Chugach National Forest
Much of the eastern Kenai Peninsula lies within Chugach National Forest, the second-largest national forest in the country after the Tongass. Covering 5.5 million acres — bigger than Massachusetts — the Chugach not only encompasses this part of the Kenai but also continues eastward across all of Prince William Sound well beyond the Copper River.
Developments and logging are relatively minor on the Chugach, but all this wild country provides incredible opportunities for recreation, with good fishing, hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, skiing, kayaking, wildlife-watching, glacier-gazing, and a host of other outdoor adventures.
The Kenai Peninsula has 18 Forest Service public-use cabins available for $45 per night. These are mostly Pan-Abode log structures that sleep four and have wood or oil stoves. Most of these are along hiking trails — including eight cabins on the Resurrection Pass Trail — but a few are accessible only by floatplane.
The Chugach website has cabin details, or you can get brochures from the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage.
Because of their high popularity, it’s a wise to reserve cabins well ahead of your visit at 518/885-3639, 877/444-6777, or www.recreation.gov. Additional public cabins can be found within Kenai Fjords National Park and Kachemak Bay State Park.
Camping and Hiking
Six Forest Service campgrounds are located along the Seward Highway south of Portage, with another four along the Sterling Highway, and two more off the Hope Highway; all are described in this travel guide.
A number of very popular hiking trails cover the eastern half of the Kenai Peninsula, and it’s possible to hike (or mountain bike) all the way from the town of Hope to Exit Glacier near Seward, a distance of 74 miles.
Contact the Forest Service for details on various camping and hiking options within the Chugach.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition