This adventure is the real-deal and not for the tame-of-heart, or those looking for a leisurely stroll through Alaska. This is truly an Alaskan adventure of epic proportions!
The hiking alone is 60+ miles, and the paddling is another 40+ miles! With side hikes and possible route changes the trip length can be up to 150 miles. When you look at where you started and then where you finished the trip, you will be stoked with a true sense of accomplishment.
Our route follows along the majestic peaks of the Kenai Mountains, and below the Harding Ice Field. It’s about as close to the center of the Kenai Peninsula you can get. In this centralized location, and elevation, the scenery is truly breathtaking, and the views go on forever!
Very rarely does anyone set foot in this part of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Kenai Fjords National Park due to its remoteness, difficult access, and the unforgiving terrain encountered. Kenai Backcountry Adventures limits the number of trips we take in this area to help protect its beauty and grandeur, but we feel this is one of the most beautiful traverses on the entire Kenai Peninsula so we have made it a featured trip so others can see this part of Alaska!
*This adventure is offered on a VERY limited basis and we may only operate 2 or 3 of these trips per year. We also keep the group sizes very small. If you’re interested in this adventure, we highly recommend contacting us to discuss what this trip is all about so you know what to expect. This is a serious, backcountry trip involving a very long route, drastic elevation changes, and extremely demanding terrain, in conjunction with over 40 miles of packrafting.
- SEASON: Summer
- DURATION: 12 Days
- DISTANCE: 100+ Miles
- EXERTION: Level X(treme)
- BEGINS/ENDS IN: Kenai, AK
- MINIMUM: 4 guests required to confirm trip
ULTIMATE KENAI ADVENTURE
$ CALLPer Person*
TRIP DETAILS & ITINERARY
**There is a mandatory pre-trip meeting the afternoon prior to departure in Kenai, AK. You will be given the meeting location info upon booking your reservation. The pre-trip meeting is a meet-and-greet, orientation, safety-brief, and Q&A session all rolled into one. Following this we’ll have a group dinner featuring local craft brews, wine, and local fare! Dinner and beverages included.
This morning we depart Kenai, AK at 9:00am. We’ll begin with an orientation and overview of our adventure that’s about to unfold. Then we’ll load into our only mechanical transportation for the day; a beautiful Alaskan float plane! We’ll then take off into the skies for a spectacular to a large glacial lake. Once on the beach with all of our gear, we’ll have a safety orientation and snack. We’ll then set off on our first leg hiking up a trail through boreal forest, until we reach the magnificent alpine tundra that awaits us above. We’ll take plenty of time to snap photos on the way up and in the alpine. We’ll hike over beautiful alpine tundra until reaching our first camp of the trip. We’ll spend about an hour setting up camp and take in the magical wilderness that surrounds us. A gourmet backcountry dinner will be served, and we’ll spend the evening relaxing, or hiking around, or for the real adventurous we can ascend a peak or two that tower above our camp. Lunch & dinner included.
Lace up your boots! We’ll travel from the alpine country to another massive glacial lake. This will be “one” of our most physically challenging sections of the adventure. We’ll bushwhack through dense brush and forest while ascending and descending uneven, slippery, and rocky terrain. We’ll cross rivers and streams, and skip rocks in alpine lakes. This section leads us to one of the most spectacular alpine benches on the entire Kenai Peninsula. On a clear day the views are absolutely stunning! We’ll make camp in locations perfect for superb photography, berry picking, or serene tundra napping. Although it will be strenuous at times, there will be ample time to relax and explore while we make our traverse to the lake. All meals included.
This will be our first day of paddling on the trip (weather permitting), and we’ll cover a lot of distance. After donning the necessary paddling gear, you will be instructed on the packrafting skills needed to paddle on the lake. After practicing in a safe area, we’ll begin our paddle along the shoreline of the lake. The lake conditions are very unpredictable. We may beach the packrafts and hike at times, or if the weather conditions are unfavorable, we may hike the entire route. This can be a strenuous section of paddling, so you must be physically capable of paddling for 5+ hours. At the end of the paddle, we’ll ascend into alpine country to our next camp. Distance: 12 miles. All meals included.
All parts of this adventure are amazing, but this section is definitely at the top of the list. We’ll explore the high country at close to 4,000 feet above sea level in an alpine area that presents breathtaking scenery. We’ll camp in the alpine country for a night and eventually make our way to the river we’ll be packrafting on. While we’re in the alpine area you will have a 360 degree panoramic view of the Kenai Peninsula. On clear days the views go on forever and we may see mountains that are hundreds of miles away. Day 6 we’ll bag a few peaks and descend to the river we’ll be packrafting. All meals included.
This will be our main packrafting section of the adventure. The float begins in a section of glacial river braids flowing with water supplied by a glacier a few miles upstream, all the way through the vast forested land that separates the mountains from Kachemak Bay. We will packraft about 30 miles on winding glacial rivers amongst towering spruce and cottonwood trees until reaching the head of Kachemak Bay. All meals included.
Today we’ll hike up a mountain track to a secluded alpine lake. The hike is virtually all uphill, but not steep, and the hiking surface is flat and smooth. Once we arrive at the alpine lake we’ll make camp and explore the area. All meals included.
Today we’ll break camp for the last time on the trip. We’ll have a nice breakfast and spend the morning and early afternoon exploring the area bit more. Our bush plane will soon land on the lake and fly us back to Kenai. The flight is a beautiful 25 minute flight with magnificent views. We plan to arrive back in Kenai around 4pm. Weather plays a major factor on this trip as well, and for this reason we do not recommend making travel arrangements following this trip for at least 1 full day after the scheduled trip end date. Breakfast & lunch included.
We extend our trip an additional 2 days and cover approximately 30-35 additional miles, about a third of which can be floated. This route extension takes us into the Kenai Fjords on the Gulf of Alaska side of the Kenai Peninsula. This extension makes this already hardcore trip a complete mega-hardcore traverse! Bragging rights are a given. The itinerary ends as it does on Day 10 with a floatplane pickup back to Kenai. All meals included.
*The accompanying itinerary is the schedule we intend to follow. However, this is Alaska, and our trips may deviate as written on this page or in any documentation we publish. This can be as a result of weather conditions, group preference, safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances. Therefore expect the unexpected, and prepare to be flexible.
- Complementary airport transfer in Kenai, AK
- Park fees
- Round trip floatplane flight
- Accommodations (tent camping)
- All meals (as mentioned in itinerary)
- Professional guide service
- Satellite phone, GPS, maps, location tracker
- Medical kits, and repair gear
- Trekking poles
- Packraft, PFD, paddle, dry suit, river gloves, helmet
- Packrafting instruction
- Cook tent, cooking equipment, and eating utensils
- Water filters and water purifying tablets
- Travel to and from Kenai, AK
- Lodging before and after your trip
- Additional lodging nights due to weather delays
- Meals (not indicated in itinerary)
- Personal gear (rain gear, clothing, sleeping bag & pad, backpack, etc.)
- Travel insurance (highly recommended)
The drive from Anchorage to Kenai is absolutely beautiful along the Seward Highway and Sterling Highway. If you will be driving from Anchorage to Kenai, plan on a half day to get to there due to traffic in the summer, and there are a gazillion awesome places to stop and take pictures along the way. Plan on arriving in Kenai no later than the afternoon the day prior to departure.
If you will be flying into Kenai, plan on coming in the day prior to the trip departure date. There are great lodges, hotels, and B&Bs in the area we can connect you with if you need a suggestion.
The map shows where the pre-trip meeting point is located, along with driving directions from Anchorage.
Feel free to call us any time for assistance with directions, travel information, lodging & dining suggestions, or anything else to help make your trip a great one!