Situated in the mountain gap through which the Kenai River flows from Kenai Lake, Cooper Landing has picturesque views all around. Miner Joseph Cooper discovered gold here in 1894, and present-day visitors still come to Cooper’s Landing every autumn in search of both gold and silver, but of a different kind: the annual run of silver salmon up the Kenai River coincides with the brilliant gold of fall foliage on the region’s aspens and birches.
Cooper Landing is an easy day trip from Kenai, or a nice stopping point on a trip to Seward, Riverside lodges, rafting, guided fishing tours, and roadside shops form the businesses of many of the town’s less than 400 residents.
At the rest stop located near the Kenai River Bridge, travelers can view the source of the Kenai River or use spotting scopes to search nearby mountain peaks for dall sheep.
At the Cooper Landing museum, the articulated skeleton of a black bear killed on the Sterling Highway is on display.
Live bears are common in the area as well. Be alert and prepared while hiking Cooper Landing’s trails. For more bear safety information, see page 55.