Clam Gulch State Recreation Area


Clam Gulch, as the name implies, is famous for the hundreds of thousands of razor clams harvested annually from the sandy beaches adjacent to the State Recreation Area.

Situated on the bluffs overlooking scenic Cook Inlet, the recreation area offers visitors a panoramic view of the Aleutian Mountain Range and its three tallest peaks - Mount Iliamna, Mount Redoubt and Mount Spurr.

Wildlife in the area includes moose, bald eagles, gulls and many small birds and mammals. A wide variety of wild flowers may also be found within the recreation area, including lupine, Jacob's ladder, wild geranium and the prickly rose.

About Razor Clams

The razor clam, a filter feeder that relies on plankton for food, is found on sandy tidal beaches from the Bering Sea to Southern California. However, there are only eight known major concentrations of clams on the Pacific Coast, with four of those in Alaska. The beaches from Clam Gulch to Ninilchik are the most popular razor clam beaches in the state.

The life cycle of razor clams is simple and unique. Razor clams usually reproduce first at age four or five and live about 14 to 18 years. Reproduction is triggered when Cook Inlet waters reach a temperature of about 55 degrees. After floating in the larval stage for four to six weeks, the clams form a small shell and settle into the sandy tidal beach. The clams are ready for harvest in about four years.

Digging Clams

Clams may be dug during any low tide, but a tide of minus two feet or lower is recommended for best results. Consult a tide book for times of minus tides.

Woman Clamming To locate razor clams look for small round dimples or holes on the surface of the sand. Once a dimple has been located use a clam shovel to dig a small hole about six inches from the dimple and search through the sand until you find the clam. Be careful when handling the clams as they are "razor" sharp.

State law requires that all clams dug be kept regardless of size and condition. Anyone 16 years or older must have a valid Alaska sport fishing license to dig clams. Contact the Department of Fish and Game for the daily limit of clams per person. Click here to access their web site.

For more information on razor clams contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna at (907)262-9368.

Off-Road Vehicle Use

All off-road-vehicles are restricted to the campground loop road, the beach access road and the saltwater beach. Please observe all traffic rules.

Use of ATV's in the campground and on the road to the beach is limited to direct travel from your campsite to the beach and back again.

ATV's are prohibited on Clam Gulch Road from the Sterling Highway to the intersection of the campground loop road and the beach access road.

The speed limit on all recreation area roads is five miles per hour.

All drivers and passengers under age 18 must wear helmets.

Children under age 14 must be directly supervised by a parent or other person over age 21, when driving ATV's.

Park Rules

Park rules allow all visitors to enjoy our state parks and protect them for future generations.

Please pay your camping fee immediately after selecting a site.

Camping stays are limited to 15 days.

There is a day use parking fee.

Women and child clamming

Fires are permitted only in fire grates provided or on the saltwater beach.

Please do not cut live trees or shrubs; collect only dead and down wood.

Motor vehicles are restricted to roads, parking areas or saltwater beaches.

Pets must be leashed and under control at all times in developed areas.

Please do not litter; use the dumpster's provided.

Discharge of firearms and fireworks is prohibited in the recreation area.

Please respect the rights of those who own private property near the recreation area.

Quiet hours are 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Click here to see a map of Clam Gulch State Recreation Area.

For more information:
Alaska State Parks
Kenai Area Office
PO Box 1247
Soldotna, AK 99669
(907)262-5581

Emergency Contacts:
State Park Rangers: 262-5581
State Troopers: 262-4453 or 911
To report a fire: 262-5528 or 911

For a copy of this brochure, contact the DNR Public Information Center at dnr.pic@alaska.gov