Traveling To Alaska

Traveling to Alaska is much less difficult than you might think. Simply fly into Anchorage, rent a car or take a commuter flight to the town of Kenai, and rent a car from there.

The drive from Anchorage to the town of Soldotna (mid-point Kenai River) is 150 miles and takes approximately 2.5-3 hours. The drive is very straightforward and travels the beautiful Seward Highway, which meanders through some spectacular scenery including the Turnagain Arm mudflats, Chugach mountain passes, Kenai River headwaters, and eventually the boreal forest and coastline of the lower Kenai River.


From Anchorage, you will follow Highway 1 South on the Kenai Peninsula 140 miles to the town of Sterling.

On the way: Just outside of Anchorage, you will follow Hwy 1 between the Chugach Mountains and the waters of Turnagain Arm. Watch for Dall sheep in the steep rock faces adjacent to the road.

Drive a little farther and you will reach Portage glacier. Portage is Alaska’s most land accessible glacier and is located just 52 miles outside of Anchorage. The viewing station and visitors center is a must- stop for taking an awe-inspiring look at this massive ice field.

From Portage you will continue down Hwy 1 and soon enter the Kenai Peninsula. Brimming over the 988-foot Turnagain Pass, and criss-crossing deep into the Kenai Mountains, the road eventually splits. The Sterling Hwy (which remains Hwy 1) travels south to Sterling, Soldotna and eventually Homer. The Seward Hwy continues on toward to the beautiful coastal community of Seward.

After the Sterling Hwy cutoff, you will immediately enter the headwaters and eventually the upper reaches of the fabled Kenai River. Numerous mountain creeks swollen from melting snow and retreating glaciers crash their way into Kenai Lake, a turquoise jewel that marks the Kenai Rivers’ emerald green beginnings. From Kenai Lake, the road follows the swift flows of the Kenai River through the town of Cooper Landing and past its legendary confluence with the Russian River.

Several miles after passing through the Cooper Landing area, the road leaves the river and enters a small mountainous pass before spilling down into the low lying, boreal forest of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The vegetation is very thick and the terrain mostly flat. To see the abundant wildlife inside the forest walls, you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled. Moose and eagles are almost a guarantee, but animals such as wolves and bears are much more elusive.

After leaving the mountains, the road will take you an additional 30 minutes to the town of Sterling and soon after, the town of Soldotna. Eleven miles apart, these two towns are the heart of Kenai River salmon fishing. Centrally located to all of the Kenai Peninsulas’ attractions, the Sterling/Soldotna area is an excellent area to base your Alaska fishing trip. With modern stores and a variety of restaurants, a touch of civilization in this otherwise vast wilderness is very convenient.

As you may have already concluded, renting a car and exploring the Kenai Peninsula is one of the best ways to travel through Alaska. You can see nearly everything Alaska has to offer. From breathtaking scenery, world-class sportfishing, and abundant wildlife, the Kenai has it all. Most people could spend an entire summer just exploring the Kenai Peninsula and barely unravel its countless opportunities. By the time you are ready to leave you’ll already be planning your return trip to Alaska!

Driving directions from Anchorage to our Kenai River Base


Ravn Alaska and Grant Aviation are the sole commuter airlines providing service from Anchorage to Kenai. Their flights run almost hourly, and the duration of the flight is 20 minutes.

If you are pressed for time or prefer to avoid the drive, these Anchorage to Kenai commuter flights are very convenient.

From Kenai, you are a short 20 minute drive to the Soldotna. Several major car rental companies are available from the Kenai Airport.