Although it is the second largest Island in the United States, only around 10,000 people actually populate the Island. Only a few roads access the most eastern region of the island and that area is 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. That 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.” In this part of the world, the Kodiak Grizzly bear is found, which can grow to over ten feet tall and weight over 1200 pounds. The island is a Sportsman’s dream. Salmon runs last from June to September. Halibut are abundant along the coast and have been as big as 400 pounds in these waters. Sitka Deer, Reindeer and Mountain Goat hike along the mountain trails more frequently than backpackers. Kodiak Island even has its own wild Buffalo herds. 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 sting, and the temperature drop, this beautiful rugged landscape has everything a true outdoors man/woman is looking for! Here are 8 reasons you need to make Kodiak Island your next adventure vacation!
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. 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 other sushi grade King Salmon, weighing on average around 20 pounds. If the open water is more your style, than 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 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 from, Mountain Goats to Sitka deer, but at a very expensive cost. The best way to hunt is 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 Island only holds whopping 3-4000 foot peaks, 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, over grown in summer and covered in snow in winter. These mountains will surely put your backpacking skills to the test. On day one, you will hike on a beautiful 70 degree and sunny day. The next day it will be 50 degrees and rainy. 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 definitely 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 allows you the ability to Surf and Ski all in the same day. Here you can fish for salt and fresh water species within miles. You can go from rugged mountains, to calm lakes and everything in between. The landscape provides you with the opportunity to take on any adventure 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 only 10,000 people occupying the island and almost all of them 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 those parts of the island 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 there, 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, than camp there! If you see a mountain you want to climb, than climb it! If there is water you want to fish, than fish it. Although a few rules apply, it is a much more laid back and wild atmosphere than in 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 last 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 Grizzly walk up and down the river just 2 miles outside of town. Sitka Deer and Mountain Goats can be seen high in the mountains of 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 and all ages and pets are welcome. 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.