Lots to do on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge this summer

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge photo/Sarah Siefken A refuge volunteer takes a break to enjoy the view on Skilak Lookout Trail on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Join refuge staff and volunteers for guided nature programs and hikes this summer.

Join us for a variety of fun nature interpretive programs at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge this summer. Programs include our popular Nature Walks, Family Explorer Program, Fitness Hikes, Discovery Hikes, and Fun Days. All of our activities are free of charge. For more information, please call Kenai National Wildlife Refuge at 262-7021.


Nature Walks — Join us on the Keen Eye Nature Trail (by the Refuge Visitor Center) for an easy ¼-mile walk exploring what’s out in the natural world from wildflowers to wildlife! Programs are on Tuesday afternoons starting at 2 p.m. and last for one hour. Nature walks begin on June 4 and end August 27.

Family Explorer Program — Join us for a program specially designed for families to learn about nature with fun, hands-on activities. These programs take place on the Keen Eye Nature Trail (by the Refuge Visitor Center) on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and last one hour. They begin on June 5 and end on August 28.

All explorers get a free explorer pin or magnet at their first program and if your family attends four  explorer programs, you receive a prize courtesy of Alaska Geographic.

Fitness Hikes — Join us for a 2.5-mile moderate hike on the Centennial Trail at the Refuge Visitor Center. Walks take place on Thursdays at 2 p.m. starting on June 27 and end August 29. There are also Fitness Hikes on selected Saturdays — June 15, June 29, July 13 and July 29 at 10 a.m. All Fitness Hikes last 1 ½ hours and are a great way to enjoy nature, get some exercise, and meet friendly people. Please no dogs!

Discovery Hikes — Have you ever wanted to try a hike in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area (one hour drive east of Soldotna) and discover what’s out on the trail? Now you can. Starting on June 15 and continuing on every Saturday through August 16, join Refuge staff at 2 p.m. for a 2-hour hike. Hikes rotate between five popular trails in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. Please wear comfortable hiking boots, dress for the weather, and bring water and snacks. Dogs are not encouraged, but are allowed on the Discovery Hikes if they are leashed and under control of their owners.

Discovery Hike Schedule:

Hidden Creek Trail — June 15 and July 20

Burney’s Trail (Hidden Lake Campground) — June 22 and July 27

Bear Mountain Trail — June 29 and August 3

Hideout Trail — July 6 and August 10

Vista Trail (Upper Skilak Campground) — July 13 and August 17

Fun Days — These programs celebrate our beautiful Alaska wildflowers and tasty wild berries and take place at the Refuge Environmental Education Center in Soldotna. Enjoy educational displays, make theme inspired crafts, enter drawings for door prizes, sample delicious treats, and join in guided identification walks. Pre-registration is required for wildflower and wild berry identification walks with Michelle Ostrowski at 260-2839.

Wildflower Fun Day — June 21, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Wild Berry Fun Day — August 24 -11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You are always welcome to come out on your own for walks on the Keen Eye Nature Trail and hikes on the Centennial Trail or on any of the Refuge trails in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. It’s a great way to have some summer fun and experience the natural world!

Candace Ward has worked as a Park Ranger at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge for 29 years. She leads the Refuge’s Information/Education Program and enjoys presenting nature interpretive programs especially guided wildflower and wild berry walks. You can find more information about the Refuge at http://www.facebook.com/kenainationalwildliferefuge.