Deep Creek State Recreation Area

Deep Creek State Recreation Area

With excellent views of Mounts Iliamna and Redoubt, this park is known for legendary salmon runs and razor clamming

Halibut and king salmon make Deep Creek State Recreation Area a popular destination for anglers, and the abundance of razor clams reels in clam diggers. With two scenic overlooks and an exciting array of wildlife in the area, the area is an attractive spot for spending the night.

History

The recreation area is located near the town of Ninilchik.  Historically an area used by Dena'ina Indians for fishing, Ninilchik is also the oldest settlement on the Kenai Peninsula. The Russian-American Company established Ninilchik in the 1820s for its elderly and disabled employees, who could not endure the long journey back to Russia. Other Russian settlers soon congregated there, and in 1901, the settlers constructed the community’s Russian Orthodox Church. After Russia sold Alaska to the United States in 1867, most residents elected to stay and today their descendants form the core of the present community.

Ecosystem

Located off the Sterling Highway near Ninilchik, the heart of the recreation area is adjacent to the shores of Cook Inlet and includes a campground and day use area along the beach where Deep Creek enters the ocean. Deep Creek Beach is among the most popular places for razor clam digging in Alaska. Just north of the campground is Deep Creek North Scenic Overlook, which also provides access to salmon fishing along Deep Creek. Just to the south is Deep Creek South Scenic Overlook, a day-use area with great views of Mount Iliamna and Mount Redoubt across Cook Inlet.

Wildlife

The beaches from Clam Gulch to Ninilchik are the most popular areas for digging razor clams in Alaska. The razor clam, a filter feeder, relies on plankton for food. The life cycle of the razor clams is simple and unique. Razor clams usually reproduce first at age four to five, and live about 14 to 18 years. Reproduction is triggered when Cook Inlet waters reach a temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, usually between late July and early August.

The area is habitat for bald eagles, which are visible year-round in any of the three units. In the month of May, sandhill cranes and other shore birds inhabit the saltwater marsh. Whales, seals and otters can also be seen offshore in warmer months.

Activities

In addition to razor clamming, the halibut in Cook Inlet and king salmon runs at Deep Creek are legendary, making the campsites in the park very much in demand in the summer.  The beaches along Cook Inlet are popular areas to ride ATV's.

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