Canoeing the Kenai?
Can you canoe parts of the Kenai? If so where do you put-in/take-out?
kenai canoe points
The Kenai has plenty of places to Canoe or Kayak. You can start at Kenai lake and come out at either Sportsmans landing ( Russian river ferry). or (Jims landing ) This upper portion of the river is rated class one with two places that are rated 2 to 3 depending on water level. the chute near the Princess lodge can be a little tricky, but you can see it from the highway and determine if it looks a little too much. you can easily walk ( portage) around this Chute if you like. the next place is Shooners bend it has a big set of rollers on the left side of the bend, and a canoe would not make it unless decked and in very competent hands. The inside corner of this bend is easily navigated as a class one so you can avoid the couple of waves no problem if you pay attention. Shooners Bend is located just below the Sterling Hwy bridge crossing the Kenai-- just below the russian river campground.
you can get out at Sportsman landing, or continue to Jims Landing.
Below Jims Landing is not recomended Canoe stuff unless you can do class 3 water. Below Jims is called the Canyon and comes out into Skilak lake. you have a long paddle from where it enters the lake to the take out at the upper Skilak lake boat launch. The Lake is a challenge in itself and can be extremely rough. So I don't recomend this portion of the river to anyone in a canoe, unless you are prepared to spend the night and wait for the lake to settle down, or you can walk out by portaging the canoe up the hidden creek trail to the Skilak loop road.
The second portion is from the Skilak lake lower boat launch to the Bings landing takeout. this is a class one all the way. One mile of lake paddle and then an easy float in flat water to Bings.
Below Bings Landing is the Naptown rapids. This short series of standing waves and rollers is rated a 3, but several people have ignored this and several have drowned over the years. It has been about 3 or 4 years since we had someone drown, but in every case it was due to the person not wearing a life vest.
You can portage around the Naptown Rapids and continue on the Kenai from here to the Cook Inlet with no other real hazzards. the normal take outs from Bings to Cook inlet are , Moose river bridge. Morgans landing, Swift water, Centenial campground, Pillars boat launch, Eagle rock, and the next public place beyond that is at Cunningham park about a mile above the Kenai to K- beach road bridge. from there its the Kenai boat dock at the mouth of the kenai.
I have been in a canoe and a Kayak thru the entire river and have really enjoyed it. even paddling accross Skilak on a smooth and glassy evening is a wonderful experience.
If you have any questions about logistics or help in finding the take outs and put ins. Please let me know.
Here's a quick (2-3 hours) fun way to pedal and paddle the Naptowne stretch of the Kenai through Sterling:
Drop your boat at Bing's Landing.
Drive down to Izaak Walton campground with your bike and park your rig (if you don't want to pay, park at Moosquitoes up on the highway).
Bike back to Bing's (approx. 3 miles) along the highway (there's an extra-wide sidewalk that works as a bike trail). Enjoy the view of the mountains as you fly down the hill to the river.
Leave your bike at Bing's, hop in your boat and enjoy the rapids (slightly more challenging this morning than the canyon was a couple weeks ago, IMO), paddle back down to IW/Moose river, 2-3 miles? Load your boat and drive back to Bing's to pick up your bike. Nobody on the river this morning which made for a very peaceful trip. The calm before the storm...