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Kenai Peninsula Canoe Trails

Swanson River Canoe Route

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This canoe route links more than 40 lakes with 46 miles of Swanson River. The entire 80 mile route can be traveled in less than one week. Leisurely travel will provide opportunities for fishing, wildlife viewing, and camping. Canoeists can enter the headwaters of the Swanson River (via Gene Lake outlet) and float to the Swanson River access area (19 miles) or continue to the North Kenai Road bridge, 24 miles further downstream.

From Paddle Lake one day is required to reach Gene Lake by either the east or west route. There are many shallow areas and two short portages along the Gene Lake outlet to Swanson River.

Waterways east of Pepper and Eider Lakes as well as the upper Swanson River to Wild Lake are narrow and vegetated providing difficult passage. The current in upper Swanson River is slow. The upper two miles may require additional effort to push through lily pads during the late summer if the river is low.

It is difficult to locate campsites on Swanson River. The land near the river is low and marshy along most of its route. The best sites are nearby hills or rises.

Alternate routes and approximate travel time:

Paddle Lake to Gene Lake 1-2 days
Gene Lake to Swanson River Campground 1-1 1/2 days
Swanson River access area to Cook Inlet 1-2 days
Paddle Lake via Eider Lake to King Lake 2-3 days
Paddle Lake via Lynx Lake to King Lake 2-3 days

Rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, and red and silver salmon inhabit most lakes with the exception of Berry, Redpoll, Twig, Eider, Birchtree and Olsjold Lakes.


Introduction | Swanson River Route | Swan Lake Route | Need To Know Info

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