Ninilchik State Recreation Area


Ninilchik Village

Ninilchik, whose name means "peaceful settlement by a river", is located on the west side of the Kenai Peninsula, about 40 miles south of Soldotna. It was settled in the early 1800's by Russian colonists. They subsisted on fishing, hunting, trapping and gardening. When Alaska was sold to the United States, many of these settlers decided to stay on. Some of the old buildings still exist in the Ninilchik village and many descendants of the old families still live here.

Today, Ninilchik has become a popular staging area for world class salmon and halibut fishing. Mt. Iliamna and Mt. Redoubt, both active volcanoes, greet visitors to the area. While you are in Ninilchik, be sure to see the experience the historical Ninilchik Village and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Ninilchik State Recreation Area

The Ninilchik River supports a good fishing salmon run. Please consult current fishing regulations provided by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for information on seasons, closures, limits, methods and means before you wet your line.

Ninilchik Beach - Located at mile 135 of the Sterling Hwy. This is a popular beach for razor clamming. During minus tides there is access to the clamming beds adjacent to the campgrounds. Use caution when working these two areas during incoming tides and please guard against over-exertion. There is a day-use parking area at Ninilchik Beach.

Ninilchik River - Located at mile 134.5 of the Sterling Hwy. In this beautiful forest there are developed campsites, one group picnic shelter and a hiking trail to the river. The area is home to a variety of birds and small animals. Moose are seen occasionally and there is an abundance of wildflowers.

Ninilchik Scenic Overlook - Located at mile 135.1 of the Sterling Hwy. This is a great place to view the Ninilchik River and watch the eagles soar.

Ninilchik View - Located at mile 135.7 of the Sterling Hwy. This campground is located on a bluff above Ninilchik Beach. A stairway leads down the bluff to the beach. Bald eagles, squirrels and magpies make their home in this forest setting.

Razor Clams

The beaches from Clam Gulch to Ninilchik are the most popular areas for digging razor clams in Alaska. The razor clam, a filter feeder, relies on plankton for food. The life cycle of the razor clams is simple and unique. Razor clams usually reproduce first at age four to five, and live about 14 to 18 years. Reproduction is triggered when Cook Inlet waters reach a temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, usually between late July and early August.

Eggs and sperm are released simultaneously into the surf, where fertilization occurs by chance. Although this method of reproduction is not very efficient, the female clam compensates by releasing an estimated 5 to 15 million eggs. After floating in the larval stage for 4 to 6 weeks, the clams form a small shell and settle into the sandy tidal beach. The clams are ready to harvest in about four years.

Clams may be dug during any minus tide, but a tide of minus two feet or lower is recommended for best results. State law requires that all clams dug be kept regardless of size or 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 to access their web site.

WARNING: Each clam tide, clam diggers may be stranded. The incoming tides flood the area between the beach and the sandbar before the sandbar itself is flooded, stranding unwary diggers. Watch the tide levels carefully and return before the rapidly rising tide returns. Rescue assistance is not always available or possible. Stranded diggers risk hypothermia or drowning in the cold waters of Cook Inlet. Stay alert to tide levels, come in early, and be safe!

Park Regulations

Obeying these regulations assures you and others of a better camping experience. Additional information on State Parks may be found on campground bulletin boards.

*ATV's may only be operated on saltwater beaches. Children under the age of 14 must be directly supervised by an adult over the age of 21.

*Quiet hours: 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. All generators off by 11:00 p.m..

*Pets must be leashed not to exceed nine feet, and under control at all times.

*No cutting of any standing trees, living or dead. Firewood is for sale within the park. Please do not burn coal as it is very unhealthy for the rest of the visitors in the park.

*Do not discharge gray water (i.e. dish water, etc.) on the ground. Water may be disposed of in the toilets in the campground. Sewage tanks must be taken to a sanitary dump station for disposal. A dump station is located at Ninilchik View SRA.

*Please clean salmon at the river, throwing the remains into the river current. Halibut remains should be thrown at the low tide line on saltwater beaches. Discard of clam shells on the beach, not in the dumpster's.

*Please dispose of all garbage generated in the park in the dumpster's provided. Do not put garbage in the fire rings!

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

Emergency Contacts:
State Park Rangers: 262-5581 (Soldotna) or 567-3367 (Ninilchik)
State Troopers: 262-4453 or 911
To report a fire: 262-5528 or 911