Cooper Landing is located deep in the heart of the beautiful Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, at the confluence of the Kenai River and Kenai Lake. It is a popular summer tourist spot for visitors looking to explore the Chugach National Forest or fish for salmon along the Upper and Lower Kenai and Russian Rivers. A variety of wilderness excursion companies offer land, air, and sea tours embarking from the city.
1.Russian River Falls
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Russian River Falls is a waterfall located along the Russian River in the Kenai Peninsula, accessible via the moderately-trafficked 5.1-mile round-trip Russian Lakes Trail. The trail is accessible from the Russian River Campground off the Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing and is recommended for hikers of all ability levels and ages due to its even gravel path and modest elevation changes. At the falls, hikers can view wild sockeye salmon leaping near the waterfall during the peak June and July viewing season. There is also potential for black and brown bear sightings at the falls, so visitors should exercise proper wildlife interaction habits and precautions.
Seward, AK 99664, Phone: 907-224-3374
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Skyline Trail is a three-mile hiking trail near Cooper Landing, located along the Sterling Highway. The moderately difficult trail showcases steep elevations, reaching a maximum elevation gain of 1,600 feet, and is a popular day hike excursion between April and October. Scenic views are provided at the trail’s summit and at its popular Saddle stop, located a few hundred feet below the top of the trail. Berry picking and wildlife watching are popular on the trail, and a nearby lake offers swimming access. A sign-in book is provided at the top of the trail, which provides views as far away as Anchorage on clear days. Visitors should note that bear sightings are possible along the trail and should exercise proper caution when interacting with wildlife.
17946 Sterling Highway Cooper Landing, Alaska 99572, Phone: 907-595-8888
3.Kenai River Float-n-Fish
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Kenai River Float-n-Fish was opened in 2004 by longtime fishing enthusiasts John and Heather Pearson and offers seasonal guided drift boat fishing and sailing trips along the Upper and Middle Kenai Rivers and Kenai Lake. In addition to tours, the company has also offered rental riverfront lodging at the Pearsons’ private Upper Kenai River residence since 2015, serving as an alternative to Cooper Landing’s limited lodging options in town. The one-acre property is available for rental June through September, requiring a three-night minimum stay and sleeping up to six guests. Stay-and-fish lodging and tour packages are also available for up to four guests, with one or two days of guided fishing included with cottage stay.
18251 Sterling Hwy, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-595-3505
4.Five Dogs Fishing
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Five Dogs Fishing is owned by career fishing enthusiasts Adam and Danette Snyder and offers guided drift boat fishing excursions along a seven-mile stretch of the Upper Kenai River. The company specializes in salmon, trout, and char fishing, with catch-and-release policies enforced for trout and char catches. Guided fly and spin fishing tours are available, with tackles and flies provided by the company. All tours exercise ethical, sustainable fishing practices and provide cover umbrellas for inclement weather conditions. Private boat options are also available for four, six, and eight hour excursions. Special discounted rates are offered for boat passengers who are not interested in fishing during excursions.
PO Box 912, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-598-3525
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Kenai Riverdog is a personalized rafting excursion company that offers small group trips along the Kenai Peninsula embarking from Cooper Landing. The company was opened in 2008 by Kayce James and offers seasonal excursions along the Kenai River in Class 1 rapids areas, allowing for safe, gentle scenic excursions. Tours accommodate groups of up to six participants and are offered between June and September, spanning distances between seven and 12 miles along the river. Custom floats are also available upon request, including birthday and bachelorette party floats. Visitors with health concerns should inquire about floats before reservation to make sure that trips will be able to be completed safely.
Kenai River, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-362-3649
6.Alaska River Adventures - Day Tours
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Alaska River Adventures - Day Tours are a privately-owned tour company that specializes in rafting and drift boat fishing excursions throughout the Kenai Peninsula region. The company has been in operation for nearly four decades and offers professionally-recognized tour guides dedicated to high-quality customer service and sustainable eco-tourism methods. Half-day and full-day fishing excursions are available along the Upper Kenai River, offering catch-and-release salmon, trout, and char fishing. Rafting adventures are available for visitors of all ages and offer an in-depth look at the region’s history and wildlife, with opportunities to spot bear and moose. Hiking excursions are also available to sites such as Russian River Falls, and full vacation packages include private log cabin rentals.
35269 King Salmon Dr, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-595-2000
7.Alaska Rivers Company
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Alaska Rivers Company offers a wide variety of outdoor excursion tours along the Kenai Peninsula, including guided fishing and rafting excursions on the Upper Kenai River. The company has been in operation for more than four decades and is one of the region’s longest-operating tour guide companies, providing knowledgeable, experienced guides for all trips. River raft trips explore the National Kenai Wildlife Refuge, while fishing trips offer opportunities to catch sockeye and coho salmon and rainbow trout. Spencer Glacier tours also offer exploration of the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop and Placer River, accessible via an exclusive train ride. The company also rents cozy river cabins for overnight stay along the Upper Kenai River near Cooper Landing.
6782 Sterling Hwy #50, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-595-1226
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Alaska Troutfitters was the vision of the late fly fishing legend Curt Trout Muse, who opened the company in 1984 to allow visitors to experience the wonders of the Kenai River firsthand. Today, the company is operated by fishing students of Muse’s and offers professional guided excursions along the Kenai River. Half-day and full-day trout and salmon fishing excursions are available, including hike-in tour options and flyouts for trout and grayling. The company operates a fully-stocked fly shop which sells a variety of professional-grade fishing equipment, including rods, reels, flies, and accessories. Equipment rentals are also available, along with fishing licenses, apparel, and area river maps. Overnight accommodations are provided at the company’s Alaskan Lodge, which offers homestyle accommodations and an outdoor fire pit and hammock area.
18230 Sterling Hwy, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-595-1212
9.Alaska Horsemen Trail Adventures
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Alaska Horsemen Trail Adventures was opened in 1997 by Alex Kime and offers vacation excursions for individuals, groups, and organizations at its family-operated guest ranch. The ranch specializes in horseback riding excursions in the Alaskan wilderness, including backcountry rides and day excursions. One-room cabin rentals are offered for visitors traveling to the area to explore natural attractions such as Chugach National Forest and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Pack service is also provided by a team of backcountry experts who can serve as tour guides for outdoor adventures. Group rentals and excursions can be planned for weddings, youth camps, and corporate team-building retreats upon request.
35090 Quartz Creek Rd, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-595-1806
10.Cooper Landing Bike Rental
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Cooper Landing Bike Rental is the number one mountain bike and rental outfitter for the Chugach National Forest region, offering bike rentals at its Cooper Landing location since 2012. Bikes may be rented for exploration of the national forest and surrounding wilderness areas, offering opportunities to watch for regional wildlife such as bald eagles, brown and black bears, moose, and coyotes. Maps are provided of the region’s maintained and marked trails. Same-day and overnight rentals are offered, along with a variety of guided excursions to local sites such as Russian River Falls, Crescent Lake, Johnson Pass, and the West Juneau Trail.
35022 Hamilton Rd, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-205-7205
11.Sackett's Kenai Grill
© Sackett's Kenai Grill
Sackett's Kenai Grill is a Cooper Landing restaurant that offers traditional barbecue dishes prepared using slow-smoking techniques. All meats are cooked in small batches with techniques that take at least 24 hours to prepare, creating the freshest, highest-quality barbecue possible. Diners should be aware that meats often sell out early, so lunch dining or takeout is recommended to ensure availability. A wide variety of American fare is also served, including burgers, hot sandwiches, and 14-inch craft pizzas, utilizing locally-sourced organic ingredients whenever possible for a farm-to-table dining experience. The restaurant serves the largest selection of beer offered on draft in Cooper Landing, including brews by local Alaskan microbreweries.
16201 Sterling Hwy, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-595-1827
© Kingfisher Roadhouse
Kingfisher Roadhouse is located in Cooper Landing along the shores of Kenai Lake and is the premiere Alaskan restaurant of the Kenai Peninsula region, operated by executive chef Zach Ostrowski. The restaurant is known for its upscale entrees showcasing Alaskan saltwater fish and seafood and is a popular dining spot for both tourists and local residents. Other popular dishes include its Kingfisher Bleus Burger, which features a bacon, gorgonzola, and onion spread, and its Spicy Pickle Pounder bacon cheeseburger, which is topped with pickled jalapeno pico de gallo. Appetizers, pasta dishes, and homemade desserts are also available, along with an extensive beer and wine list. Live music is showcased several times a month by local jazz musicians, including Bob Parsons and Mario Carbone.
19503 Sterling Hwy, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-595-2861
13.Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge
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Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge offers bungalow-style accommodations near the pristine Kenai River, perfect for serene nature getaways and access to area outdoor adventures. Each lodge room is furnished with amenities such as cable televisions and hair dryers and features private sitting areas, wood-burning stoves, and tranquil personal porches. The lodge’s main building serves gourmet dining at the Rod and Reel Restaurant, which offers a fully-stocked wine cellar, and proves relaxation opportunities at the Rafter’s Lounge, which serves local Alaskan microbrews and craft cocktails. Nearby, the Kenai Nature Trail offers opportunities for guided and self-guided nature hikes and backcountry gold prospecting tours.
17245 Frontier Circle, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-595-1425
14.Sunrise Inn Cafe and Bar
© Sunrise Inn Cafe and Bar
Sunrise Inn Cafe and Bar is a full-service cafe and roadhouse that provides year-round service in Cooper Landing, located along the Sterling Highway at mile marker 45. The restaurant and lodging house was opened in 1952 as Bryson’s Place and has been a local institution for more than 65 years, located close to attractions such as Quartz Creek, the Russian River, and the Kenai Lake boat launch. As the region’s only year-round full-service stop, the Sunrise provides groceries, a gas station, and a cafe serving daily specials for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Its bar offers pool tables, open mic nights, and live music performances, and its pet-friendly 10-room motel features rooms with private baths, refrigerators, satellite televisions, and free wireless internet. An RV park is also offered, along with showers and a private rental cabin.
21849 Sterling Hwy, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-595-1222
Wildman's is a convenience store along the Sterling Highway that was opened to the public in 1997, located at mile marker 47.5 near the western end of Kenai Lake. A wide variety of groceries and convenience goods are sold, including espresso and energy drinks, pre-packaged convenience foods, and Dreyer’s soft-service ice cream. Sundries and toiletries are also available, along with a full-service liquor store that sells beer and liquor produced by local Alaskan breweries and distilleries. Homemade sandwiches and apple fritters are sold, as well as chicken fingers and fried chicken fries. An ATM is also offered on site, along with boat storage, vehicle and trailer shuttles, and a pet-friendly campground offering electric and water hookups.
19194 Sterling Hwy, Cooper Landing, AK 99572, Phone: 907-595-1456
15 Best Things to Do in Cooper Landing, Alaska
- Russian River Falls, Photo: Courtesy of Betty Sederquist - Fotolia.com
- Skyline Trail, Photo: Courtesy of birdiegal - Fotolia.com
- Kenai River Float-n-Fish, Photo: Courtesy of smspsy - Fotolia.com
- Five Dogs Fishing, Photo: Courtesy of Kevin - Fotolia.com
- Kenai Riverdog, Photo: Courtesy of cynoclub - Fotolia.com
- Alaska River Adventures - Day Tours, Photo: Courtesy of schame87 - Fotolia.com
- Alaska Rivers Company, Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Wan - Fotolia.com
- Alaska Troutfitters, Photo: Courtesy of Mat Hayward - Fotolia.com
- Alaska Horsemen Trail Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer - Fotolia.com
- Cooper Landing Bike Rental, Photo: Courtesy of oliviaelisa92 - Fotolia.com
- Sackett's Kenai Grill, Photo: Sackett's Kenai Grill
- Kingfisher Roadhouse, Photo: Kingfisher Roadhouse
- Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge, Photo: Courtesy of JorgeAlexis - Fotolia.com
- Sunrise Inn Cafe and Bar, Photo: Sunrise Inn Cafe and Bar
- Wildman's, Photo: Wildman's
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of mtnmichelle - Fotolia.com