Northwest Kenai Locations:

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Notable Species

  • Brown bear
  • Muskrat
  • Spruce grouse
  • Great horned owl
  • Downy woodpecker
  • Hairy woodpecker
  • American three-toed woodpecker
  • Olive-sided flycatcher
  • Gray jay
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Boreal chickadee
  • Swainson’s thrush
  • Hermit thrush
  • Varied thrush
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Pine grosbeak
  • Common redpoll
  • Dragonflies

The visitor center provides displays about animals and habitat, plus brochures, maps and infor-mation. The Environmental Education Center located in a log cabin at the start of the Keen Eye Trail includes activities for kids and details about what critters have been active recently. Nearly three miles of well-maintained trails and boardwalks traverse woods and wetlands. More than 30 species of birds have been seen in this area’s diverse habitats. Moose browse understory willows and alders in winter. The lake is home to three-spine sticklebacks, dragonflies, and muskrat.


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Fireweed in the refuge.

The trail system meanders through a lowland white spruce and paper birch forest. Near Headquarters Lake and its surrounding wetland, a black spruce bog encroaches on the edge of Headquarters Lake. Bird species using the lake from spring through fall include common loon, arctic tern, bald eagle and trumpeter swan.

Viewing Tip

Walk the Keen Eye and Centennial trails slowly with ears tuned for bird song in June and July. Spend time at the viewing deck to scan for waterfowl. In winter, ski or snowshoe the trails and watch for lynx, coyote, and ermine tracks.

Getting There

At Sterling Highway milepost 96.1 (just south of the Kenai River Bridge), turn east on Funny River Road then immediately turn right on Ski Hill Road. The headquarters is less than one mile ahead, on the left. Follow the signs.