Northeast Kenai Locations:

Engineer Lake

Rusty blackbird populations are declining rapidly.

Notable Species

  • Beaver
  • Black bear
  • Trumpeter swan
  • Surf scoter
  • Common loon
  • Red-necked grebe
  • Brown creeper
  • Ruby-crowned kinglet
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Rusty blackbird

Engineer Lake, tucked in the foothills north of Skilak Lake, draws a wide range of nesting waterfowl and forest songbirds. An overlook offers a great view of the wetlands and black spruce fringe along the lake’s southeastern shore: look for trumpeter swans and rusty blackbirds. From the campground boat launch, the Seven Lakes Trail curves along the shore, offering a glimpse into the edge habitat between the young mixed forest of spruce, birch and aspen and the lake waters. This trail leads 4.4 miles northwest to other forested lakes. In the forest, listen and watch for spruce grouse, ruby-crowned kinglets, white-winged crossbills and brown creepers. Be alert—black and brown bears also use the trail, and moose can be seen along the lakeside early and late in the day.


A young white spruce and birch forest dominates the hills above the lake. Wetlands are interspersed with black spruce patches.

Viewing Tip

Use a canoe or kayak to approach the wetland from the water.

Helpful Hints

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge rents out a public use cabin on the north shore; advance booking is required.

Getting There

Skilak Lake Road runs for 19 miles, with entrances at Sterling Highway mileposts 58 and 75.2. Engineer Lake is about 9.5 miles from either entrance.