Outdoor Recreation

Soldotna and the surrounding areas have awesome outdoor recreation opportunities! Whether you're interested in fishing, camping, hiking, bird-watching, playing a round of golf, or just communing with nature, our community can offer a wide variety of activities for you.

On the RiverFishing is one of the most popular activities for residents and tourists in our area. The Visitor Center has useful general information on fishing, including a fishing calendar, fish species identification, as well as listings for fishing charters.

For those less inclined to catch a fish, but still want to get out and explore the river, check out the Visitor Center's listings for float trips and rafting adventures!

Another option is to canoe the lakes and river, especially in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Canoeing on the Peninsula requires experienced paddlers who understand techniques to handle wind and can portage as often as paddle. For more information on canoe routes in our area, visit KNWR's canoe information or stop in by KNWR headquarters on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna.

Trails Our community has many trails for walking, running, biking, skiing and snowshoeing.  The city's park system has riverfront boardwalks and developed trails in Soldotna Creek Park, Swiftwater Park, Centennial Park, and Rotary Park. Additionally, stop by A.R.C. Lake Park which offers offers walking trails around a scenic lake.

Tsalteshi Trails, on the city's south side, is a great place to visit year-round for outdoor activities. This system of trails is owned by the Kenai Peninsula Borough and managed by a nonprofit organization.  During the summer, Tsalteshi is open to runners, walkers, and bikers -- and is dog-friendly.  During the winter, leave the pets at home and visit the trails to cross-country ski or snowshoe (only on certain trails). For more information, visit the Tsalteshi homepage and the Trail Etiquette Page.

For long-distance runs, walks, or bike rides, check out the Unity Trail, which connects the city of Soldotna to the Kalifornsky Beach community along K-Beach Road. At the intersection with Bridge Access Road in Kenai, travelers can take a right, down Bridge Access, to reach downtown Kenai or stop at the Kenai River Flats scenic overlook. To access the Unity Trail, visitors can park at the Soldotna Visitor Center/Chamber of Commerce.

HikingThe Kenai Peninsula is home to some of the best hiking opportunities in Alaska - you can see wildlife, oceans, rivers, glaciers, and mountains right in our backyard. For some great suggestions and ideas on hiking in the area, take a look at these sites:

CampingThe city's Parks and Recreation Department maintains two camping facilities - Centennial and Swiftwater - with access to fishing in the Kenai River. Our community also has many private RV parks and campgrounds. For more information on these offerings, check out the listings on Visit Soldotna.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge also has 16 cabins in the wilderness (make reservations).

GolfBirch Ridge Golf Course is located right off the Sterling Highway in Soldotna.

Helpful TipsLayered clothing is recommended during your visit. You can find yourself warm one minute and in need of a sweater the next. For summer be sure to pack a sweater and a coat (a water resistant coat is good if you plan to camp or fish). Clothing tends to be more on the casual side. If you are visiting in the fall or winter, bring a warm/insulated coat, hat, gloves, and winter boots. Soldotna experiences mild summers and relatively warm winters for its northern latitude. January average temperatures range from 4° F to 22° F, while July temperatures average from 44° F to 65° F.  In the summer months, rain clouds can appear any time - so pack an umbrella and a raincoat or poncho as well.

Businesses in town rent bikes, fat tire bikes, canoes, skis, etc. For more information on these services, call the Soldotna Visitor Center/Chamber of Commerce at 907.262.9812.

For day hiking, KNWR recommends the following:

  • Water and high-calorie food
  • Clothing: sturdy shoes, rain gear, and different layers which you can add or take off as needed. Wool and polar fleece are good choices because they keep you warm when wet.
  • Pocket knife
  • Map and compass
  • First aid kit
  • Waterproof matches
  • Whistle Pocketknife
  • Bug repellent
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen
  • Camera, binoculars, and field guides