Straddling the Sterling Highway, Cooper landing connects Anchorage with the Kenai Peninsula and other destinations further north. It used to be inhabited, but these days it has around 200-300 residents and is famous for sport fishing, especially during summer. You could think that this small town doesn’t have much to offer, but besides the beautiful scenery, you can find some recreational opportunities.
Ubicated at mile 48.7 of the Sterling Highway, the Cooper Landing Historical Society Museum is the town’s heart. It features exhibits in two historic buildings: School House (1955-2001) and Jack Lean’s Cabin. This cabin was built in the 20s and served as Cooper Landing Post Office for around 40 years. This museum also has a gift shop and a picnic area. There are also a lot of fishing opportunities, and Cooper Landing fishing guides float the beautiful upper Kenai River in hopes of finding sockeye salmon, rainbow trout, King salmon, and silver salmon. During summer, fishing fever is crazy at the Russian River Campground; fishers stand shoulder in “fishing combats.” Bears like to join the fishing action along the Russian River Campground river banks, so keep an eye out.
This town is a well-known starting point for rafting trips to the Kenai River. Several establishments offer trips from calm half-day to trilling and exciting full-day adventures, including the Kenai Canyon Class III whitewater. Cooper Landing areas also provide access to popular and unique trails that explore the mountains and lakes, like the Russian Lakes/Russian River Falls Trail, the Resurrection Pass South Trailhead, Russian River Falls Trail, Slaughter Ridge trail, and Crescent Lake trail. You can also rent mountain banks in town and explore Resurrection Pass Trail and Crescent Lake – both popular mountain biking sites. After a long day on the Cooper Landing trails, or waters, visitors can return to town for lodging areas, restaurants, and other services. Some overnight options are available, like lodges, cabins, RV parks, and campgrounds, including the Russian River Campground, with 80+ sites.