I grew up on the Kenai and am new to packrafting. I have been trying to think of great trips on the Kenai Peninsula and I believe that this could become a classic trip. I had never gone through the Kenai River Canyon, but I grew up hearing tales of the huge rapids and the millions of people who have died in the canyon. I looked up the class of rapids and found to my surprise that they where only class II-III rapids. I planned my trip to go from Jim’s Landing in Cooper Landing to Skilak Lake and hike out the Hidden Creek trail. I made the trip by myself and was scared to death, but it was amazing, beautiful, and a blast.
I went in early June and the river was still a little low. The rapids where fun and not too difficult; however, there are a couple of areas with intense eddies and undercurrents. I spent about 1.5 hours on the river. I then spent a while exploring that area of the Skilak. There was a ton of wildlife. It only took about 20 minutes to paddle to the Hidden Creen Trail and about 45 minutes hiking out. I spent about 3.5 hours total and it was a lot of fun.