The Sterling Highway runs along the western edge of the Kenai Peninsula and features
extraordinary mountain scenery, sparkling lakes, glacier-fed streams, and beautiful coastal inlets. Wildlife abounds along this scenic route and you'll probably even encounter a giant Kenai moose.
Many good private, state and federal camp sites are found along the way,
the highway passes through a number of intriguing villages and towns, each worth a visit. The Kenai Peninsula is recognized as a sportsman's paradise.
Mileage markers along this route
read from Seward (mile 0) to Homer (mile 173). Details for the first 38 miles of this highway will be found in the highway description of the Seward Highway (mile 38 to mile 0, Seward).
mile 37 Sterling Junction. You are 89 miles from Anchorage, 135 miles from Homer. The Seward Highway continues north.
There is an interpretive observation platform overlooking Tern Lake with great views of the surrounding mountains.
mile 37.4 USFS Tern Lake day-use picnic
area tables, water, toilets, firepits. Trout fishing in Daves Creek. King salmon spawning area, informative viewing trail.
mile 38.3 Parking with emergency phone.
mile 38.8 Parking.
mile 39 Dave's Creek, good fishing for Dolly Varden and rainbow. It flows into Quartz Creek at mile 42.5.
mile 40.5 Parking. There are several small parking areas between mile 40 and mile 55.
mile 41 Quartz Creek, empties into Kenai Lake.
mile 43 Parking.
mile 43.5 Parking.
mile 44.3 Refuse deposit site.
mile 44.9 Quartz Creek Forest Service Campgrounds. Fee area. Quartz Creek campground borders Kenai Lake. Access via 1/2-mile road. 45 camp sites, boat ramp, good sandy swimming beach,
flush toilets. Dall sheep can often be spotted on mountain sides. Trail leads along nearby Quartz Creek. Fishing for Dolly Varden and rainbow.
Crescent Creek campground, access via 3 mile road,
9 camp sites, no water, tables
and toilets, at confluence of Crescent and Quartz Creeks. Camping fee. Crescent Creek trail is 1/2-mile past campground near end of road-watch for sign. Good trail leads to Crescent Lake and Forest Service cabin (make reservation through USFS in Anchorage or Seward) round trip, 12.4 miles hiking time, 5-8 hours. Viewing decks just outside the campground offers a good place to watch for salmon and Dolly Varden. The best place to observe spawning is along the creek at the Crescent Creek campground.
mile 45--The highway parallels Kenai Lake, good fishing for
Dolly Varden and trout, it is closed to salmon fishing.
mile 45.5 Parking, Dall Sheep can often be seen on the surrounding mountains.
mile 47 Parking.
mile 47.6 Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce visitor center cabin.
mile 47.7 Bean Creek Road access to Kenai Princess Lodge and RV Park and Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge- 2 miles.
Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodgemile 47.7. This true Alaskan lodge overlooking the Kenai River is just two hours from Anchorage in the geographic heart of the Kenai Peninsula. Enjoy excursions along the Peninsula then return to the comfort of this wilderness lodge. Private hillside bungalow-style rooms with wood-stoves, seating areas, porches, telephones and televisions. Lodge amenities include a restaurant, lounge, espresso bar, outdoor deck, fresh-air hot tubs, exercise room, and gift shop. A tour desk can arrange river rafting, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, flightseeing and day trips to Kenai Fjords National Park and Resurrection Bay. Reservations suggested. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club accepted.In keeping with the Princess tradition, this lodge offers the utmost in warm comfort and quality. Open year-round. Call 800-426-0500 for reservations.
Kenai Princess RV Park mile 49.7. 29 sites with water, power and septic.
General store, 24-hour, coin-operated shower and laundry facilities. Guests enjoy full privileges at the adjacent Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club
accepted. $25 per night. Open mid-May through mid-September. 907-595-1425 for reservations and information.
mile 47.8 Kenai River Bridge, boat launch, day-use parking,
toilets, viewing decks and informative signs. The river empties into Kenai
Lake and flows across the Kenai Peninsula 80 miles to Cook Inlet. King, pink and silver salmon, rainbow and Dolly Varden, which are usually present even when the salmon are not running. Salmon eggs and brightly colored lures are most commonly used, although fly fishing is also very productive. It's best to inquire locally.
mile 47.9 Snug Harbor Road. 12 mile access road to Cooper Lake and trailhead. Dolly Varden spring and fall. Boat suggested. Beginning
of Russian Lakes trail off Snug Harbor Road.
mile 48.5 Cooper Landing, visitor facilities.
mile 50.5 Cooper Creek Forest Service Campground. 28 camp sites, water, toilets, tables, dumpsters. Dumpstation. Fishing for red salmon.
mile 58 Once a part of the main highway, this well-maintained, 20-mile gravel road rejoins the Sterling Highway at mile 76. There are 8 Fish and Wildlife Service campgrounds, all on good
fishing lakes, as well as a number of maintained hiking trails. The Hidden Lake Campground, is one of the nicest on the peninsula.
mile 60.5 Jean Lake, 3 camp sites, picnic area, boat launch. Fishing for rainbow. Berry picking.
mile 60.8 Skyline Trail, parking.
mile 62.3 Parking.
mile 68.3 Access to Peterson Lake (.5 mile) and Kelly Lake
(1 mile) small public campgrounds .5 mile side road, camp sites, tables, fireplaces, toilets, handicap accessible, boat ramp, fishing for rainbow, swimming, and hiking along Seven Lakes Trail-7 miles over level ground.
mile 70.4 Egumen wayside with large parking area. Short trail (.5 mile) to Egumen Lake fishing for rainbow.
mile 71.3 Watson Lake,
parking at entrance to Watson Lake campground. 3 camp sites, tables, toilet, handicap accessible, drinking water, steep boat ramp. Rainbow. East Fork Moose River.
mile 72.9 Parking.
mile 75.3 Skilak Lake Loop Road leaves the Sterling Highway here and rejoins it at mile 58.
mile 81 Sterling, visitor facilities.
mile 83.7 Swanson River Road. Leads to four campgrounds and two canoe systems: Sunken Island Lake Campground (7 miles),
Dolly Varden Lake Campground (15 miles), Rainbow Lake Campground (16 miles), Swanson River Campground (18 miles).
Sunken Island Lake is good for (stocked) silver salmon, and there are rainbow
in Forest Lakes at mile 9.5 on Swanson River Road. All 4 campgrounds on this road have camping, tent and trailer sites, picnic tables, fireplaces, drinking water, toilets, boat ramps. Scout Lake Loop Road rejoins the
highway at mile 85.
Two canoe systems traverse well-marked lakes connected by streams or short portages. Swanson Lake route is 60 miles and Swanson River route is 80 miles.
mile 85 Scout Lake Loop Road extends 7 miles and rejoins
the Sterling highway at Mile 83.7. Scout Lake State Recreation Site, toilets, water, picnic shelters, hiking trails, and fishing. Follow Scout Lake Loop Road 1.5 miles to Morgan's Landing State Recreation Area, 41 camp sites, toilets, water and fishing.