Northeast Kenai Locations:

Kelly and Peterson Lakes

A river otter standing upright uses its tail for balance.

Notable Species

  • Rainbow trout
  • Beaver
  • River otter
  • Ring-necked duck
  • White-winged scoter
  • Long-tailed duck
  • Common loon
  • Red-necked grebe
  • Gray jay
  • Dark-eyed junco

These scenic lakes provide habitat for fish, birds, beavers and river otters. Walk along their shores and listen for bird songs in June and July. Loons, grebes, mallards and scoters nest on the lakes. Long-tailed ducks make stopovers. Juncos, warblers, gray jays, spruce grouse and chickadees dart through the woods. River otters pass between the lakes, sometimes leaving smooth runs where their bellies slide across the ground. Beavers feast on aquatic vegetation, and on birch, willow and other hardwoods along the shore.


Stands of young mixed white spruce, birch and cottonwood trees intersperse with marshes, black spruce bogs, and lakes. Willows and alders rim the shore.

Viewing Tip

Watch for fresh wood chips that indicate late-night beaver activity and green limbs piled in the water near lodges. Stay the night in one of the campgrounds to increase your opportunities to see and hear some of the shyer and more nocturnal wildlife.


Hiking Connection

The northern end of the 4.4 mile (one way) Seven Lakes Trail starts at Kelly Lake Campground and heads southeast to Engineer Lake and Skilak Lake Loop Road.

Getting There

Sterling Highway milepost 68.3—turn south to Kelly Lake (0.5 mile) and Peterson Lake (1.0 mile) campgrounds.