Plan your epic adventure vacation to an Island that seems to be lost in time. Kodiak Island, Alaska is more wild and free than any place you have ever visited in the lower 48. Check out the top 8 reasons to make Kodiak Island your next epic adventure vacation!
Although it is the second largest island in the United States, around 10,000 people actually populate the island. Only a few roads lead to the eastern region of the island, also known as the Road Zone. The rest of the island can only be accessed through rough ATV trails, backpacking, a boat or a float plane. This area of the island is known as the Remote Zone. This area, covered in dense brush, frozen streams, and snow covered mountains is an endless expanse of some of the wildest country in the world. It is truly The Last Frontier. The Kodiak grizzly bear calls this island home, where they can grow to over ten feet tall and weigh over 1200 pounds. The island is a Sportsman’s dream, with salmon runs lasting from June to September. Halibut are abundant along the coast and have been recorded at over 400 pounds in these waters. Sitka deer, reindeer and mountain goats hike along the mountain trails more frequently then backpackers. The summer months allow for beautiful long days with 18 hours of light. This lighting is perfect for photography during sunset and sunrise. With the longer days comes dryer and warmer temperatures. But, don’t let your guard down, because in Alaska the weather can turn in minutes. Although the wind can whip, the rain can sting, and the temperatures can drop, this beautiful rugged landscape is everything a true outdoors man/woman is looking for! Here are 8 reasons you need to make Kodiak Island your next adventure vacation! Get all your Alaskan Gear needs at Big Rays in downtown Kodiak.
1. World Class Fishing
Kodiak Island has been a fishing community since the 1800’s and is home to some of the famous fleets that take on the deadly Bering Sea. Some of the boats from Deadliest Catch, even call Kodiak Home. But, you won’t need to re-enact the deadliest catch on your visit, since all of the best fishing is near the coast. All of the best Salmon fishing is just miles outside of town. The Buskin River just 2 miles outside of downtown Kodiak has Red, Pink and Silver Salmon runs that last from June until September. The American and Olds River, offer sushi grade King Salmon weighing on average around 20 pounds. If the the open water is more your style, then Kodiak offers some of the best waters for Halibut and Rockfish. On our 12 day trip to Kodiak we caught over 150 pounds of Red Salmon and 200 pounds of Halibut. The halibut was caught all in one day.
2. Larger Than Life Hunting
In Kodiak no animal is safe, even the famous Kodiak Grizzly can be hunted here. This doesn’t mean that all animals aren’t protected in some way. Although it is encouraged to hunt for food, many animals need special permits to be hunted. Certain tags such as a Bear tag can only be taken every four years. There are an abundance of guided hunts on the Island, including Mountain Goats, Sitka deer and Buffalo, but at a very expensive cost. The best way to hunt, would be to backpack up into the mountains with a good pair of binoculars and some stalking skills. Either way it isn’t hard to put some meat in the freezer for the family.
3. Challenging Backpacking
The largest peaks on the island only reach a mere 4000 ft, but they sure gain elevation quickly. Raising straight from the ocean at sea level, don’t let these peaks low elevation fool you. The hikes are usually steep, slippery and over grown in summer and covered in snow in the winter. These mountains will surely put your backpacking skills to the test. Day one you will hike in on a beautiful 70 degree and sunny day. The next day could be 50 degrees and rainy. And by the third day, you will be in the middle of a snow storm. After you experience all the elements and seasons in one hike, you will surely be rewarded with wildlife, great mountain views of snow capped peaks, and open ocean for hundreds of miles in every direction.
4. Rugged Landscape
This unique and rugged landscape offers the opportunity to surf and ski, all in the same day. Here you can fish for salt and fresh water species within miles. You can experience rugged mountains, calm lakes and everything in between. The landscape provides you with the opportunity to take on any adventurous endeavors. The open ocean provides SUP, kayaking, surfing, kite boarding and boating activities. Where the mountains provide inland glacier travel, back country skiing, and snow shoe opportunities. This rugged landscape will not only test you, but also reward you with any outdoor activity you have in mind.
5. Unheard of Isolation
With nearly the entire population living in one tiny corner of the island, it is very easy to find some peace and quiet. It only takes a short drive or hike to find yourself miles from civilization. If you are really feeling adventurous, rent a float plane or boat to reach the more remote sections of the island. People say when you step onto the beach in these remote parts, and the float plane or boat leaves, you truly feel like you are in a different world. No one is going to come to your rescue here, but that is part of the adventure right!?!
6. True American Freedom
Kodiak Island today is like America 60 years ago. It’s like a land trapped in time with everything we wish the lower 48 and the National Parks still were today. If there is a beach, you want to camp on, then camp there! If you see a mountain you want to climb, then climb it! If there is water you want to fish, then fish it. Although a few rules apply, it is a much more laid back and wild compared to the lower 48. The island allows you to still have the true freedoms we all want when we go out into the wild. Alaska doesn’t see the same amount of visitors as the lower 48 destinations, so the rules on camping, fires, or hiking permits hasn’t reached this part of the world yet! So, get up there and enjoy freedoms like you never have before.
7. Golden Hour Photography
We always seem to search for that golden hour near sunrise and sunset with the perfect natural lighting for our shots. Kodiak Island offers endless opportunities to capture that perfect shot. Every time I went for a hike, fishing or camping, there was an epic photo opportunity around every turn. The summer months offer the perfect lighting. The early morning light last a couple hours and the evening twilight lasts nearly 4 hours. The soft lighting creates this beautiful glow that silhouettes the trees, draping over the valley floors and glowing on the mountain meadows. The glass like lakes and snow covered peaks also add depth and color to the dramatic landscape. If wildlife photography is what you are into, then you need to book your flight now! In Kodiak a Bald Eagle is as common as a city pigeon. Kodiak Grizzlies walk up and down the river just 2 miles outside of town. Sitka Deer and Mountain Goats can be seen high in the mountains on nearly every hike, and Buffalo roam the grasslands like cattle!
8. The Kodiak Island Brewery
This stop on your epic trip may be the best stop, especially if you just crawled out of the rough Alaskan wilderness. The Kodiak Island Brewing Co. has many craft beers on tap and is the only brewery on the island. The brewery only uses pure island water and the finest malts. The taproom located in downtown Kodiak offers plenty of seating. All ages and pets are welcome in the Brewery. Grab the kids and pups, then head down for a couple pints. You can even bring your own food and enjoy Kodiak like a local. The Brewery is open everyday from noon to 7 pm.