Wildlife Viewing


Moose, bears, lynx and hundreds of bird species call the Kenai Refuge home.  Opportunities abound to see these animals during a visit to the Refuge, especially in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area, where a 19-mile gravel road winds through forest habitat and provides access to lakes, rivers and wilderness lands.

For a list of Popular Day Hikes download our Refuge Reflections Visitor Guide.

Tips for Outdoor Safety

Tips for Viewing Wildlife 

Nearly two million acres in size, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is characterized by its diverse habitats and wildlife. Due to this variety, the Refuge is considered by many visitors to represent Alaska in miniature. Then, why is wildlife viewing so unpredictable here? Unlike the unobstructed viewing experienced on water in Kenai Fjords National Park or in an open tundra area like Denali National Park, much of the terrain at the Refuge is covered with high, dense vegetation. Although there are many miles of roads within the Refuge, the views obtained from a leisurely car ride are frequently obscured by brush and timber. However, there are several ways to surmount these barriers to wildlife viewing, as outlined below.

Where's the Wildlife? 

By paying attention to the variables involved in seeing wildlife here, you can significantly improve your visit.

Habitat - Become familiar with, and then visit the habitats required by the animals you are trying to spot.

Time of Day - Most animals are more active around sunrise and sunset.  When there is little traffic on the roads (early morning and late evening), wildlife is much more likely to be seen from your vehicle.

Wilderness - Explore the backcountry via our hiking trails or canoe system. Many animals prefer these less disturbed areas.

Patience - Be still and wait for the animals to "come to you".

Other Senses - Do more than just watch. Use your other senses to locate wildlife.