Located 10 miles northeast of Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula, Sterling is a full-service community geared toward visitors preparing to venture into the surrounding wilderness of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
In and around Sterling, campgrounds, state access sites and trails are plentiful but the crown jewel of local outdoor recreation options is the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
The area around Sterling has been home to Kenaitze Indians for more than 2,000 years. An archaeological site containing prehistoric house pits was uncovered at the Isaac Walton State Recreation Site just west of Sterling.
Things to do
Sterling serves as the base for anglers and canoers who arrive every summer to land trophy king salmon or paddle the wilderness waterways of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge encompasses 2 million acres and is home to the Swan Lake and the Swanson River canoe routes that connect 120 miles of lakes and rivers in an undulating landscape. The 60-mile Swan Lake route is the more popular choice for paddlers as it connects 30 lakes and the Moose River with portages. You could spend more than a week paddling this area and finish just west of Sterling at the Sterling Highway. For more information on paddling, canoe outfitters or drop-off services contact the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.