Kenai River Geography

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The Kenai River is a glacier-fed river running past the bustling town of Soldotna, in south central Alaska. The river drains the central Kenai Peninsula region. Its source is the Kenai Lake close to Cooper Landing, Alaska. Not far from Cooper Landing the lake narrows and creates the river. About 11 miles from the Kenai lake, the river rushes through Kenai Canyon. It’s maelstorm of fast-flowing white water rapids. Russian River empties into the Kenai River to the east of Cooper Landing.

About 18 miles from Kenai Lake, the river flows into Skilak Lake. Section of the river from Kenai Lake to Skilak Lake is called the Upper River. The 20 mile section from Skilak Lake to the Sterling Highway bridge at Soldotna is called the Mid-River. The final 20 miles from the Sterling Bridge to Cook Inlet is called the Lower River. The water flow in the lower river is more placid than the other two sections. The final 12 miles stretch of the Kenai river varies greatly with the tide from the Gulf of Alaska..

The Kenai River is where the world’s largest King Salmon was caught. Soldotna is on the banks for the Kenai and is famous as a center for world class fishing. We have fabulous accommodations and restaurants. Make Soldotna your home base while visiting Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, you’ll enjoy the best of our beautiful Alaska right here on the banks of the Kenai river. You’ll enjoy wildlife viewing, flightseeing, fly rod fishing, moose, bear viewing, bird watching, horseback riding, canoe trips, hiking trips, winter recreation, shopping, and gourmet dining in Soldotna, Alaska!

Stop by the Visitor Center in Soldotna for information and brochures on the Kenai Peninsula region. View a variety of animal exhibits. You can see the world record King Salmon, or you can take a pleasant walk on the walkways along the Kenai River.