The Best Things to Do in Soldotna

1. Experience World-Class Fishing on the Kenai River

This is your chance to experience angling for Alaska’s famous fish in fast-running rivers backdropped by Alaskan peaks.

The waters around Kenai teem with salmon: king, sockeye, silver, or pink (depending on the season) or you can cast for trout.

You can reach Soldotna as a day trip from Anchorage (the drive is about 3 hours). It's better to stay. afew days! Area fishing charters can take you to the best spots—and away from the crowds.

Or, stay overnight at a fishing lodge!

2. Go Bear Viewing

Few things in the world can compare to witnessing the majesty of bears in the wild; watching them wade into rivers and fish for salmon can help make your Alaskan dreams come true.

Fly out to Lake Clark National Park and spend the day watching bears.

There's nothing quite like it.

3. Flightseeing

With some 40 glaciers, the vast Harding Ice Field is one of Alaska’s most spectacular sights.

And it’s just one of the dramatic sites you can get perspective on when you take to the air on a flightseeing trip from Soldotna.

Look down on the crevasses of a glacier and check out the Mount Redoubt Volcano—and keep an eye out of wolves, moose, bears, and seals!

4. Attend a Local Festival

Each Wednesday from June - August, the Levitt Amp Soldotna Music Series puts on a free concert in Soldotna Creek Park, following the popular Wednesday Market.

The annual Soldotna Progress Days held the fourth weekend in July is the longest-running community event, celebrating the population boom in Soldotna over 60 years ago.

And the Frozen RiverFest is an outdoor beer festival -- in February!

Sounds crazy? Maybe. But that's part of the fun!

5. See the Kenai River

If you drive through town -- you won't miss it.

The bright turquoise blue water is hard to miss! But there are plenty of spots to take a closer look. In fact, Soldotna boasts 10 boardwalks along the Kenai River.

They provide access for fishermen to reach the river without damaging the shore, but they're also the perfect place for a stroll.

6. Fun for the Whole Family

Soldotna is a great destination for families with small children.

There are summer camps, fun runs, story times at the local public library, free fishing pole rentals, and so much more.

Read our full blog post on the best things to do in Soldotna with kids!

7. Eat Great Local Food

Soldotna is a thriving community of local entrepreneurs -- many of whom have decided to take a culinary route!

Thanks to them, there are some great local eateries in Soldotna.

From local breweries and coffee roasters, to food trucks selling reindeer gyros.

Here's what's not to miss on the food scene in Soldotna.

8. Go for a Walk or Hike

The best thing about Soldotna may be its trail system. You'll find several to explore right in town, including the Centennial Campground Loop Trail, or the Tsalteshi Trails multi-use trail system.

And, the visitor center for the surrounding Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is right in town too!

From there, you have access to several trails, including the popular Keen-Eye Nature Trail, an easy .75 mile loop that's great for families.

9. View Public Art

In Soldotna, there are several easy spots to take in fantastic displays created by locals artists.

There's a series of large 4' by 8' murals throughout the community, displayed at local businesses. Our guide shows you how you can see them all!

And, there's the Soldotna Rotary Art Park, which features a rotating display.

10. Don't Overlook Winter

There's just as many reasons to visit Soldotna in the winter as there are in summer. The outdoors are embraced with equal excitement. Tsalteshi Trails provides over 25 kilometers of groomed cross country ski trails, as well as some trails designated for fat biking.

Maintained outdoor ice appears throughout the community at A.R.C Lake and a loop in Soldotna Creek Park.

Or, join a guided snowshoe walk from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

See a full itinerary for a long winter weekend in Soldotna.

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Day Tours & Attractions View All

$200+ 3-8 hours

Where can you find the biggest salmon, on aver­age, in the entire world? In the Kenai Riv­er. And The Riv­er Crew, based in Sol­dot­na, can take you to some secret spots on the famous riv­er to fish for salmon and trout — whether you’re an expe­ri­enced angler or not.

Season: May 25 - Sept 15 $575+ 2 to 3 hrs

Fly out of Sol­dot­na with Natron’s own­er and pilot, Tim. You’ll soar over the Cook Inlet towards Mt. Iliamna Vol­cano and land on a beach, right where the bears are. You’ll watch them play­ing and clam­ming and be close enough to take amaz­ing photos.

Season: Year Round $299+ 1.25 hrs

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.

Sum­mer Wednes­day evenings in Sol­dot­na are times that every­one looks for­ward to. That’s when the famous — and free! — Levitt AMP Sol­dot­na Music Series takes place in the beau­ti­ful Sol­dot­na Creek Park. It hap­pens week­ly from June through August, and on top of catch­ing some great music, it’s a fan­tas­tic chance to meet locals.


Soldotna Parks & Trails View All

This beau­ti­ful park set along the turquoise Kenai Riv­er hosts com­mu­ni­ty events, has a board­walk, access to the riv­er, play­ground and more. There’s an ice loop for skat­ing (free ice skates are avail­able dur­ing win­ter fes­ti­vals) and ani­mal cutouts with white twin­kle lights on them. 

Distance: 2 miles

This 2.2‑mile loop trail is an off-shoot of the Keen-Eye Trail that departs from the Kenai Nation­al Wildlife Refuge Vis­i­tor Cen­ter. It is less crowd­ed than the Keen-Eye Trail (which was built to accom­mo­date large groups), and while it’s not a dif­fi­cult hike, it fea­tures some light hills and var­ied terrain.

This park is a can’t miss for dog own­ers and dog lovers! It’s one of the busiest parks in town, with peo­ple and their dogs there prac­ti­cal­ly 247. If you’re trav­el­ing with your dog, it’s a great place to give Fido some exer­cise. You’ll also have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet the locals, learn what it’s like to live in Sol­dot­na, and get the inside scoop on the best things to see and do from peo­ple who live here.

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.

Distance: 9 miles

The pop­u­lar, paved Uni­ty Trail begins in Sol­dot­na and winds its way around 9 miles to Kenai. It’s pop­u­lar with locals and trav­el­ers alike for all kinds of activ­i­ties: walk­ing, bik­ing, jog­ging, bird­ing, rollerblad­ing, and more.

Distance: 3 miles

This wide, mul­ti-use trail is pop­u­lar with locals and a fun hike for every­one. The ADA-com­pli­ant trail winds through bore­al for­est, and it’s the only head­quar­ters trail open to dogs and bicy­cles. You can even get your pup cer­ti­fied as a B.A.R.K. Ranger, meant to strength­en the rela­tion­ship with your dog on fed­er­al pub­lic lands.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

The Cen­ten­ni­al Camp­ground Loop Trail is a great place for a walk right in town at any time of year. It’s well-traf­ficked, well-marked, wide, and easy for most peo­ple to use. The trail is busiest in sum­mer — espe­cial­ly the part near the camp­ground where anglers access the Kenai Riv­er — and a lit­tle qui­eter dur­ing the oth­er seasons.

Two sets of stairs to riv­er and 625 feet of ele­vat­ed boardwalk.

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.

Distance: 3 miles

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.