Ninilchik State Recreation Area
Photo Credit: ATIA, Brian Adams

Ninilchik State Recreation Area

Ninilchik State Recreation Area

This spot is known for its rich salmon runs, magnificent views, and access to clamming.

Located on Cook Inlet, the Ninilchik State Recreation Area is home to three campgrounds and some of the best salmon runs in the state. With a spectacular backdrop showcasing two active volcanoes, Mount Iliamna and Mount Redoubt, this area is popular for anglers and outdoor recreationalists. The recreation area is located in the town of Ninilchik, which means “peaceful settlement by a river,” and is located on the west side of the Kenai Peninsula, about 40 miles south of Soldotna.


Ninilchik State Recreation Area is made up of four separate units totaling 97 acres that offer a variety of activities, including camping, sportfishing, clamming, and hiking. No matter the activity, visitors will be surrounded by beautiful views of Mount Iliamna and Mount Redoubt - both active volcanoes on the west side of Cook Inlet. The recreation area consists of Ninilchik Beach Day Use AreaNinilchik Scenic OverlookNinilchik View Campground, and Ninilchik River Campground.

Three campgrounds in the recreation area are ideally located for fishing. Anglers can take short hikes from the campgrounds to access the Ninilchik River to fish for king salmon, silver salmon, pink salmon, steelhead trout, and Dolly Varden. Fishing charter operators out of Ninilchik and other nearby towns on the Kenai Peninsula towns offer guided fishing trips on the Ninilchik River. They will provide gear and guide anglers to the top fishing spots on the river.

For those interested in saltwater fishing, the nearby Deep Creek State Recreation Area in Ninilchik is the launching point for private and charter fishing trips to catch Alaska salmon and halibut. The unique tractor-assisted boat launch deposits boats into to Cook Inlet. Charter operators in Ninilchik offer fishing trips to land some of Alaska's legendary king salmon and halibut.


Ninilchik Beach is one of the top spots in Alaska for razor clamming and features magnificent views across Cook Inlet. Located on a bluff above Ninilchik Beach is Ninilchik View Campground with 14 sites in a forested setting and a stairway leading down to the beach.

Ninilchik River Campground features 39 campsites set among birch and spruce trees, with a trail down to the river. Ninilchik Scenic Overlook has 9 campsites, a trail down to river, picnic tables, and interpretive signs.


The recreation area is 40 miles south of Soldotna on the Sterling Highway. Ninilchik River Campground is at Mile 134.5 of the Sterling Highway, Ninilchik Scenic Overlook is at Mile 135.1, Ninilchik Beach is at Mile 135, and Ninilchik View Campground is at Mile 135.5.

Explore more things to do in the town of Ninilchik.

For more information, visit the Ninilchik State Recreation Area website.

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