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Alaska Department of Natural Resources

Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation

Kenai River

Kenai Region

Surprise Cove State Marine Park

Surprise Cove State Marine Park


★ ADA Facility - No
★ 2,280 Acres
★ Campsites
★ Toilets

Useful Information

View Map


★ Back Country Camping
★ Fishing
★ Hiking
★ Kayaking

Surprise Cove State Marine Park is located on the western side of the mouth of Cochrane Bay. There are many recreational opportunities and it is one of the most popular anchorages in western PWS. The park includes forested uplands and two large lakes draining into Surprise Cove. The uplands and muskeg throughout the park provide good exploratory hiking. A short trail to North Lake can be found starting at the head of the northern bight (around the point westward of the largest camping beach). A small orange triangle with a black "T" will mark the trail head next to a small creek. Abundant tide pool life can be found at Point Cochrane during minus tides.

There are about seven camping sites on various terrains. The most popular site, which is protected from weather and on flat slate pebbles, is located above the gravel beach just inside the north entrance to the cove. Larger groups with kayaks or small motorboats often use the site, which has room for approximately 12 tents. Three tent platforms nest against the hillside here to offer scenic views and dryer camping pads. A small bear-proof locker and latrine are in the center of this beach.

The second largest site is above the exposed beach just northeast of Point Cochrane. There is room for five tents but is only usable in fair weather due to beach surf. The other sites within the cove are single tent sites. Two are on relatively dry land by the northern bight, or bend, in the coast, and the others are on wetlands above the beach and on the islands. One of the northern bight sites is located on moss in the trees just west of the stream, the other is on the small rock promontory 150 feet southeast of the stream. One of these island sites has part of an old tent platform. Water can be collected at streams that feed the cove.

No road access

Driving Directions:
Take the Seward Hwy South, exit Portage Glacier Road, stop at toll both. Proceed through Anton Anderson Tunnel to Whittier. Located on the western side of the mouth of Cochrane Bay. Boat or Float Plane access only.

Mission Statement

"The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation provides outdoor recreation opportunities and conserves and interprets natural, cultural, and historic resources for the use, enjoyment, and welfare of the people."

Accessibility Notice

Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation

Atwood Building
550 West 7th Avenue
Suite 1380
Anchorage, AK 99501
DNR Public Information Center:
(907) 269-8400
DPOR Director's Office:
(907) 269-8700