Famous for its abundance of razor clams, this park is a favorite for clammers and campers alike.
The western shore of the Kenai Peninsula from Kasilof to Anchor Point is renowned for its clam harvests. The most famous spot of all is Clam Gulch State Recreation Area, where hundreds of thousands of razor clams are collected annually from its beaches.
Things to Do
The state recreation area is generally regarded as the best spot in the state by clam diggers due to its easy access, nearby campground facilities, and gradual gradient of the sandy tidal beaches.
Clam digging is a muddy affair that can be done during any low tide, but a tide of minus two feet or lower is recommended for best results. Diggers need a sportfishing license, available at most sporting goods stores, along with shovels and tide books. Razor clams may be legally dug throughout the year. However, most digging occurs during razor clam season from April through September. The “table quality” of the clam is generally considered best in early summer, just prior to the July-August spawning.
Clamming aside, Clam Gulch is a spectacular place to spend the night. Most of the recreation area is located on bluffs overlooking scenic Cook Inlet, with views of Mount Spurr, Mount Iliamna, and Mount Redoubt across the inlet on clear days.
Before the 1940s, only local residents dug razor clams because there was no developed road system. In the late 1940s, a road was built connecting Anchor Point and Seward, which eventually became part of the Sterling Highway. In 1952, this road was connected to Anchorage by a gravel road and in 1958 the road was paved from Anchorage to Soldotna. Access to the clam beaches, which are bordered by high bluffs, was further improved in 1957 and 1958 with the construction of the Clam Gulch and Whiskey Gulch access roads.
Facilities and Camping
The campground at Clam Gulch State Recreation Area has 120 campsites, a covered picnic area, drinking water, and outhouses. More importantly, the road provides access to the beaches below and the start of the area's best clam digging.
Just before reaching the small hamlet of Clam Gulch at Mile 117.4 of the Sterling Highway, head west on a two-mile gravel road posted with the recreation area sign. Just to the west is Clam Gulch Campground. The roads ends two miles farther at the Cook Inlet shoreline.
For more information, visit the Clam Gulch State Recreation Site website.
Located on a steep bluff overlooking Cook Inlet is the Clam Gulch State Recreation Area campground with 116 sites, covered picnic tables, outhouses and drinking water. More importantly, the road provides access to the beaches below and the start of the area's best clam digging.
There is a daily parking fee at Clam Gulch and a nightly fee for staying at the campground.
Just before reaching the small hamlet of Clam Gulch, at Mile 117.4 of the Sterling Highway, head west on a two-mile gravel road posted with the recreation area sign. Just to the west is Clam Gulch Campground. The roads ends two miles farther at the Cook Inlet shoreline. For more information contact the Alaska State Parks office (907-262-558) in Soldotna.