Introducing City of Kenai & Around
At first blush, Kenai is a sorry sight – an object lesson in poor city planning. It’s not convenient – 10 miles northwest of Soldotna and the Sterling Hwy – or especially picturesque, existing primarily as a support community for the drilling operations at Cook Inlet.
It’s long been a rare bird: a major Alaskan city with minimal tourism. Lately, though, this faded boomtown has taken some hesitant steps toward wooing visitors – especially those tantalized by the excellent salmon fishing that takes place at the mouth of the Kenai River.
The first Russian Orthodox Church on mainland Alaska today presides over a replica of the 1867 fort, which hasn’t fully realized its potential as adorable tourist magnet. And then there’s the view: Mt Redoubt (the volcano that erupted steam and ash in December 1989) to the southwest, Mt Iliamna at the head of the Aleutian Range and the Alaska Range to the northwest. Nice.
North of town, around Mile 19 of the Kenai Spur Hwy, is Alaska’s largest concentration of oil infrastructure outside Prudhoe Bay.