Walking through the wildflowers at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Mid-June marks the peak of wildflower season in Southcentral Alaska. To make the most of this beautiful time, join us at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge for special wildflower activities. All activities are free of charge and a great way to enjoy summer!


Our Wildflower Fun Day, a “once-a-year only” special event, takes place today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Education Center (located one mile from Soldotna off Ski Hill Road). Enjoy wildflower displays, crafts, activities, free door prizes, and wildflower inspired snacks. Get out on the nature trail and enjoy colorful wildflowers from pink wild roses to purple lupine.

On Saturday at 2 p.m. join us on a 1.2-mile (round trip) guided wildflower hike on Burney’s Trail at Hidden Lake Campground. (Driving east from Soldotna takes about 1 hour to reach the campground.) Meet at the trailhead across from Skyview Camp Site No. 7. Dress for the weather, wear comfortable hiking shoes, and please, no dogs. Pre-registration is not required.

Each Monday from June 13 through August 16, the Refuge offers a guided 2.2-mile (round trip) hike on the Centennial Trail from the Refuge Visitor Center in Soldotna (located one mile from Soldotna off Ski Hill Road). Meet at noon and plan on 1 ½ hours on the trail.

Enjoy not only wildflowers, but other surprises as the summer progresses including birds, wild berries and wildlife. Pre-registration is requested for this hike. Call Michelle Ostrowski at 260-2839.

Also at the Refuge Visitor Center, each Tuesday from June 14 through July 27, take a guided Ranger nature walk on the Keen Eye Nature Trail. This 1/2-mile walk lasts one hour and starts at 3 p.m. Learn about what makes the Refuge special from its wildflowers to its history and, of course, its varied wildlife. Pre-registration is not required.

Other summer fun includes Junior Explorer and Trail Explorer Programs for kids at the Visitor Center. These are self-guided programs that families can enjoy and where kids receive small prizes for completing activities.

If you are camping overnight at Hidden Lake or Upper Skilak Campgrounds this summer, check out the Junior Ranger Program for kids with the campground hosts. Kids complete an activity booklet and receive a Junior Ranger patch.

Hidden Lake Campground is a great destination on Saturday nights for Refuge Ranger Talks and Family Fun Nights. Starting at 8 p.m. from June 25 through July 30, enjoy a variety of topics from bears to moose and much more! Take a picnic supper with you and make it a special night.

Take time to not only smell the wildflowers with us this summer, but get outdoors often and appreciate the natural wonders of our beautiful Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Remember there’s more out there than salmon!

Candace Ward works at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge as a park ranger specializing in visitor service and education. Her favorite wildflower books are “A Field Guide to Wildflowers” by Verna Pratt and “The Flora of Alaska” by Eric Hulten.  For more on Refuge education programs, contact us at 262-7021 or check out our website at http://kenai.fws.gov or http://www.facebook.com/kenainationalwildliferefuge.