Kayaking in Homer, Alaska

Kayaking in Kachemak Bay, Alaska

  • The natural beauty and protected waters of Kachemak Bay make Homer a perfect spot for kayakers of any ability. Kayakers can launch from any of the sheltered beaches around Homer and the Homer Spit and tour to a number of bays, coves and islands. Beginners can learn on the sheltered water of the Bird Creek Reservoir or purchase a guided kayak trip including all equipment and instruction. Experienced kayakers will find a large area to explore and opportunity to camp, fish and hike at a number of kayak accessible spots.
  • Launching from the end of the Spit, kayakers can reach Gull Island, the closest land at 3.25 miles, within an hour. From this point kayakers can take advantage of the sheltered waters of Halibut Cove, Peterson Bay or China Poot Bay. Farther south kayakers will find the larger Tutka and Jackalof Bays as well as Cohen, Yukon and Hesketh Islands. All of these bays feature their own scenic and geologic characteristics.
  • While kayaking is one of the best ways to enjoy the Kachemak Bay State Park, people without local knowledge should use caution. Tide rips and boat wakes can be hazardous to less experienced kayakers and weather patterns are often unpredictable. Rips are often present at the end of the spit as well as the mouths of Halibut Cove, China Poot and Jackalof Bay. Boat wakes are very likely present around the mouth of the Homer harbor. Also, be sure to obtain weather forecasts and tide information (Homer Harbormaster and the Department of Fish and Game are two likely sources) before beginning a tour.


  • Following are a few trip ideas for kayakers new to the Homer area:

    A common day trip route that includes a variety of scenery begins at the Homer Spit, passes Gull Island and continues through Peterson and China Poot Bays. By beginning in the morning, kayakers will have ample time to eat lunch and explore across the bay, returning in the afternoon. Kayakers first aim for Gull Island and can stop to observe the large variety of nesting birds. Heading into Peterson Bay, kayakers will find beaches and forested scenery. In the southeast corner of Peterson Bay the land narrows and at high tide forms a waterway into China Poot Bay. Kayakers can take advantage of this passage and continue their journey in China Poot Lagoon. The shallow waters of the lagoon entrance give kayakers a chance to examine bottom-dwelling sealife while a variety of rock formations and waterfalls accent the scenery. For the most enjoyable trip kayakers should plan with the tide. Choosing the right time of day will allow you to ride the flood into Peterson, cross at high tide and ride the ebb out of China Poot.
  • Kayakers can also pack their tents and base their exploration from a number of campsites around the bay. Overnighters can take advantage of the Kachemak Bay State Park hiking trails (see hiking section) originating in the Halibut Cove area or journey south to Eldred Passage and its surrounding bays.
  • One excellent campsite in the northern portion of the bay is situated in Rusty's Lagoon just outside Halibut Cove. The campsite is in a secluded spot with access to the park trail system and beach fishing. This is also a perfect base for kayaking around Halibut Cove, Glacier Spit and the Grewingk Glacier drainage lake.
  • Southward, five miles from the spit, is Cohen Island and the entrance to Eldred Passage. This group of three islands which also includes Yukon and Hesketh, is a prime spot for viewing otters, sea lions and seals. The north portion of Yukon Island also has a number of caves and tunnels which can be negotiated and explored at high tide. Sadie Cove, Tutka and Jackalof Bays are all worth exploring and camping spots can be found along the beaches of the bays. Tutka Lagoon is also recommended spot to visit as it has a pink salmon hatchery and a maintained camping site.
  • Kayakers should bring their cameras to capture the sights and wildlife. Many animals and birds call Kachemak Bay home and a kayak offers a perfect platform for close viewing. A variety of whales may also be seen swimming through the bay, affording the lucky kayaker a chance to capture them on film. This, coupled with the beautiful scenery and expansive area, makes Kachemak Bay a perfect spot for a kayak adventure.

This guide brought to you by The Homer Tribune. Publisher: Jane M. Pascall. Voice (907)235-3714, Fax (907)235-3716 E-mail: info@homertribune.com, 601 E. Pioneer Ave., Suite 109, Homer, AK 99603.

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