The Alaska you want to visit is in Cooper Landing. From the tranquility of the mountain-rimmed Kenai Lake, to the exhilarating rush of the famous Kenai River, Cooper Landing abounds with recreational opportunities. Your drive to Cooper Landing on the Sterling Highway takes you on a breathtaking trip on one of America’s recognized “Scenic Byway” roadways. Take the time to absorb the outstanding natural beauty of the area, particularly the trademark aqua-marine coloring of the winding Kenai River.
Cooper Landing boasts the headwaters of the Kenai River, which flows for 85 miles from Kenai Lake west to Cook Inlet. The river sustains an astounding variety of fish species, which are popular among anglers from early spring through the crisp, colorful days of autumn. All varieties of salmon, from Chinook, Sockeye, Coho and Humpy abound here, as well as Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden and 30 other species of fish. If you’re seeking a quality fishing experience, take a guided trip in the Cooper Landing area, or simply enjoy the unique and scenic setting on a float trip down the river. The Cooper Landing State Recreation site offers a boat launch adjacent to the Kenai River Bridge at the head of Kenai Lake. The facility offers a concrete boat launch, day-use parking, restrooms, viewing decks as well as information and wonderful telescopes to view the many wonders of Cooper Landing. Keep an eye out for bear, moose, eagles, swans, and on the higher elevations near Kenai Lake, Dall Sheep.
Cooper Landing has been featured nationally. Alaska Horsemen Trail Adventures and other local businesses have been featured on Country Music Television’s show “Hit Trip”, Fox Television’s “Bachelorettes in Alaska”, Larry Csonka’s “North to Alaska” show, and Paul Grey’s “The Alaska Show”has also made many trips to the area. Gwin’s Lodge & Restaurant was selected in 2000 by ‘USA Today’ newspaper as a Top 50 “America’s Best Plates’ restaurant.
Campground and Hiking
Cooper Landing offers many camping and day-use areas. Quartz Creek Road leads to both private and public camping possibilities, Crescent Creek Campground and Crescent Lake Trailhead are part of the Chugach National Park. The Chugach National Park is equipped with a boat ramp and parking to enter the great Kenai Lake. Additionally, camping and day-use facilities can be found from Tern Lake near the junction of the Sterling and Seward highways, on and around Kenai Lake, as well as the Kenai and Russian Rivers in the Cooper Landing area. There are a number of popular trail heads near Cooper Landing for great family day hiking, including Fuller Lakes, Skyline and Hidden Lake.
Cooper Landing was named for Joseph Cooper, a miner who discovered gold there in 1894. A school and a Post Office were opened in the 1920’s to serve the miners and their families living in the area. Copper Landing was connected to the greater Kenai Peninsula by road in 1948, and to Anchorage in 1951. The local historical society operates a museum that is both informative and picturesque.
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