See all the options on our guided fishing page

Scenic Floats:

7 Mi (appx 2 hr)

12 Mi (appx 3 hr)

Sit back and relax as you meander through the glaciated valley of the Kenai River headwaters. Our entertaining and knowledgeable rafting guides will navigate you down breathtaking stretches of river so you can spot wildlife and soak in the towering mountain views and famous baby blue waters of the Kenai.

Our rafts seat up to 10. Private rafts available

10am, 2pm, 6pm daily departures

Canyon Trip + Hike

20 mi (5-6 hr)

For a longer trip, we extend our shorter floats to include the entire Upper Kenai River, from Drifters Lodge to Skilak Lake. Beyond the 12 mile mark, the river plunges into the Kenai Canyon, with swift class II and III rapids, before emptying into Skilak Lake. Your guide will park the raft and hike with you up Hidden Creek Trail to the shuttle vehicle. This 1.75 mi hike is a very gradual climb, and well within most people’s ability level.

8am Daily Departure

For full details, see our rafting page 

Take a few steps off the road to experience true wilderness. Choose from a wide variety of hikes in the Chugach National Forest and Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Whether you want an easy forest trail or a challenging climb with the payoff of panoramic views, our guides will provide a safer, enhanced experience so you can enjoy being immersed in nature. Look for animals or study the details of wildflowers, berries, and mushrooms that can be found along the trails.

A chance to see wildlife in its natural habitat is one of the great draws of a hike. We have seen bears fishing in the Russian River, moose grazing in a meadow, songbirds in the tree canopy, and a wolverine galloping across a hillside. One of our favorite entertaining sightings is the spruce grouse, which is commonly found hanging out right on the trail. Grouse look at you blankly for a moment before deciding they should probably get under cover.

Half and Full Day hikes available.

We work with you to customize a full day road trip to Seward, Homer, or Girdwood. Our driver will act as your personal tour guide and chauffeur for the day, so feel free to zone out looking at the scenery or indulge in a glass of wine or craft brew.

Seward: Explore a unique historical harbor town. Plan an itinerary with options to kayak, zip line, take a glacier cruise, visit exit glacier, tour the Alaska Sea Life Center, Trail Lake Hatchery, shop, and enjoy a meal in the friendly bustling downtown.

Girdwood: Take a trip to this resort town at the base of Alyeska Mountain. Shop local crafts, get a birds-eye view of Turnagain Arm as you climb 2300ft on the tram, and see iconic Alaska animals up close at the Conservation Center. Gold panning, gold mine tour, an ATV trip, and a meal at the famous Double Musky Inn are all options.

Homer: Come with us and enjoy a day of art-viewing, wine-sipping and exploring local culture in the Halibut Capital of the World. We will show you some of our favorite spots, grab lunch on the iconic Homer spit, and take in all the sights that Kachemak Bay has to offer. Highlights are the Normal Lowell Gallery, Pratt Museum of history, homesteading, native cultures, and marine ecology, Bear Creek Winery. We can even arrange a ferry ride to the town of Seldovia across the bay.

Kenai River Canyon Rafting

The Upper Kenai River boasts some excellent whitewater, with Class II – III rapids churning as the river rushes toward Skilak Lake. Our Canyon rafting float will get your heart pounding on these rapids, while also providing stretches of relaxed drifting so you can take in the scenery and wildlife. With a short hike at the end of the trip, this 20-mile trip is a great mix of excitement and easy-going adventure.

All ages are welcome to participate in the Canyon trip. See our rafting page for more information on rafting the Kenai Canyon (link)

For the even more adventurous…

Six Mile Creek

Six Mile Creek, just 40 minutes from Drifters Lodge, is a whitewater paradise. With a series of Class IV, IV+ and V rapids set in lush fern covered canyons, you get it all. A crystal-clear salmon stream and the most difficult whitewater you can run.

Six Mile drops out of the Chugach Mountains and plunges 50 feet per mile, carving 3 canyons each with increasingly difficult rapids. With rapid names like “Suckhole,” “Merry-go-round,” and “Jaws” you know you’ll be facing heart pounding drops and waves. Are you up to the challenge?

To safely run this whitewater, expert guides direct you to paddle for momentum while they maneuver using the oars. Everyone must pass a swim test, in which you swim out into the river and follow commands to swim to the raft on the far bank. Please be mindful the physical demands when considering this trip.

Daily starts: 9am, 2pm. Trip lasts 3-4 hours.

You can do all three canyons, or end your trip at two, cutting off the last, most difficult canyon.

Due to insurance restrictions, those with a heart condition, epilepsy, and pregnant women cannot participate.

Glacier Discovery Train Trip

This excellent out-and-back day trip starts and ends in Anchorage, and there are several stops along the way where you have the option to personalize your trip. In cases where Drifters Lodge provides transportation, we will pick you up at the second Portage stop at 5:15pm to eliminate extra driving.

Trip overview:

Train departs Anchorage at 9:45am. The first stop is the ski resort town of Girdwood, known for arts and dining. Next, you’ll ride to Portage, where you have the option to get out and tour the animal exhibits at the Alaska Conservation Center or stay on the train for a side trip to Whittier. This detour takes you out-and-back through the Whittier Tunnel, a 2-mile eerie one-lane tunnel through the mountain. Traffic is held so the train can pass.

The next leg of the trip takes you right off the road system. At the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, you will disembark for a short 1.3 mile walk along a National Forest trail to the edge of Spencer Lake and magnificent views of Spencer Glacier. A National Park Ranger is on site to narrate this excursion.

You can choose to stay at the Spencer Glacier stop for a longer hike, kayaking or an ice climb, but most choose to get back on the train for what may be the most scenic stretch of this train route.

The train winds through the Placer River Valley with views of Bartlett and Trail Glaciers and the alpine meadows of Grandview. After the Grandview stop at 3:20pm, you’ll begin the return journey.

Glacier Discovery Route: May 25 – September 16

6-Hour Kenai Fjords National Park glacier and wildlife cruise from Seward

A glacier cruise is one of the most popular ways to see an amazing variety of Alaska scenery and animals. A six-hour glacier cruise out of Seward in the Kenai Fjords National Park will check all the boxes for spectacular tidewater glaciers and a chance for a wide variety of wildlife sightings. You captain will seek out Whales and Orcas as they feed in and around Resurrection Bay on your way to the glaciers. A stop at sheer-cliff bird rookeries showcases puffins and other seabirds, and Stellar Sea Lions lounge on the rocks. Keep a keen eye out for bear, moose and goats along the shore. Otters play in the harbor, and seals prop themselves up on chunks of ice that have calved off the glaciers. A National Park Ranger narrates the trip and is available to answer all your questions in person.

The large, stable catamaran provides you with warm comfortable cabin seating and outdoor viewing areas. A hot buffet meal of Alaskan salmon and prime rib is provided.

May 3 – September 22

11:30am – 5:30pm.

26 Glacier Cruise from Whittier

For those who want glaciers, glaciers, and more glaciers, the 26 Glacier Cruise out of Whittier is an excellent option. Cruise Esther Passage and College Fjord in Prince William Sound. Hear the crack of a calving glacier as ancient pieces of ice break into the ocean.

May 3 – October 5
12:30pm – 5:30pm

The name “glacier tour” doesn’t quite capture the excitement of this jet ski experience. This one is for those adventure seekers who want a hands-on, in-control, up-close, drama-filled glacier adventure. Ultra-small craft jet skis allow you to get close to the glaciers and waterfalls of Blackstone Bay. You can ride right up to rock formations and explore little nooks that you would sail right by on a normal glacier cruise.

It’s exactly what you think: everyone is outfitted in a premium quality dry-suit and operates their own jet ski in a guided, small group. The quiet SEADOO jet skis have specially soundproofed engines to minimize the noise factor and maximize wildlife sightings.

Daily departures from Whittier at 9:00am and 2:30pm.

The trip is about 4-4.5 hours long.

Available May – September, weather permitting

Since you’ll be covering about 60 miles on a jet ski, you need to be in good physical condition for this trip.

Fly-in Fishing Alpine Lakes

Drifters Lodge partners with some of the best backcountry pilots on the Kenai Peninsula to deliver you and your Drifters guide to one of several remote high alpine lakes in our local Chugach Mountains. Feel the quiet settle in as the plane departs, leaving you and your guide to work the lake for Arctic Grayling and/or Rainbow Trout. The trout are beautifully colored, and the grayling are often wonderfully aggressive, giving you the opportunity to experiment with fly rods and ultra-light spinning rods. Enjoy your lunch surrounded by mountain peaks and take a break from fishing to explore the streams and shore around the lake. The pilot will return in 4-6 hours to pick you up.

Many people find this trip to be the absolute high point of their entire vacation. It is a freeing experience to be removed from civilization and to not see another person all day long. That being said, safety is the top consideration. Your guide will be prepared with survival gear and a satellite phone in case of emergencies.

Trip available mid to late June through mid-August depending on thawing and weather.

Fly-in Salmon Fishing and Bear Viewing

For an incredible salmon experience, take a float plane across Cook Inlet to the edge of Lake Clark National Park. Here, you will meet your guide, who will lead you to some of the best bear viewing and fishing opportunities around at Wolverine Creek. Fish for sockeye salmon from a spot on the bank before heading out in the boat to seek out some bears doing their own fishing. Don’t forget your zoom lens to take advantage of the incredible photo ops. With any luck, you’ll return from this trip with amazing pictures of bears in their natural habitat and a bag of fresh salmon fillets to enjoy yourself.

Fly in fishing & bear viewing at wolverine creek: June 10 – July 31

A version of this trip is also available during the silver salmon run. July 20 – September 9

See more about the fly-in fishing options on our fishing page:

Every seat is a window seat in a tiny float plane. Hear the roar of the engine and feel the adrenaline rush as you take off from Trail Lake and fly over wild mountains, lakes, and valleys. A range of flights are available.

30 minutes: get a taste of the majestic mountains in the Chugach National forest and fly by nearby glaciers

1 hour: take a little more time to see glaciers, icefields, and wildlife

1.5 hours: aerial tour of Kenai Fjords National Park tidewater glaciers, Harding Icefield, and wildlife

2 Hour: Prince William Sound/ College Fjords tour

5 Hour Denali Trip: Think you don’t have time to see Denali? With a 5-hour flight, you’ll get an aerial tour of the park with a rest stop in Big Lake.

Minimum group sizes may apply. Weight restrictions are typically 800-850lbs combined weight for all passengers and gear.

Dates of operation typically June – mid-August.

Flights are weather-dependent.

This is a true bucket list trip. Take a float plane to one of several renowned bear viewing locations across Cook Inlet. Wolverine Creek and Lake Clark National Park are accessible by plane, and you will fly to location, and then your guide will use a boat to safely get you closer to the bears as they fish for salmon. Enjoy a salmon bake, once-in-a-lifetime photography opportunities, and views of three active volcanoes (Redoubt, Iliamna, and Spur) on your way home.

Wolverine Creek June 15 – July 31

Lake Clark National Park July 25 – September 9

Leave the world behind as you rise 3200 feet above sea level to the Punch Bowl Glacier, where a dog team awaits. The team will take you on a short sled ride, and you will feel the wind in your face and the power of these incredible animals, all while surrounded by the blinding snow field and snow-capped peaks. Learn about how the dogs are raised with the innate desire to run, the history of the famous Iditarod trail and race, and cuddle some adorable puppies.

The trip lasts about 2 hours, so there is plenty of time in the day to explore Girdwood while you are in the area.

There are many start times throughout the day, giving a lot of flexibility to plan this activity.

Available May 15 – August 31

Get up close and personal with glaciers – one of the world’s most powerful natural forces. From the air, it is apparent how these incredible masses of ice can gouge, smooth, and carve a landscape. You’ll fly up glacial valleys to see panoramas of Lake George Glacier, Whiteout Glacier, and Colony Glacier.

The landing will place you into some of the most surreal landscapes you’ll ever see. You’ll be surrounded by ancient blue ice, crystal melt pools, and giant formations that make you feel like an ant on the glacier surface.

This roughly 1 hour flight leaves from Girdwood and is available year-round.

Led by Cooper Landing resident and multi-talented Alaskan, Lorraine Temple, this tour of the local landmarks and history is fun, informative, and provides a snapshot of past and contemporary life in Alaska with visits to the K’beq’ cultural site, Cooper Landing Museum, homestead of historian Mona Painter and a demonstration of Lorraine’s own sled dog team. Lorraine is a delightful tour guide. She has done it all, from mushing her own sled dog team to captaining research vessels and commercial fishing boats out of Homer, Alaska.

This laid-back, in-town activity pairs well with a 2 or 3-hour scenic float on the Upper Kenai River for a relaxing day where you never even have to leave Cooper Landing.

Whether you are on the river, a hike, or just sitting around the lodge campfire, keep your eyes open and you’ll spot an amazing number of bird species in and around Cooper Landing.

For all the birders out there, here is our guide to birdwatching right from the lodge.

Visit a gold rich mine in Girdwood, where you can tour the historic buildings of a mining camp from the Gold Rush Era before catching a gold panning demonstration and observing serious prospectors in action using a variety of techniques. You can choose to either rent your gear and be turned loose to pick a spot and try your luck, or participate in an excursion with more carefully guided instruction on a variety of prospecting methods with a focus on maximizing your day’s take of gold.

Enjoy stunning local scenery, viewpoints, and salmon streams on horseback. Whether you are a longtime lover of horses, or a complete novice, Alaska Horsemen and their fantastic horses will take care of you on the trail in our local Cooper Landing backcountry. These trips can range from a short easy ride to longer, customized outings.

3-Hour Tour Near Girdwood

This group ATV adventure is led on an unmarked trail in Chugach State Park, and it offers dramatic mountain/valley scenery and showcases the beauty of Alaska’s temperate rainforests. There is a very good chance of seeing bears from mid-June through September, when salmon return to the stream to spawn. A highlight of this trip is the stop where you park your ATV and hike down to a waterfall to look for the fishing bears. Since this trip lasts about 3 hours, it’s a great activity to make part of a full day exploring Girdwood. You could combine it with a ride on the Alyeska Tram (we can arrange tickets), brewery, shops, and dining.

May 25 – September 15

10am or 2pm departures

3 Hours in the Forest Canopy

This is an excellent activity to make part of your day in Seward. Explore the temperate rainforest from canopy level! This group tour includes ground training, 8 zips, 3 suspension bridges and 2 rappels that take you past huge Sitka Spruces, Mountain Hemlocks, and reflective ponds.

Available May 24 – September 21

Multiple daily start times

10 years and older. Weight restrictions apply

Easy/Beginner trip

The three-hour Resurrection Bay kayaking trip is perfect for beginner kayakers and families. Choose an early morning start time for the best chance at flat calm water and beating the afternoon breeze. Paddle along the bay in stable 2-man kayaks, spotting wildlife. Late in the summer, you can even observe salmon as they return to their spawning streams. The salmon surge in from the ocean and you may observe them leaping out of the water as they head for their stream of origin.

8 years old and up

Full day Kayaking with Hike

For the ultimate day of kayaking, our favorite trip combines kayaking and hiking in the Caines Head State Rec Area. After outfitting and orientation, kayakers paddle along the Caines Head shoreline, looking for sea otters, sea lions, porpoise, eagles, and sea birds. When you reach the point, you will enjoy a shore lunch. Then, as time allows, you will hike to Fort McGilvray and explore an abandoned subterranean WWII fort that is only accessible by boat or a long hike to the trailhead through tidally restrictive areas.

This active adventure is an awesome way to see some places that most people won’t take the time or effort to visit on their vacation. With about 10 miles of kayaking and 5 miles of moderate elevation gain hiking, this trip requires a baseline of physical fitness. The experience is well worth the effort!

12 years old and up

May 25 – August 25

8:30am

Stand Up Paddleboard in Alaska? Absolutely. Insulated wetsuits or dry suits are provided so you are comfortable on your adventure. There are options for novice to advanced paddlers on Kenai Lake, Rainbow Lake, Cooper Lake, and even on the Kenai River.

Ride the world-class trails in and around Cooper Landing. Bike rentals can be arranged with or without a guide. Adventure seekers will love the payoff of views at the top of the local mountain trails, and then the exhilarating ride back down. Popular trail choices are Crescent Lake, Russian Falls, Russian Lake, Portage Glacier trail of Blue Ice, and Johnson Pass.

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

The Refuge Visitor Center is located in Soldotna. It is a fantastic place to learn about the unique combination of ecosystems in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, from Icefields to Oceans. The visitor center has detailed wildlife exhibits, resources for trails and public use areas, a gift shop, and Refuge employees who are eager to answer all your questions.

Summer Hours (Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day): 9:00am – 5:00pm Daily

Driving Directions from Soldotna

To find the Refuge Visitor Center when you arrive in Soldotna, travel to mile 95 of the Sterling Highway, crossing the Kenai River Bridge. Once you cross the river, immediately get in the far left turn lane and make a left on to Funny River Road. As soon as you are on Funny River Road, prepare for an immediate right turn on to Ski Hill Road. Drive one mile up the hill and make a left turn on to a road leading to the Visitor Center. Follow directional signs and look for the big bronze bull moose statue.

Cooper Lake Drive

This large and beautiful lake is about a thirteen-mile drive down Snug Harbor Road in Cooper Landing. Turn left out of the Lodge, and drive a quarter mile, taking the last right before the bridge. Most of Snug Harbor Road is dirt, but in good condition with a few potholes here and there. It takes about 45 minutes to get to Cooper Lake, but there are stops along the way. Rainbow Lakes, about 30 minutes up the road, are a great place to take a break. You can hike about a quarter – half mile on a well-maintained flat gravel path to get awesome views of these trout lakes.

Quartz Creek Rd

This is a drive through the back-country in Cooper Landing. You will take Quartz Creek Rd next to Sunrise Inn (left from Drifters Lodge). The road takes you through the forest all the way past Quartz Creek Campground, back to Crescent Creek Campground. About a 30-minute drive total. You’ll get to drive alongside both Quartz and Crescent Creeks, clear flowing salmon streams. In late summer, you may be able to spot sockeye and king salmon pairing up over their fiercely defended spawning beds. There are some places where you can get out and walk along these streams. Please be bear aware and carry spray. Where there are salmon, bears are not far behind.

Skilak Lake Rd

This is an awesome 20-mile scenic bypass of a section of the Sterling Hwy inside the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Turn right out of the lodge onto the Sterling Hwy. The turnoff for Skilak Lake Rd is about 20 minutes down the road. You can drive any length of this road, and have a great chance for seeing bears and moose from your car, especially at dawn and dusk. There are also tons of trailheads along the way. Bring your day pack and bear spray so you can do a quick out-and-back hike. The Kenai River Overlook Trail is a favorite, with views into the Kenai River Canyon after only half a mile.

Scenic Floats:

 

7 Mi (appx 2 hr)

 

12 Mi (appx 3 hr)

 

Sit back and relax as you meander through the glaciated valley of the Kenai River headwaters. Our entertaining and knowledgeable rafting guides will navigate you down breathtaking stretches of river so you can spot wildlife and soak in the towering mountain views and famous baby blue waters of the Kenai.

 

Our rafts seat up to 10. Private rafts available

 

10am, 2pm, 6pm daily departures

 

Canyon Trip + Hike

 

20 mi (5-6 hr)

 

For a longer trip, we extend our shorter floats to include the entire Upper Kenai River, from Drifters Lodge to Skilak Lake. Beyond the 12 mile mark, the river plunges into the Kenai Canyon, with swift class II and III rapids, before emptying into Skilak Lake. Your guide will park the raft and hike with you up Hidden Creek Trail to the shuttle vehicle. This 1.75 mi hike is a very gradual climb, and well within most people’s ability level.

 

8am Daily Departure

 

For full details, see our rafting page 

We work with you to customize a full day road trip to Seward, Homer, or Girdwood. Our driver will act as your personal tour guide and chauffeur for the day, so feel free to zone out looking at the scenery or indulge in a glass of wine or craft brew.

 

Seward: Explore a unique historical harbor town. Plan an itinerary with options to kayak, zip line, take a glacier cruise, visit exit glacier, tour the Alaska Sea Life Center, Trail Lake Hatchery, shop, and enjoy a meal in the friendly bustling downtown.

 

Girdwood: Take a trip to this resort town at the base of Alyeska Mountain. Shop local crafts, get a birds-eye view of Turnagain Arm as you climb 2300ft on the tram, and see iconic Alaska animals up close at the Conservation Center. Gold panning, gold mine tour, an ATV trip, and a meal at the famous Double Musky Inn are all options.

 

Homer: Come with us and enjoy a day of art-viewing, wine-sipping and exploring local culture in the Halibut Capital of the World. We will show you some of our favorite spots, grab lunch on the iconic Homer spit, and take in all the sights that Kachemak Bay has to offer. Highlights are the Normal Lowell Gallery, Pratt Museum of history, homesteading, native cultures, and marine ecology, Bear Creek Winery. We can even arrange a ferry ride to the town of Seldovia across the bay.

Take a few steps off the road to experience true wilderness. Choose from a wide variety of hikes in the Chugach National Forest and Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Whether you want an easy forest trail or a challenging climb with the payoff of panoramic views, our guides will provide a safer, enhanced experience so you can enjoy being immersed in nature. Look for animals or study the details of wildflowers, berries, and mushrooms that can be found along the trails.

 

A chance to see wildlife in its natural habitat is one of the great draws of a hike. We have seen bears fishing in the Russian River, moose grazing in a meadow, songbirds in the tree canopy, and a wolverine galloping across a hillside. One of our favorite entertaining sightings is the spruce grouse, which is commonly found hanging out right on the trail. Grouse look at you blankly for a moment before deciding they should probably get under cover.

 

Half and Full Day hikes available.

 

See all the options on our guided fishing page

Fly-in Fishing Alpine Lakes

Drifters Lodge partners with some of the best backcountry pilots on the Kenai Peninsula to deliver you and your Drifters guide to one of several remote high alpine lakes in our local Chugach Mountains. Feel the quiet settle in as the plane departs, leaving you and your guide to work the lake for Arctic Grayling and/or Rainbow Trout. The trout are beautifully colored, and the grayling are often wonderfully aggressive, giving you the opportunity to experiment with fly rods and ultra-light spinning rods. Enjoy your lunch surrounded by mountain peaks and take a break from fishing to explore the streams and shore around the lake. The pilot will return in 4-6 hours to pick you up.

Many people find this trip to be the absolute high point of their entire vacation. It is a freeing experience to be removed from civilization and to not see another person all day long. That being said, safety is the top consideration. Your guide will be prepared with survival gear and a satellite phone in case of emergencies.

Trip available mid to late June through mid-August depending on thawing and weather.

Fly-in Salmon Fishing and Bear Viewing

For an incredible salmon experience, take a float plane across Cook Inlet to the edge of Lake Clark National Park. Here, you will meet your guide, who will lead you to some of the best bear viewing and fishing opportunities around at Wolverine Creek. Fish for sockeye salmon from a spot on the bank before heading out in the boat to seek out some bears doing their own fishing. Don’t forget your zoom lens to take advantage of the incredible photo ops. With any luck, you’ll return from this trip with amazing pictures of bears in their natural habitat and a bag of fresh salmon fillets to enjoy yourself.

Fly in fishing & bear viewing at wolverine creek: June 10 – July 31

A version of this trip is also available during the silver salmon run. July 20 – September 9

See more about the fly-in fishing options on our fishing page:

Every seat is a window seat in a tiny float plane. Hear the roar of the engine and feel the adrenaline rush as you take off from Trail Lake and fly over wild mountains, lakes, and valleys. A range of flights are available.

 

30 minutes: get a taste of the majestic mountains in the Chugach National forest and fly by nearby glaciers

 

1 hour: take a little more time to see glaciers, icefields, and wildlife

 

1.5 hours: aerial tour of Kenai Fjords National Park tidewater glaciers, Harding Icefield, and wildlife

 

2 Hour: Prince William Sound/ College Fjords tour

 

5 Hour Denali Trip: Think you don’t have time to see Denali? With a 5-hour flight, you’ll get an aerial tour of the park with a rest stop in Big Lake.

 

Minimum group sizes may apply. Weight restrictions are typically 800-850lbs combined weight for all passengers and gear.

 

Dates of operation typically June – mid-August.

 

Flights are weather-dependent.

This is a true bucket list trip. Take a float plane to one of several renowned bear viewing locations across Cook Inlet. Wolverine Creek and Lake Clark National Park are accessible by plane, and you will fly to location, and then your guide will use a boat to safely get you closer to the bears as they fish for salmon. Enjoy a salmon bake, once-in-a-lifetime photography opportunities, and views of three active volcanoes (Redoubt, Iliamna, and Spur) on your way home.

 

Wolverine Creek June 15 – July 31

 

Lake Clark National Park July 25 – September 9

Leave the world behind as you rise 3200 feet above sea level to the Punch Bowl Glacier, where a dog team awaits. The team will take you on a short sled ride, and you will feel the wind in your face and the power of these incredible animals, all while surrounded by the blinding snow field and snow-capped peaks. Learn about how the dogs are raised with the innate desire to run, the history of the famous Iditarod trail and race, and cuddle some adorable puppies.

 

The trip lasts about 2 hours, so there is plenty of time in the day to explore Girdwood while you are in the area.

 

There are many start times throughout the day, giving a lot of flexibility to plan this activity.

 

Available May 15 – August 31

Get up close and personal with glaciers – one of the world’s most powerful natural forces. From the air, it is apparent how these incredible masses of ice can gouge, smooth, and carve a landscape. You’ll fly up glacial valleys to see panoramas of Lake George Glacier, Whiteout Glacier, and Colony Glacier.

 

The landing will place you into some of the most surreal landscapes you’ll ever see. You’ll be surrounded by ancient blue ice, crystal melt pools, and giant formations that make you feel like an ant on the glacier surface.

 

This roughly 1 hour flight leaves from Girdwood and is available year-round.

This is a true bucket list trip. Take a float plane to one of several renowned bear viewing locations across Cook Inlet. Wolverine Creek and Lake Clark National Park are accessible by plane, and you will fly to location, and then your guide will use a boat to safely get you closer to the bears as they fish for salmon. Enjoy a salmon bake, once-in-a-lifetime photography opportunities, and views of three active volcanoes (Redoubt, Iliamna, and Spur) on your way home.

 

Wolverine Creek June 15 – July 31

 

Lake Clark National Park July 25 – September 9

6-Hour Kenai Fjords National Park glacier and wildlife cruise from Seward

 

A glacier cruise is one of the most popular ways to see an amazing variety of Alaska scenery and animals. A six-hour glacier cruise out of Seward in the Kenai Fjords National Park will check all the boxes for spectacular tidewater glaciers and a chance for a wide variety of wildlife sightings. You captain will seek out Whales and Orcas as they feed in and around Resurrection Bay on your way to the glaciers. A stop at sheer-cliff bird rookeries showcases puffins and other seabirds, and Stellar Sea Lions lounge on the rocks. Keep a keen eye out for bear, moose and goats along the shore. Otters play in the harbor, and seals prop themselves up on chunks of ice that have calved off the glaciers. A National Park Ranger narrates the trip and is available to answer all your questions in person.

 

The large, stable catamaran provides you with warm comfortable cabin seating and outdoor viewing areas. A hot buffet meal of Alaskan salmon and prime rib is provided.

 

May 3 – September 22

 

11:30am – 5:30pm.

Whether you are on the river, a hike, or just sitting around the lodge campfire, keep your eyes open and you’ll spot an amazing number of bird species in and around Cooper Landing.

 

For all the birders out there, here is our guide to birdwatching right from the lodge.

Scenic Floats:

 

7 Mi (appx 2 hr)

 

12 Mi (appx 3 hr)

 

Sit back and relax as you meander through the glaciated valley of the Kenai River headwaters. Our entertaining and knowledgeable rafting guides will navigate you down breathtaking stretches of river so you can spot wildlife and soak in the towering mountain views and famous baby blue waters of the Kenai.

 

Our rafts seat up to 10. Private rafts available

 

10am, 2pm, 6pm daily departures

 

Canyon Trip + Hike

 

20 mi (5-6 hr)

 

For a longer trip, we extend our shorter floats to include the entire Upper Kenai River, from Drifters Lodge to Skilak Lake. Beyond the 12 mile mark, the river plunges into the Kenai Canyon, with swift class II and III rapids, before emptying into Skilak Lake. Your guide will park the raft and hike with you up Hidden Creek Trail to the shuttle vehicle. This 1.75 mi hike is a very gradual climb, and well within most people’s ability level.

 

8am Daily Departure

 

For full details, see our rafting page 

3-Hour Tour Near Girdwood

 

This group ATV adventure is led on an unmarked trail in Chugach State Park, and it offers dramatic mountain/valley scenery and showcases the beauty of Alaska’s temperate rainforests. There is a very good chance of seeing bears from mid-June through September, when salmon return to the stream to spawn. A highlight of this trip is the stop where you park your ATV and hike down to a waterfall to look for the fishing bears. Since this trip lasts about 3 hours, it’s a great activity to make part of a full day exploring Girdwood. You could combine it with a ride on the Alyeska Tram (we can arrange tickets), brewery, shops, and dining.

 

May 25 – September 15

 

10am or 2pm departures

 

Kenai River Canyon Rafting

 

The Upper Kenai River boasts some excellent whitewater, with Class II – III rapids churning as the river rushes toward Skilak Lake. Our Canyon rafting float will get your heart pounding on these rapids, while also providing stretches of relaxed drifting so you can take in the scenery and wildlife. With a short hike at the end of the trip, this 20-mile trip is a great mix of excitement and easy-going adventure.

 

All ages are welcome to participate in the Canyon trip. See our rafting page for more information on rafting the Kenai Canyon (link)

 

For the even more adventurous…

 

Six Mile Creek

 

Six Mile Creek, just 40 minutes from Drifters Lodge, is a whitewater paradise. With a series of Class IV, IV+ and V rapids set in lush fern covered canyons, you get it all. A crystal-clear salmon stream and the most difficult whitewater you can run.

 

Six Mile drops out of the Chugach Mountains and plunges 50 feet per mile, carving 3 canyons each with increasingly difficult rapids. With rapid names like “Suckhole,” “Merry-go-round,” and “Jaws” you know you’ll be facing heart pounding drops and waves. Are you up to the challenge?

 

To safely run this whitewater, expert guides direct you to paddle for momentum while they maneuver using the oars. Everyone must pass a swim test, in which you swim out into the river and follow commands to swim to the raft on the far bank. Please be mindful the physical demands when considering this trip.

 

Daily starts: 9am, 2pm. Trip lasts 3-4 hours.

 

You can do all three canyons, or end your trip at two, cutting off the last, most difficult canyon.

 

Due to insurance restrictions, those with a heart condition, epilepsy, and pregnant women cannot participate.

Easy/Beginner trip

 

The three-hour Resurrection Bay kayaking trip is perfect for beginner kayakers and families. Choose an early morning start time for the best chance at flat calm water and beating the afternoon breeze. Paddle along the bay in stable 2-man kayaks, spotting wildlife. Late in the summer, you can even observe salmon as they return to their spawning streams. The salmon surge in from the ocean and you may observe them leaping out of the water as they head for their stream of origin.

 

8 years old and up

 

Full day Kayaking with Hike

 

For the ultimate day of kayaking, our favorite trip combines kayaking and hiking in the Caines Head State Rec Area. After outfitting and orientation, kayakers paddle along the Caines Head shoreline, looking for sea otters, sea lions, porpoise, eagles, and sea birds. When you reach the point, you will enjoy a shore lunch. Then, as time allows, you will hike to Fort McGilvray and explore an abandoned subterranean WWII fort that is only accessible by boat or a long hike to the trailhead through tidally restrictive areas.

 

This active adventure is an awesome way to see some places that most people won’t take the time or effort to visit on their vacation. With about 10 miles of kayaking and 5 miles of moderate elevation gain hiking, this trip requires a baseline of physical fitness. The experience is well worth the effort!

 

12 years old and up

 

May 25 – August 25

 

8:30am

Ride the world-class trails in and around Cooper Landing. Bike rentals can be arranged with or without a guide. Adventure seekers will love the payoff of views at the top of the local mountain trails, and then the exhilarating ride back down. Popular trail choices are Crescent Lake, Russian Falls, Russian Lake, Portage Glacier trail of Blue Ice, and Johnson Pass.

Enjoy stunning local scenery, viewpoints, and salmon streams on horseback. Whether you are a longtime lover of horses, or a complete novice, Alaska Horsemen and their fantastic horses will take care of you on the trail in our local Cooper Landing backcountry. These trips can range from a short easy ride to longer, customized outings.

The name “glacier tour” doesn’t quite capture the excitement of this jet ski experience. This one is for those adventure seekers who want a hands-on, in-control, up-close, drama-filled glacier adventure. Ultra-small craft jet skis allow you to get close to the glaciers and waterfalls of Blackstone Bay. You can ride right up to rock formations and explore little nooks that you would sail right by on a normal glacier cruise.

 

It’s exactly what you think: everyone is outfitted in a premium quality dry-suit and operates their own jet ski in a guided, small group. The quiet SEADOO jet skis have specially soundproofed engines to minimize the noise factor and maximize wildlife sightings.

 

Daily departures from Whittier at 9:00am and 2:30pm.

 

The trip is about 4-4.5 hours long.

 

Available May – September, weather permitting

 

Since you’ll be covering about 60 miles on a jet ski, you need to be in good physical condition for this trip.

Stand Up Paddleboard in Alaska? Absolutely. Insulated wetsuits or dry suits are provided so you are comfortable on your adventure. There are options for novice to advanced paddlers on Kenai Lake, Rainbow Lake, Cooper Lake, and even on the Kenai River.

3 Hours in the Forest Canopy

 

This is an excellent activity to make part of your day in Seward. Explore the temperate rainforest from canopy level! This group tour includes ground training, 8 zips, 3 suspension bridges and 2 rappels that take you past huge Sitka Spruces, Mountain Hemlocks, and reflective ponds.

 

Available May 24 – September 21

 

Multiple daily start times

 

10 years and older. Weight restrictions apply

3-Hour Tour Near Girdwood

 

This group ATV adventure is led on an unmarked trail in Chugach State Park, and it offers dramatic mountain/valley scenery and showcases the beauty of Alaska’s temperate rainforests. There is a very good chance of seeing bears from mid-June through September, when salmon return to the stream to spawn. A highlight of this trip is the stop where you park your ATV and hike down to a waterfall to look for the fishing bears. Since this trip lasts about 3 hours, it’s a great activity to make part of a full day exploring Girdwood. You could combine it with a ride on the Alyeska Tram (we can arrange tickets), brewery, shops, and dining.

 

May 25 – September 15

 

10am or 2pm departures

We work with you to customize a full day road trip to Seward, Homer, or Girdwood. Our driver will act as your personal tour guide and chauffeur for the day, so feel free to zone out looking at the scenery or indulge in a glass of wine or craft brew.

 

Seward: Explore a unique historical harbor town. Plan an itinerary with options to kayak, zip line, take a glacier cruise, visit exit glacier, tour the Alaska Sea Life Center, Trail Lake Hatchery, shop, and enjoy a meal in the friendly bustling downtown.

 

Girdwood: Take a trip to this resort town at the base of Alyeska Mountain. Shop local crafts, get a birds-eye view of Turnagain Arm as you climb 2300ft on the tram, and see iconic Alaska animals up close at the Conservation Center. Gold panning, gold mine tour, an ATV trip, and a meal at the famous Double Musky Inn are all options.

 

Homer: Come with us and enjoy a day of art-viewing, wine-sipping and exploring local culture in the Halibut Capital of the World. We will show you some of our favorite spots, grab lunch on the iconic Homer spit, and take in all the sights that Kachemak Bay has to offer. Highlights are the Normal Lowell Gallery, Pratt Museum of history, homesteading, native cultures, and marine ecology, Bear Creek Winery. We can even arrange a ferry ride to the town of Seldovia across the bay.

Led by Cooper Landing resident and multi-talented Alaskan, Lorraine Temple, this tour of the local landmarks and history is fun, informative, and provides a snapshot of past and contemporary life in Alaska with visits to the K’beq’ cultural site, Cooper Landing Museum, homestead of historian Mona Painter and a demonstration of Lorraine’s own sled dog team. Lorraine is a delightful tour guide. She has done it all, from mushing her own sled dog team to captaining research vessels and commercial fishing boats out of Homer, Alaska.

 

This laid-back, in-town activity pairs well with a 2 or 3-hour scenic float on the Upper Kenai River for a relaxing day where you never even have to leave Cooper Landing.

Glacier Discovery Train Trip

 

This excellent out-and-back day trip starts and ends in Anchorage, and there are several stops along the way where you have the option to personalize your trip. In cases where Drifters Lodge provides transportation, we will pick you up at the second Portage stop at 5:15pm to eliminate extra driving.

 

Trip overview:

 

Train departs Anchorage at 9:45am. The first stop is the ski resort town of Girdwood, known for arts and dining. Next, you’ll ride to Portage, where you have the option to get out and tour the animal exhibits at the Alaska Conservation Center or stay on the train for a side trip to Whittier. This detour takes you out-and-back through the Whittier Tunnel, a 2-mile eerie one-lane tunnel through the mountain. Traffic is held so the train can pass.

 

The next leg of the trip takes you right off the road system. At the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, you will disembark for a short 1.3 mile walk along a National Forest trail to the edge of Spencer Lake and magnificent views of Spencer Glacier. A National Park Ranger is on site to narrate this excursion.

 

You can choose to stay at the Spencer Glacier stop for a longer hike, kayaking or an ice climb, but most choose to get back on the train for what may be the most scenic stretch of this train route.

 

The train winds through the Placer River Valley with views of Bartlett and Trail Glaciers and the alpine meadows of Grandview. After the Grandview stop at 3:20pm, you’ll begin the return journey.

 

Glacier Discovery Route: May 25 – September 16

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

 

The Refuge Visitor Center is located in Soldotna. It is a fantastic place to learn about the unique combination of ecosystems in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, from Icefields to Oceans. The visitor center has detailed wildlife exhibits, resources for trails and public use areas, a gift shop, and Refuge employees who are eager to answer all your questions.

 

Summer Hours (Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day): 9:00am – 5:00pm Daily

 

Driving Directions from Soldotna

To find the Refuge Visitor Center when you arrive in Soldotna, travel to mile 95 of the Sterling Highway, crossing the Kenai River Bridge. Once you cross the river, immediately get in the far left turn lane and make a left on to Funny River Road. As soon as you are on Funny River Road, prepare for an immediate right turn on to Ski Hill Road. Drive one mile up the hill and make a left turn on to a road leading to the Visitor Center. Follow directional signs and look for the big bronze bull moose statue.

Cooper Lake Drive

 

This large and beautiful lake is about a thirteen-mile drive down Snug Harbor Road in Cooper Landing. Turn left out of the Lodge, and drive a quarter mile, taking the last right before the bridge. Most of Snug Harbor Road is dirt, but in good condition with a few potholes here and there. It takes about 45 minutes to get to Cooper Lake, but there are stops along the way. Rainbow Lakes, about 30 minutes up the road, are a great place to take a break. You can hike about a quarter – half mile on a well-maintained flat gravel path to get awesome views of these trout lakes.

 

Quartz Creek Rd

 

This is a drive through the back-country in Cooper Landing. You will take Quartz Creek Rd next to Sunrise Inn (left from Drifters Lodge). The road takes you through the forest all the way past Quartz Creek Campground, back to Crescent Creek Campground. About a 30-minute drive total. You’ll get to drive alongside both Quartz and Crescent Creeks, clear flowing salmon streams. In late summer, you may be able to spot sockeye and king salmon pairing up over their fiercely defended spawning beds. There are some places where you can get out and walk along these streams. Please be bear aware and carry spray. Where there are salmon, bears are not far behind.

 

Skilak Lake Rd

 

This is an awesome 20-mile scenic bypass of a section of the Sterling Hwy inside the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Turn right out of the lodge onto the Sterling Hwy. The turnoff for Skilak Lake Rd is about 20 minutes down the road. You can drive any length of this road, and have a great chance for seeing bears and moose from your car, especially at dawn and dusk. There are also tons of trailheads along the way. Bring your day pack and bear spray so you can do a quick out-and-back hike. The Kenai River Overlook Trail is a favorite, with views into the Kenai River Canyon after only half a mile.

Visit a gold rich mine in Girdwood, where you can tour the historic buildings of a mining camp from the Gold Rush Era before catching a gold panning demonstration and observing serious prospectors in action using a variety of techniques. You can choose to either rent your gear and be turned loose to pick a spot and try your luck, or participate in an excursion with more carefully guided instruction on a variety of prospecting methods with a focus on maximizing your day’s take of gold.

6-Hour Kenai Fjords National Park glacier and wildlife cruise from Seward

 

A glacier cruise is one of the most popular ways to see an amazing variety of Alaska scenery and animals. A six-hour glacier cruise out of Seward in the Kenai Fjords National Park will check all the boxes for spectacular tidewater glaciers and a chance for a wide variety of wildlife sightings. You captain will seek out Whales and Orcas as they feed in and around Resurrection Bay on your way to the glaciers. A stop at sheer-cliff bird rookeries showcases puffins and other seabirds, and Stellar Sea Lions lounge on the rocks. Keep a keen eye out for bear, moose and goats along the shore. Otters play in the harbor, and seals prop themselves up on chunks of ice that have calved off the glaciers. A National Park Ranger narrates the trip and is available to answer all your questions in person.

 

The large, stable catamaran provides you with warm comfortable cabin seating and outdoor viewing areas. A hot buffet meal of Alaskan salmon and prime rib is provided.

 

May 3 – September 22

 

11:30am – 5:30pm.

26 Glacier Cruise from Whittier

For those who want glaciers, glaciers, and more glaciers, the 26 Glacier Cruise out of Whittier is an excellent option. Cruise Esther Passage and College Fjord in Prince William Sound. Hear the crack of a calving glacier as ancient pieces of ice break into the ocean.

May 3 – October 5
12:30pm – 5:30pm

The name “glacier tour” doesn’t quite capture the excitement of this jet ski experience. This one is for those adventure seekers who want a hands-on, in-control, up-close, drama-filled glacier adventure. Ultra-small craft jet skis allow you to get close to the glaciers and waterfalls of Blackstone Bay. You can ride right up to rock formations and explore little nooks that you would sail right by on a normal glacier cruise.

It’s exactly what you think: everyone is outfitted in a premium quality dry-suit and operates their own jet ski in a guided, small group. The quiet SEADOO jet skis have specially soundproofed engines to minimize the noise factor and maximize wildlife sightings.

Daily departures from Whittier at 9:00am and 2:30pm.
The trip is about 4-4.5 hours long.
Available May – September, weather permitting

Since you’ll be covering about 60 miles on a jet ski, you need to be in good physical condition for this trip.

Every seat is a window seat in a tiny float plane. Hear the roar of the engine and feel the adrenaline rush as you take off from Trail Lake and fly over wild mountains, lakes, and valleys. A range of flights are available.

 

30 minutes: get a taste of the majestic mountains in the Chugach National forest and fly by nearby glaciers

 

1 hour: take a little more time to see glaciers, icefields, and wildlife

 

1.5 hours: aerial tour of Kenai Fjords National Park tidewater glaciers, Harding Icefield, and wildlife

 

2 Hour: Prince William Sound/ College Fjords tour

 

5 Hour Denali Trip: Think you don’t have time to see Denali? With a 5-hour flight, you’ll get an aerial tour of the park with a rest stop in Big Lake.

 

Minimum group sizes may apply. Weight restrictions are typically 800-850lbs combined weight for all passengers and gear.

 

Dates of operation typically June – mid-August.

 

Flights are weather-dependent.