Sterling Alaska
Moose River Alaska,  photo by Mike Stasak.
Location:  On Alaska's Kenai Peninsula between Sterling Highway mileposts 80 thru 88, 10 miles east of Soldotna.

The Moose River is centrally located in Sterling, known for frequent sightings of moose, a great birding area for migratory swans, sand hill cranes, and one of the exits of the Swan Lake / Swanson River canoe trail system.

Sterling is a small rural town with great river access points to the Kenai River at Bing's Landing State Recreation Park, Izzak Walton State Park (located at the confluence of the Moose River and the Kenai River, this is a favorite fly fishing location when the salmon run is in), and Morgan's Landing State Park.

One of Sterling's best kept local secrets is the vast Swan Lake / Swanson River Canoe trail system and public campgrounds.  You can just paddle on the lakes or portage and loop all the way thru to the Moose River, a multi-day trip.  Located nearby is the Kenai National Moose Range, and Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (hiking trails abound).  Several businesses specialize in canoe trips (single or multi day trips) and rentals for this beautiful area.

There are many local business scattered all thru this area from lodges, resorts, cabin rentals to B&B's, fish guilds, flying services, RV parks, a hostel, laundromat, cafes, gas stations, furniture stores, US Post Office, senior center, community park, liquor stores, tackle shops, hair salon, bar, fur factory, diamond willow, and antler carving shops.

Soldotna is approximately 10 miles further west on the Sterling Highway.  Approximately 26 miles east is the famous Russian River Salmon Fishery, and passenger ferry service to some of the worlds best bank fishing.  Skilak Lake loop road just 10 miles east of Sterling has Jim's Landing, a favorite spot to launch rafts for the Kenai River "rapids" Canyon Run which ends up in Skilak lake (be sure to have a sufficient sized motor on that raft or a power boat pick-up waiting for you because Skilak lake upper boat launch is 6 water miles away and in bad weather has lake swells that look more like ocean swells very dangerous).  There is a Lower Skilak boat launch and campground too, along with Hidden lake campground, (check out the lake fishing).

Hiking areas abound between Sterling and Cooper Landing, like skyline trail Mile 61.3 of the Sterling Highway, Fuller lakes trail at mile 57.2, Skilak lookout Trail at mile de of the Sterling Highway, Kenai River Trail under a mile down Skilak lake road east entrance,  Hideout trail just two miles down Skilak Lake road east entrance, and the Russian Lakes Trail to lower Russian lake, which is handicap-accessible, and mountain bike easy.  The Resurrection Trail leads hikers from Sterling all the way to Hope and is dotted with several forest service cabins along the route, its trail head is approximately one mile west of the Russian River.  Fore more information on the trails contact the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge of the Chugiak National Forest Seward Ranger District at 907-224-3374. 

The Links page on has links to Forest Service Cabin rentals, and other interesting Alaska web pages.

Author is Jaclynn Stasak, article reproduced with permission in Vacation Travel Guide 28th Edition, Scott Publishing Company 2004.