Rafting trips for a beautiful trip down the famous Kenai River. Other activities in this area include horseback trips through the beautiful Cooper Landing Mountains, a Kenai Lake trip, kayaking, fly-fishing and hiking.