With the Kenai River running right through the center of town, the City of Soldotna sits right in the heart of the Kenai Peninsula. The Kenai River makes Soldotna a must for those hoping to catch a trophy fish. Soldotna has a total population of 4,021 people and is 7.9 square miles. To the east of the City of Soldotna lies the community of Sterling along with the Kenai Mountains. To the south of Soldotna are the communities of Kasilof, Ninilchik and Homer. The City of Kenai and Nikiski is just a short drive to the west. Soldotna is only a 150 mile drive to Anchorage; the drive is a great opportunity to view the wildlife Alaska has to offer and to take in some great scenery during the whole trip.
The Kenai River is an important landmark for the City of Soldotna. Soldotna was voted the #1 Fishing Hotspot in North America by Field & Stream Magazine in 2004. The Kenai River is famous worldwide for its king salmon, silver salmon and red salmon. The wetland surrounding the river is called home to many migratory birds and other waterfowl. Soldotna is also known for being home to many other types of wildlife such as moose, caribou and bears.
If fishing is not for you then there are plenty of other outdoor activities to take part in such as horseback riding, hiking, rafting, flightseeing, skiing and snowmachining. There is even a golf course, movie theater, swimming pools and children’s parks in the City of Soldotna. The Soldotna Visitors Center, located right on the banks of the Kenai River, is a great place to go to for information on local events and things to do around the Soldotna area.
One of the main attractions in Soldotna besides fishing is the Soldotna Sports Center. The main part of the Soldotna Sports Center is the indoor Olympic size ice rink. The ice is maintained from the end of September to the first part of April. Skating events range from Kenai River Brown Bears to high school hockey to public skating times. The Soldotna Parks and Recreation Department is housed within the Soldotna Sports Center. Along with the ice rink the Soldotna Sports Center also has racquetball courts and a conference room that is capable of holding 350 people with an adjoining kitchen. During the months when the ice is gone the Soldotna Sports Center plays host to numerous events such as the Kenai Peninsula Home Builder’s Show, the Kenai Peninsula Sports Recreation and Trade Show and the Kenai Classic Banquet.
If you want campsites, the Kenai River and the City of Soldotna, then Centennial Park is the place for you! There is also nearby rodeo grounds, baseball and softball fields and the Soldotna Historical Museum all within walking distance of Centennial Park. Centennial Park is not just for camping. There are also places to picnic there and you do not want to forget your fishing pole! There is more than 650 feet of elevated boardwalk and 13 sets of river-access stair units will help you get safely down to the river’s edge. There are also two boat launches that allow you to get your boat on the water, which is great news since that area offers some of the best red and silver salmon fishing on the entire Kenai River. You might even hook into a monster king salmon!
Centennial Park is a user-fee area and fees can be paid at the park booth, season passes for day use and boat launching are also available. The park offers over 176 designated campsites. Some of the sites are along the river and all come with picnic tables, fire pits and lots of trees for added privacy. There are also several sites set-aside for disabled campers to use along with 95 feet of dedicated fish walk.
The City of Soldotna offers a few different schools that you can choose from for your child’s education and all of the schools are in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School is a public school that serves grades PK-6. K-Beach Elementary received a distinguished GreatSchools rating of 8 out of 10. Redoubt Elementary School is another public school located in Soldotna that offers classes for grades PK-6. Redoubt Elementary received a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 8 out of 10. Soldotna Elementary School is located in the heart of Soldotna and is a public school for grades PK-6. It received a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 6 out of 10. Sterling Elementary School is a public school located just outside of Soldotna in Sterling and serves grades PK-6. Sterling Elementary School received a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 7 out of 10. Soldotna Middle School is a public school that offers classes for grades 7-8. Soldotna Middle received a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 9 out of 10. Soldotna High School is a public high school in Soldotna that serves grades 9-12. Soldotna High School received a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 10 out of 10. Skyview High School is another public high school located in Soldotna for grades 9-12. Skyview High received a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 8 out of 10.