Kenai Peninsula Winter Activities
Out on the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, at (literally) the end of the road, sits the quirky town of Homer — the ecotourism capital of Alaska. Artists, adventurers, and foodies all come to experience the town’s creative energy, great restaurants, and gorgeous wilderness. And at the entrance to town, just off the Sterling Highway, you’ll find the Homer Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.
Watch bears digging for clams, wandering the sedge grass, or nursing their young – all in a short flight from Homer to Katmai or Lake Clark National Park. Smokey Bay’s bear tours last about five hours total — including flights and about three hours on the ground. On any given day there will always be a morning outing (leaving at 8 a.m. at the latest) and possibly one that leaves around 2 p.m.
This 10-mile circuit of different loop trails is well-maintained and makes for fun hiking and skiing. Look for access from the parking lot at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, where there are bathrooms and outdoor port-a-potties. If you come here to ski, warm up inside the center, next to the soapstone masonry heater.
In summer, the trails are open to all kinds of foot-powered recreation — walking, running, hiking, biking, photoshoots, wildlife watching and berry-picking. There’s even an 18-hole disc golf course. K‑9 feet are welcome, too. In winter, locals hit the trails for cross-country skiing and fat-tire biking. There are more than 25 kilometers of groomed ski trails, perfect for classic and skate cross-country skiing.
Hop on board the all-season Missing Lynx and Lost Lynx, the vessels bound for whatever Seward Ocean Excursion suits your fancy. Want to whale watch, see glaciers, go bird watching or just check out hidden coves? Captains Bixler and Krystin McClure will help your small group plan an outing catered to your preferences. No matter the season, you can always catch some excitement in Resurrection Bay!
Whether you’d like to go on a personalized boat tour of the Homer area or take a water taxi to the Alaskan backcountry, Homer is an ideal place to launch from, and Coldwater has the boats and expertise to get you there. Explore places like Kachemak Bay State Park, the small town of Seldovia, and picturesque Halibut Cove.
Natron Air’s owner and only pilot, Tim, can take you flightseeing to some of Alaska’s most beautiful places: the Harding Icefield and Mt. Redoubt Volcano. You can also opt for a bear-viewing tour that includes a beach landing, where you can photograph bears in their natural environment.
Go behind the scenes with Iditarod mushers and get your own thrilling ride with the dogs at Turning Heads Kennel. Choose a summer dog demonstration and cart ride, or whisk off by helicopter for glacier dog sledding. Winter brings its own variety of tours, which range from an hour long to multi-day expeditions near Willow, Alaska.
During the summer months it’s a great spot for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, even paddleboard yoga. The colder months are just as lively as the warmer ones. There’s a skating loop on the lake’s perimeter, as well as several skating areas on the lake. The City offers free public skates Saturday afternoons, ice conditions dependent, December through February.
O’Fish’ial specializes in saltwater halibut and king salmon charter fishing experiences out of Homer, as well as Long Range trophy fish hunts. Owner Chad has spent countless hours with seasoned Alaskan fishermen who shared time-tested advice – and their fishing hotspots – with him. He combines this knowledge with a customer-service focus and passion for sharing all the excitement and adventure Alaska fishing has to offer.
Most of the loops in the campground are groomed for cross country skiing. Starting with the main road into the campground and cross the bridge to see beautiful winter views up and down the river. To access the trails, park before the first road closure gate just off of the Seward Highway.
This is a triathalon event (not race) that takes place in Seward every spring. It begins with a 3km section at Mile 12 ski area. For this section participants can either snowshoe, use classic skis or skate skis. Next is a 15 km bicycle ride to Seward from Mile 12, ending with a 6 km run to a specified location on the Waterfront Trail for a picnic.
An annual New Year’s Eve tradition, the Luminary Ski is a free community event on the Divide Ski Trails (at Mile 12 of the Seward Highway). The trails are lit by candlelight, and you can walk, snowshoe, or ski, depending on your preference. Hot cocoa, cider, and a campfire are provided.
Ever gone ice fishing? Caribou lake is a great place to enjoy this cold and unique experience. You can spend a quiet day to yourself, fishing for Dolly Varden and Kokanee. Or if you’re feeling more competitive, you can participate in the Snomad’s (Homer’s snow machine club) annual ice fishing contest. (Either way, dress in warm layers and be prepared to sit or stand in the cold!)