Area: 6.9 square miles
Population: 3,759 (2000 census)
County: Kenai Peninsula
Soldotna is a rapidly growing community bordering the Kenai River, one of Alaska's top salmon fishing streams. Soldotna's population is 4,200 however when you include the surrounding area the population jumps to over 10,000. Located 145 miles from Anchorage, 95 miles from Seward and 80 miles from Homer, Soldotna is an "outdoorsy" sort of place that appeals to residents and visitors alike because of the fine hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities available throughout the year.
Soldotna nestles along the Sterling and the Kenai Spur highways. However you will notice that the homes extend far beyond these natural borders. Everything is so woods-oriented that even the town seems to melt into the surrounding forest even before it gets to the back lot markers.
The Kenai River, which winds its way down the Peninsula through Soldotna and joins the sea at the city of Kenai, is one of the better places in Alaska for you to catch a really big King salmon. This may seem like a surprising fact, because trophy King salmon fishing is commonly identified with charter bush flights and expensive stays at wilderness lodges. This is not really so, however, since Soldotna has many top notch fishing guides who have a reputation for consistently helping visitors find and catch trophy Kings as well as smaller (but scrappy) silver salmon and spirited Dollies and rainbows.
How big is a really big King? Well, a 97 lb. 4 oz., world record on a line, King salmon was taken from these waters in 1985, and catching Kings of over 60 pounds is not uncommon here.
The Kenai offers top trophy King salmon fishing during June and July. Dolly Varden are caught all summer, red salmon run heavily in June and July, silvers run in August and September. Pink salmon are plentiful late July through August (even years only). Handicap accessible fishing is available at Soldotna Creek Park and Centennial Park.
In relative terms, Soldotna is young. The name "Soldotna" came either from the Russian term for soldier, or the Indian term for stream fork. In any case, the name was adopted long after the fact because the present community did not exist until the 1940's. Selection of the site was natural because the two highways and the Kenai River come together here—an unusual situation in a state generally starved for transportation routes.
Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center is on the Sterling Highway at the south end of the Kenai River bridge, it is open May 1 to September 30, 9am to 7pm daily. The remainder of the year, hours are 9am to 5pm. Mon day to Friday, and noon to 5pm on Saturday. There is a wide assortment of displays inside the center including the World Record King Salmon caught by Les Anderson in 1985.
Soldotna Chamber of Commerce
44790 Sterling Highway, Soldotna, AK 99669
907-262-1337 or 262-9814
Post Office on Binkley St. between Park and Corral Ave.
ATM: National Bank of Alaska on main highway through Soldotna.
Internet access: Public Library
Library is on Binkley St.
Emergency only 911
State Troopers 262-4453
City police 262-4455
General Hospital 250 General Place, 907-262-4404
Family Medical Clinic, 907-262-7566.
AmeriGas, mile 1.5 Kenai Spur Road, 907-262-4683. RV gas, appliance repairs and safety inspections. Motor fuel and cylinder filling.
Soldotna ‘Y’ Chevron on the Sterling Highway and the Kenai Spur Road is a complete vehicle repair center. They also have 24-hour towing.
Soldotna Laundromat on Kenai Spur Highway approximately 1/2 block from junction of Kenai Spur and Sterling Highway.
Things To Do
Soldotna Historical Society Museum. In 1986 the City of Soldotna leased 6 acres in Centennial Park for a period of 30 years to the Soldotna Historical Society. In the summer of 1990 the Society opened the area to visitors to view a "homesteader's village" comprised of several original log buildings used by Soldotna homesteaders in earlier days.
Among the log buildings available for viewing is the community school house, built in 1958. The Slikok Valley School, renamed Damon Hall in 1963, features a mural by local artist Boyd Shaffer and is filled with homesteader's donations. The former tourist information building, used by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, was given to the Society in 1987 and is also within the museum with early-day artifacts and wildlife mounts on display.
The Wildlife Museum and Historic Homestead Village opens May 15, 10 to 4, Tuesday through Saturday, 12 to 4 on Sunday and closed Monday. On Centennial Park Road the museum is a wonderful stroll through the early days of Soldotna, into a time and a way of life that is not lost to "modern day" living. More information can be obtained at the Soldotna Visitor Information Center.
Soldotna Progress Days which occurs during the fourth weekend of July includes a parade, rodeo, a street fair, all day entertainment. Vendors, air show, community barbecue/dance, arts and crafts show and other events.
Scenery, service, accessibility and accommodation make Soldotna one of the leading visitor destinations on the Kenai Peninsula. The area is filled with forests and mountain views that will astound you.
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has campgrounds, fishing, canoeing, hiking, picnicking and boating. Travelers wishing to visit the Refuge Headquarters and Visitor Center should turn east at the south end of the Kenai River Bridge and follow the signs.
Mount Redoubt, Mount Iliamna and Mount Spur, are beautiful snowcovered volcanic peaks that have all erupted in the last decade. These volcanoes along with Mt. Augustine, farther south, are part of the world famous "Rim of Fire".
Razor clam beaches, extending 50 miles from Cohoe to Ninilchik, offer the opportunity for you to dig your limit of clams in a single afternoon.