The Kenai Peninsula is like a mini-Alaska, compressing all of the state’s features into an area roughly 3 percent the size of the state. You’ll find mountains, ice fields and glaciers, fjords and offshore islands, large fish-filled rivers and lakes, swampy plains, varied climate and precipitation, a few scattered port towns, and a sprawling population center.
The Kenai is a major playground for both Anchorage  residents and travelers from Outside, and it’s possibly the most popular all-around destination for all Alaskans. The outdoor recreational opportunities are practically inexhaustible, with innumerable choices of every pedestrian, pedaled, paddled, piloted, portholed, piscatory, predatory, and picaresque particular you could ever ponder—just you and 300,000 other folks from the neighborhood.
But don’t let the possibility of crowds deter you. The resources are abundant, well developed, and often isolated. And besides, what’s wrong with a little company along the trail or under sail?
At 16,056 square miles, Kenai Peninsula is a little smaller than Vermont and New Hampshire combined. The Kenai Mountains form the peninsula’s backbone, with massive Harding Ice Field dominating the lower lumbar. The east side, facing Prince William Sound , hosts a spur of the Kenai Mountains, with the glimmering Sargent Ice Fields; the west side, facing Cook Inlet, is outwash plain, sparkling with low-lying swamp, lakes, and rivers.
The ice fields, glaciers, and plains are all a result of ice sculpting over the million-year course of the Pleistocene, with its five major glacial periods. During the last, the Wisconsin Period, Portage Glacier  filled the entire Turnagain Arm , 50 miles long and a half-mile high. Ten thousand years ago Portage stopped just short of carving a fjord between Prince William Sound and Turnagain Arm; otherwise, Kenai Peninsula would’ve been Kenai Island.
Still, this peninsula is so digitate with peninsulettes that it has more than 1,000 miles of coastline. The land is almost completely controlled by the feds; Chugach National Forest , Kenai National Wildlife Refuge , and Kenai Fjords National Park  account for nearly 85 percent of the peninsula.
Two roads provide the primary access to the Kenai. The 127-mile Seward Highway connects Anchorage  with Seward  on the southwest end of the peninsula, and the 143-mile Sterling Highway cuts across the Kenai, leading west and south from Tern Lake (where it meets the Seward Highway) to Soldotna  and Homer .