Kachemak Bay State Park on the Kenai Peninsula is the oldest State Park in Alaska. The State Park along with the Kachemak State Wilderness Area encompasses 400,000 acres of forest, glaciers, mountains, and ocean shore. This spectacular park established in 1970, can only be reached by boat or airplane. It is located across Kachemak Bay from the town of Homer where visitors can find daily ferry service to several of the park’s docks.
The Kachemak Bay State Park is the place to escape to the wilderness for hiking, backpacking, camping, and enjoying the spectacular scenery. Wildlife and bird watching along with fishing for halibut and other cold-water species are popular pastimes at this remote park.
The park includes the Harding Glacier and mountains along with a rugged shoreline with its many bays and inlets. This is the land of the ancient Alutiiq and Dena’ina native people who lived in the forested land beneath the glacial peaks for centuries.
Fishing and Water Activities at Kachemak Bay State Park
This is the best location for halibut sport fishing. Fishing charters are available from The Lodge at Otter Cover, an eight-acre reserve surrounded by the park. Charter boat captains know where the halibut are running, and they have the heavy tackle necessary for catching this large and tasty cold-water fish.
Salmon also gather in Halibut Bay. Fishing for king salmon is possible in May and June. Smaller salmon migrate up the rivers to spawn later in the summer. Local bears may be waiting for them. Careful bear-viewing tours are available with trained guides.
Kayaking is popular in the secluded bays and in the rivers that run into the bay. Kayaks can be rented in Homer prior to visiting the park. Many campers and backpackers bring their own inflatable kayaks and small inflatable dinghies. They can camp along the shore of several rocky beach coves.
Birds are everywhere, including Gull Island near Halibut Cove. More than 12,000 seabirds, including puffins, nest in this area. Eagles, pigeon guillemots, marbled murrelets, and common murres nest along the park’s seashore.
Visitors may also spot whales, sea otters, seals, and porpoises. Explore the tide pools along the rocky shorelines for mollusks, crabs, sea stars, and other small creatures of the sea.
Hiking and Camping
Kachemak Bay State Park and the adjacent wilderness area offer more than 80 miles of hiking trails. Hikers will find six rustic public use cabins in the campgrounds and six yurts managed by a private company. Advanced reservations are required. There are 21 campsites scattered around the park and the shore along with numerous areas where backpackers can set up tents. Since the park is not accessible by road for recreational vehicles, camping is strictly for tents.
Hikers should use park maps and stay on the marked trails. Scenic areas with trails include Grewingk Glacier, Poot Peak, China Poot Bay, Humpy Creek, Halibut Cove Lagoon, Tutka Bay, and Sadie Cove. The 3.2-mile Glacier Lake Trail that leads to Grewingk Glacier at the far end of Grewingk Lake is one of the most popular hikes.
Hikers can expect to see moose, black bears, mountain goats, coyotes, and wolves. Hikers are advised never to approach any wild animals. Enjoy exploring the beautiful and rugged park. Take out everything you have packed into the park and leave nothing behind but footprints.
The Lodge at Otter Cover provides four recently remodeled cabins with luxury accommodations. These cabins are designed for visitors who want to enjoy the beauty of the park but sleep in comfortable beds in cabins with bathroom facilities included. This is an all-inclusive resort with meals and the main lodge with spectacular views of the bay.
Daily excursions are offered by the Lodge at Otter Cover for guests who want to fish and explore the Kachemak Bay State Park. Contact us for more information on our sports fishing charters and cabin reservations.