Kenai Lake, Alaska, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Kenai Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Kenai Lake
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Kenai Lake Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Kenai Lake Gifts
Looking for Kenai Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Kenai Lake
One of the largest glacial lakes in the Kenai River System, Kenai Lake is a beautiful lake in a road-accessible area of Alaska. The backdrop of the majestic Kenai Mountains and its proximity to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge make Kenai Lake a great wilderness getaway.
Boomerang shaped Kenai Lake is 22 miles long and over 540 feet deep. It is fed by several glacial tributaries including the Snowy and Trail Rivers. The outlet of the lake forms the headwaters of the Kenai River. The Kenai River is 82 miles long, passing through Skilak Lake to its outlet at Cook Inlet. The Kenai River has all five species of Pacific salmon, and the section on the Kenai River between Skilak Lake and Kenai Lake is an important spawning ground for Chinook salmon. The salmon over winter in Kenai Lake. There are huge king and silver salmon in the River, and in 1985 a 97 pound salmon was caught on the Kenai River.
Kenai Lake also has abundant populations of rainbow trout, lake trout, and Dolly Varden, a type of char. Anglers can fish from the bank or by boat. Motorboats are allowed on the lake as are personal watercraft with some restrictions. The lake and sections of the Kenai River are particularly well known for kayaking, and there are several outfitters in the area that offer raft trips.
Cooper Landing is on the west end of Kenai Lake. Named for Joseph Cooper who found gold in the area in 1884, Cooper Landing is the self proclaimed “Gem of the Kenai.” In addition to multiple fishing guides and boating services, there are spas, restaurants and shopping. Accommodations range from camping, including some on the shore of Kenai Lake, to cabins, bed and breakfasts, and resorts. The Cooper Landing Boat Launch is at the outlet of Kenai Lake. Cooper Landing also has the oldest known prehistoric site on the Kenai Peninsula, and visitors can explore the history of the area’s indigenous people at K’Beq Footprints, a cultural heritage site of the Kenaitze Indians.
The area around Kenai Lake has trails for horseback riding and mountain biking, with snowmobiling from December 1 through April 30. The surrounding Kenai Mountains are home to mountain goats and Dall sheep, and it is not uncommon to see bald eagles soaring over the lake. The lake is also near the Chugach Mountains. Just a few miles down the scenic Sterling Highway, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is almost 2 million acres of Alaska wilderness. Originally established as the Kenai National Moose Range in 1941 by President Roosevelt, it has been called a “miniature Alaska” by some. The refuge has examples of every major habitat type in Alaska, and it has abundant wildlife including black and brown bear, wolves, coyotes, lynx, and the moose it was named for. In 1980 the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act renamed the range the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
With the beautiful Kenai National Wildlife Refuge just a few miles down the road and the majestic Kenai Mountains in the background, Kenai Lake is a fantastic Alaska getaway. Adding the amenities of Cooper Landing and easy accessibility will ensure a getaway that is sure to please all visitors.
Things to Do at Kenai Lake
- Vacation Rentals
- Cabin Rentals
- Horseback Riding
- Wildlife Viewing
- National Wildlife Refuge
Fish Species Found at Kenai Lake
- Chinook Salmon
- Coho Salmon
- Dolly Varden Trout
- Lake Trout
- Rainbow Trout
Find Places to Stay at Kenai Lake
If you’re considering a Kenai Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Recommended Sites to Book a Kenai Lake Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Kenai Lake lodging partners.
- VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
- Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
- Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
- Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
- TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
- Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
- KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
- RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
- CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Kenai Lake Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed
Surface Area: 13,813 acres
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 433 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 443 feet
Average Depth: 299 feet
Maximum Depth: 541 feet
Lake Area-Population: 369
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Shop Kenai Lake Gifts
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