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.
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.
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.
8. Go for a Walk or Hike
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.
Or, join a guided snowshoe walk from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.
Things to Do
Day Tours & Attractions View All
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.
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.
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.
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.
The logo for the Soldotna B&B Lodge says it all: a guest who’s lounging in bed — while also fishing. This family-run fishing lodge directly on the Kenai River offers a relaxing place to soak up the sights and sounds of nature, while also delivering a front-row opportunity to do some of Alaska’s most famous, exciting fishing. All stays carry a two-night minimum, but most guests stay longer (an average of 5 – 7 days), which is easy to do given the ...more
Feel the thrill of world-class salmon and trout fishing on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula with experienced, passionate guides. You’ll get out on the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, just hours from Anchorage, with a team that knows where the fish will be running each day. Spend a day, or make it a multi-day trip with a custom package that includes lodging on the river.
Soldotna Parks & Trails View All
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.
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 24⁄7. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.