The Swanson River is a 40-mile-long stream on the Kenai Peninsula. This river region at Gene Lake in the Swanson Lake district flows south and north to Gompertz Channel’s Number Three Bay of the Cook Inlet.
Most of the river’s course lies within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and it’s lower reaches, it flows through the Swanson River Oil Field that’s east of Nikiski before sharply turning north. Near its mouth, if lows under Kenai North Road and through Captain Cook State Recreation Area to enter the Cook Inlet.
The Swanson River and the multiple lakes that surround it are popular places for fun trips in kayaks and light canoes. Two canoe trails involve streams and lakes rated easy (Class I) on the International Scale of River Difficulty.
Floating the Swanson River from the Gene Lake outlet to the North Kenai Road bridge is possible. A shorter float goes 19 miles by river from Gene Lake to Swanson River Landing near Rainbow Lake Campground and Swan Lake Road.
The Swanson lakes and streams systems support massive populations of game fish (popular fish frequently pursued by recreational anglers). The main quarry species you can find are rainbow trout, silver salmon, Dolly Varden, and Artic char.