Kenai Nature Trail

Kenai Nature Trail Bench Overlooking Pond 10

"For boundless opportunities to discover nature in all its splendor, national wildlife refuges are unsurpassed. The National Wildlife Refuge System's extensive trails, boardwalks, observation decks, hunting and photography blinds, fishing piers and boat launches offer great opportunities to learn and have fun".


Kenai Nature Trail FootbridgeThe Kenai Nature Trail is a 1.25-mile trail accessed just north of the refuge headquarters (figures 23 and 25-maps from CCP). At the start of this trail is a 0.25-mile paved loop that is 5 feet wide. This part of the trail meets Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. A stationary, all-weather spotting scope and five viewing benches are also along this section of trail. The remaining trail is a soil and gravel footpath that tracks northward, above and parallel to the eastern shorelines of Ponds 8 and 10 (figure 25). The views of the Bitterroot Mountains are spectacular between this point and the end of the trail, where a viewing platform with an all-weather spotting scope is available. This part of the trail travels through a closed area, so visitors are not permitted off this trail and no dogs are allowed.

Kenai Nature Trail Viewing PlatformTwo permanent photo blinds are located along the Kenai Nature Trail. Blind 1 is located one-third of a mile from the visitor contact area on Pond 8; it sits on the edge of 5 acres of open water and marsh land and is sheltered to the east by cottonwood, aspen and alder trees. Blind 2 is located about 1.25 miles from the visitor contact area bordering Pond 10. These blinds are positioned on the edge of two different wetlands and face the west. Photographers who have regularly contributed photos and volunteer time to the refuge helped determine the design, construction, and placement of these photo blinds; we thank them for their time and efforts. Photographers are gently reminded that subjects and habitats are more important than photographs; nevertheless, there is always the potential to disturb wildlife.

Kenai Nature Trail Swallow BoxThe Kenai Nature Trail traverses the following vegetation communities: persistent emergent wet, floodplain and terrace grassland, and grassland-sagebrush. The plant communities and landscape aesthetics differ from those in the WVA, offering visitors a different wildlife viewing experience.

Wildlife Observations

Waterbirds (ducks, geese, swans, grebes, pelicans, terns, crane, rails); diurnal raptors (buteos,eagles, falcons, accipiters); swifts; swallows; sparrows and finches can be found here in good diversity and number given proper conditions.

Potential Changes

Kenai Nature Trail SnagAn additional seasonal walking loop (proposed management action) around the current Service road around Pond 8 (figure 25) may become part of the Kenai Nature Trail in the future to further wildlife observation opportunity. This trail would be opened seasonally for foot traffic, as appropriate, to protect waterfowl and other waterbirds using this pond. In the winter, users would be permitted to use cross country skis and snowshoes when adequate snow is available. It has also been proposed in the Refuge CCP that the public be given the choice to walk down to the pond’s edge on the current trail or remain on the higher bench (figure 25) that provides a more level walking surface. This action would not affect the trail length significantly.