52 Weeks of Fun

Not Just Destination Finders, But Destination Storytellers


, Cooper Landing Chamber

Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau

The Gem of the Kenai Peninsula


Local Attractions

Cooper Landing is located on the Kenai Peninsula about 100 miles south of Anchorage, at the outlet of Kenai Lake into the Kenai River. The town was first settled in the 19th century by gold and mineral prospectors and has become a popular summer tourist destination thanks to its scenic location and proximity to the salmon fishery of the Kenai River and Russian River. Cooper Landing was named for Joseph Cooper, a miner who discovered gold there in 1884.

Cooper Landing is strung out for several miles along the Sterling Highway, which connects the Kenai Peninsula with Anchorage and points farther north. The heart of town is a five-building national historic district at Mile 48.7 of the Sterling Highway. In a picturesque setting beneath towering mountains and along the banks of the Kenai River are an old post office, a schoolhouse from the 1950s, and a homesteader’s cabin that today houses the Cooper Landing Historical Society Museum. Originally inhabited by gold prospectors in the mid-to-late 1800s, these days the community is best known for sport fishing.

In 1946, Pat and Helen Gwin arrived in Cooper Landing, which had about 100 residents then. The Gwins eked out a living by operating a small-packaged goods store out of a tent. That same year, construction began on the highway from Cooper Landing to Homer. The Sterling Highway, the artery through the Kenai Peninsula, opened in 1950, and subsequently, the Seward Highway opened in 1951.

Gwin's Lodge was built from spruce logs harvested from the surrounding Chugach National Forest. It opened on January 1, 1952. Helen ran the lodge until she retired in 1976. The historic Gwin's Lodge is one of the oldest log roadhouses in Alaska and is still in operation today.

Outfitters and guides take their clients away from the crowds in their drift boats to pursue Sockeye and Coho salmon, Dolly Varden and Rainbow trout on the upper Kenai River, or sockeye salmon and trout in the nearby Russian River. If you’re a hiker or a mountain biker, the Cooper Landing area is paradise. A handful of the best hiking and biking trails in Alaska are located within a few miles.

The Cooper Landing Post Office is the oldest building in the area that is still used and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

, State of Alaska
, Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council

A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Cooper Landing

The Gem of the Kenai Peninsula

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