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Gwin's Lodge first opened in January 1952 before Alaska was even a state. Pat and Helen Gwin built the log roadhouse from spruce trees in the surrounding area, now the Chugach National Forest. The Lodge is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is well-known for its burgers, salmon chowder, pies, and carrot cake. It is the closest lodging to the Kenai and Russian River confluence.
Written Sep 24, 2012
Address: 14865 STERLING HIGHWAY, Milepost 52
Cooper Landing is known for its hiking trails toward the waterfalls.
My sister and I opted to hike at the Russian River Falls. It is a 2.6 mile trail which will take you to the viewing for the Juneau Falls where you can view jumping salmon and even brown bears. We arrived at the trail and upon entering the small parking lot which is the start of the trail, we noticed that the ground still had patches of slippery hard ice…well, we still decided to give it a go! We walked at the side of the ice to avoid slipping onto our butts and landing on some fecal matter which was also along the trail (bear droppings?)….this was early May and the snow was just starting to melt for spring.
There were several more ice patches and we had already hiked about a mile, but we decided to head back the trail when we heard some rustle in the bushes --- we realized we really did not want to encounter a bear! Besides, the falls might still be iced and frozen.
So, we head back to the parking lot and my sister saw a creature and cried, “Wolf”. I panicked a little bit but realized it was a domesticated dog when I noticed the “wolf” had a red collar --- the owner was just a few feet away. LOL.
A more famous hiking trail at Cooper Landing is the Resurrection Trail which also will take you to Juneau Falls. You might also encounter Dall Sheep, Hoary Marmots, Caribou and several bird species.
Written May 12, 2009
Where the Sterling Highway crosses Kenai Lake, there is a rest area with a boardwalk and a boat ramp. It is definitely worth a stop for the views (and the restrooms).
Written Sep 23, 2007