This 400,000 acre park offers a cross-section of the best of coastal
Alaska: from the whales of the open sea to black bears slipping
beneath dark spruce to shy birds nesting beside glacial ice.
Steller sea lion
Aleutian and Arctic terns
first state park, located on the south side of Kachemak Bay, showcases
a vast range of species, from ocean animals to mountain dwellers. In
the Bay, marine mammals such as sea otters, humpback whales and harbor
seals forage amid common murres, horned puffins and tufted puffins.
Pigeon guillemots nest along the rocky shores, and fjords host flocks
of sea ducks in winter. Along the shore, ebbing tides expose the
colorful world of sea stars, anemones, crabs and clams. Bald eagles
and merlins patrol from perches amid towering spruce. The dense
understory of devilís club, willow and alder supports a symphony of
sparrows, warblers, thrushes and other songbirds. Moose, black bears,
coyotes and wolves pad along the trails, leaving their prints pressed
into the mud. Mountain goats wander the alpine zone.
park is packed with different habitats. Deep marine waters give way to
tidal lagoons. The 25-foot tidal range bathes a succession of distinct
intertidal zones. The beaches are fronted with a forest of towering
Lutz spruce, a hybrid of white and Sitka varieties. Uplands transition
from temperate rainforest to muskegs and subalpine meadows to tundra.
Receding glaciers trigger plant succession in mountain valleys. Lakes
support their own ecosystems.
Native people have been living in Kachemak Bay for thousands of years,
and it was one of the first areas of Alaska to be settled by
Walk a beach at low tide.
Hike up into the rainforest when the tide rises.
Extend your stay by reserving
one of the public use cabins or yurts in the park. For more
www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/cabins/kenai.htm. These cabins are
popular so plan well ahead and allow yourself at least two nights so
you can settle in.
also lodges, bed and breakfasts, and a restaurant in the small
community of Halibut Cove.
At times bugs
are plentiful; a mosquito headnet and/or repellent will make it
comfortable to slow down, watch and listen.
water taxis and tours operate daily from the Homer Small Boat Harbor
to the State Parkís Halibut Cove Lagoon public dock. Boats can be
chartered to one of the many Park trails or cabins; advance
reservations are recommended but not always necessary.