Cooper Landing straddles the Sterling Highway at the north end of Kenai Lake, and although it has only 357 residents, in the summer it swells with anglers enjoying the famed Kenai River salmon fishery.
About Cooper Landing
Cooper Landing is strung out for several miles along the Sterling Highway, which connects the Kenai Peninsula with Anchorage and points farther north. The heart of town is a five-building national historic district at Mile 48.7 of the Sterling Highway. In a picturesque setting beneath towering mountains and along the banks of the Kenai River is an old post office, a schoolhouse from the 1950s and a homesteader’s cabin that today houses the Cooper Landing Historical Society Museum. Originally inhabited by gold prospectors in the mid- to late 1800s, these days the community is best known for sport fishing.
Things to do
Outfitters and guides take clients to pursue sockeye and coho salmon, Dolly Varden and rainbow trout in the upper Kenai River or sockeye salmon and trout in the nearby Russian River. Fishing fever runs high at the Russian River U.S. Forest Service Campground during the summer and anglers stand shoulder to shoulder, casting from the banks in what is commonly referred to as “combat fishing.”
Cooper Landing is also a popular starting point for raft trips down the Kenai River with a number of outfitters offering raft trips ranging from gentle floats to thrilling Class III whitewater in the Kenai Canyon. After a day on the water, anglers and rafters alike can return to Cooper Landing, which features a wide range of lodging, restaurants and other visitor services.