Camping near Cooper Landing

Cooper Landing is surrounded by mountains, wilderness, and rushing rivers where wild salmon await.

88% (5 reviews)
88% (5 reviews)

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Camping near Cooper Landing guide


It’s hard to beat this location for outdoor recreation on the Kenai Peninsula. Cooper Landing is the jumping-off point for many rafting and fishing trips, and is central to many Alaskan hiking and wildlife opportunities. The outlet for Kenai Lake is adjacent to town, and the road system connects to Seward, Soldotna, and the primary hubs on the peninsula. Anchorage is two hours to the north with an international airport that delivers visitors to rental vehicles and transportation for this area, Denali National Park, and much more. If you want to explore Alaska where roads meet wild spaces, Coopers Landing is a great basecamp.

Where to go

Kenai River

Explore the Kenai River from shore, or better yet, book a whitewater rafting trip. While the lower river is broad and mellow, the upper stretches have powerful, thrilling rapids. If rafting isn’t enough, try out the world-class salmon and trout fishing—king and sockeye salmon are abundant in peak summer months, and coho are entering August through October. Fill your freezer with fresh fish while enjoying the boat ride on a wild river system.

Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area (KMTA)

This is a large area on the Kenai Peninsula that includes Cooper Landing, Seward, and the many mountains, glaciers, and valleys in the region. Explore historic mining camps and fishing camps important to the history of Alaska.

Skilak Lake Drive

For wildlife viewing and stellar scenery, the Skilak Lake Drive is a wonderful option near Cooper Landing. At just under 20 miles, it’s not a long drive but you can certainly take your time, spending a few hours stopping to watch bears, moose, and wildlife along the route. Views of big peaks and glaciers are also prominent on clear days. Here you’ll find camping options plus several boat launches, trails, and access to other lakes with overlooks off the road.

Area Hiking Trails

Hiking trails around Cooper Landing give visitors numerous options for remote lake access, peak climbing, and hiking adventures. Consider hitting Devil’s Pass Trail for 10 miles that are both mountain bike- and hiker-friendly. The Ptarmigan Lake trail is another great option, as is the unique Crown Point Mine trail. To experience the best of the Kenai Peninsula mountains on foot, there are endless hiking trails and backcountry areas to roam.

When to go

There isn’t a bad time to visit Cooper Landing, so planning a trip really depends on your activity preferences. Summer is perfect for fishing, rafting, and boating on the lake or rivers in the area, when long days and plenty of daylight make it easy to spend time outside. Good fishing continues into the fall, and although winter brings cold weather, recreation continues on the ice and snow. Take a winter dog sledding trip, snowshoe or ski the trails, snowmobile through wide open valleys, and enjoy starlit skies with the occasional northern lights display.

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