Entrance to Kenai Princess Lodge lobby.

Cooper Landing Alaska

A mountain valley gem at the heart of the Kenai Peninsula.

Mother moose and her cub cross the Kenai River in Cooper Landing Alaska.

Cooper Landing Alaska

A mountain valley gem at the heart of the Kenai Peninsula.

Binoculars are handy for wildlife viewing.

Cooper Landing Alaska

A mountain valley gem at the heart of the Kenai Peninsula.

Cooper Landing

Cooper Landing came into existence like so many other Alaskan communities: Someone found gold. In this case, it was a prospector by the name of Joseph Cooper who staked the first successful claim in the late 1800s. Cooper Landing remained an outpost until it was connected by road to Anchorage in 1951. And yet, even today, only about 300 residents call Cooper Landing home year-round, although the population grows considerably during the summer months.

Cooper Landing sits at the headwaters of the Kenai River, Alaska's world-famous sport fishing river. Every summer, tens of thousands of salmon travel up the river from the Cook Inlet to spawn in their home waterways. The river is best known for kings, but all four species of salmon populate its waters, as do sizeable rainbow trout.

The town stretches for about eight miles along the Sterling Highway, tucked between a steep mountainside and the Kenai River. The landscape is quite beautiful. Come summer, the valley turns a lush green, a vibrant complement to the aqua-blue river water.

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While the town offers several smaller lodging choices like bed and breakfasts, motels, and cabins, we heartily recommend the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. Nestled on a mountainside above the Kenai River, the lodge features bungalow style rooms with private sun porches and wood stoves. Add outdoor hot tubs, onsite restaurants, and mountain view decks, and you will see why the lodge is a top choice.

Many local outfitters run guided fishing trips for both salmon and trout. Halibut fishing can be found close by in Seward or Homer. Other local activities include rafting, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, and Kenai Fjords cruises from Seward. Be sure to check out the Kenai River scenic float trip from Cooper Landing for a memorable wilderness experience.

Visitors access Cooper Landing by road. The town is roughly 100 miles from Anchorage, or about two hours by car. From Cooper Landing, you can reach Seward in about an hour, and Homer in less than three hours. Alaska Tour & Travel can coordinate local activities and book stays at the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge as well as rental cars for a complete Alaska travel package.

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Cooper Landing Alaska