Bald Eagles

Kenai Peninsula, Alaska – 2020

Kenai Peninsula, Alaska - 2020

x or “Kenaitze Indian Tribe”, the name of the Kahtnuht’ana Dena’ina (“People along the Kenai River”). This Athabascan Native tribe of Alaska once occupied the area. Yaghanen was the name given to the Kenai Peninsula (“the good land”).

Geography of the Kenai Peninsula

Tern Lake in the Alaskan Kenai Peninsula

The Chugach Mountains, south of Anchorage, are about 150 miles southwest of the peninsula. Cook Inlet separates it from the mainland to the west, while Prince William Sound separates it to the east. The Kenai Peninsula Borough encompasses the majority of the peninsula. Although Athabaskan and Alutiiq natives have lived on the peninsula for thousands of years, Gerasim Izmailov was the first European to discover and map it in 1789. The Kenai Mountains, which are covered in glaciers, stretch along along the southeast spine of the peninsula, along the Gulf Coast of Alaska. Kenai Fjords National Park encompasses much of the range. The northwest shore of Cook Inlet is flatter and more marshy, with several small lakes dotting the landscape. Several larger lakes, including Lake Skilak and Lake Tustumena, cross the interior of the peninsula. The rivers include the Kenai River and its tributaries, the Russian River, the Kasilof River, and the Anchor River. Kachemak Bay, a minor inlet off the larger Cook’s Bay, extends to the southwestern tip of the peninsula, much of which is included in Kachemak Bay State Park. To the east and south of the Kenai Peninsula there are several glaciers. It is home to the Sargent and Harding Icefields, as well as countless glaciers that have grown out of them.

Story From the Kenai Peninsula

church
The historic Russian Orthodox Church of the Transfiguration of God in the Kenai Peninsula

Looking back a few centuries, the Kenai Peninsula has a great deal of human history to uncover. Captain Cook surveyed this area in the late 1800s. Russians inhabited areas of the eastern shore, leaving an indelible mark, including many Russian Orthodox churches, one of which is over 200 years old. Native Alaskans thrived on Kenai’s abundant land and sea resources. Gold, petroleum and coal all played a significant role in the creation of today’s peninsula throughout the previous century. The gold gave prospectors optimism and spurred construction of the Alaska Railroad, which began in Seward. On a river in the north of the peninsula, “black gold” (oil) was discovered.

Climate From the Kenai Peninsula

Exit Glacier in Alaska

The peninsula has a relatively mild coastal climate with considerable rainfall. It is one of the few agricultural locations in Alaska, with a growing season long enough to produce hay and a variety of other crops. It receives an average rainfall of 10.8 mm, with an average high temperature of 12°C and an average low temperature of 2°C every year.

Population Ath economy From the Kenai Peninsula

Aerial view of downtown Seward on the Kenai Peninsula

According to the most recent United States census statistics, the estimated population of Kenai Peninsula, Alaska is 59,149, with a growth rate of 0.25% from the previous year. Kenai Peninsula County is the fifth largest county in Alaska. The population in 2010 was 55,554, with an increase of 6.47% since then. Oil and gas is Alaska’s largest non-governmental business, accounting for 38% of all state wages. Several oil and gas companies on the peninsula have the highest assessed value of any property, directly benefiting the community through property tax revenue. According to self-employment and sales tax statistics, the borough also has 30 to 50 mining and quarrying companies.

Attractions at The Kenai Peninsula

Soldotna Creek Park

This lovely park along the turquoise Kenai River hosts community events, features a boardwalk, river access, playground, and more. There’s an ice loop for skating and animal cutouts with white twinkling lights.

Alaska Marine Life Center

Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the state’s first public aquarium and the state’s only permanent marine wildlife rehabilitation center. Visitors can see sea lions, harbor seals, puffins, and other wildlife.

Kenai Beach

Kenai Beach, Alaska

Kenai Beach may not be the sun and sand beach that people anticipate in other parts of the world, but it is a fascinating place to explore. Visitors can watch fishermen and gillnets catching fish in the creek as the boats sail away. They might even see some wildlife since the area is home to whales, bald eagles and seals. When the tide is out, it’s a beautiful area to walk around and admire the rock pools and shoreline, and the Alaskan mountains in the distance.

North Peninsula Recreation Center

If you are traveling with children, this leisure center is a must. This allows them to indulge in some indoor activities or just rest while the youngsters have fun. There is a heated swimming pool with a slide, a small section for younger children and a heated swimming pool for adults. On warm days, you can enjoy a jogging trail, picnic area, and baseball diamond. So whatever the weather, there’s something to keep youngsters engaged.

Resurrection Pass Hiking Trail

resurrection creek valley, alaska
Resurrection Creek Valley, Alaska

This huge path is over 38 miles long and is ideal for people who want to camp and hike or bike the full length. At several points along the route, small huts can be rented. Visitors can hike, stay in a cabin, and then do other hikes.

Kenai Fjords National Park

kenai fjords
Porcupine Bay in the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

The Harding Icefield is 714 square miles of ice up to a mile thick that feeds more than three dozen glaciers that erupt from the beautiful mountains, six of which reach the tide. It offers a unique opportunity to see spectacular blue tidal glaciers up close, as well as stunning marine life. Hiking the exceptionally spectacular trail from Exit Glacier to Harding Icefield, a challenging journey that hugs the glacier and offers stunning vistas of massive seracs and deep glacial crevasses, is one of the best things to do there.

Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island Harbor
Boats and marina harbor on Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island is famous for its bears, which number over 3,500. Some of the males can weigh over 1,500 pounds and stand over 10 feet tall – definitely a sight to behold. Since there are no roads inside the refuge, travelers must rely on air charters or excursions offered by various hotels in Seward, Homer, and other places on the peninsula.

Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula has it all, from towering peaks and dramatic glaciers to brilliant fjords, beautiful national parks and abundant wildlife including whales, dolphins, seals, bears, eagles, white head, etc.