Clam Digging on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska
Where to Dig Razor Clams on the Kenai Peninsula
Razor clams on the Kenai Peninsula are found on most sandy beaches between
the Kasilof River to the north and the Anchor River to the south. Total distance between these two rivers is approximately 50 miles. This 50 mile area can be further divided into a northern beach area (Cohoe, Clam Gulch, Oil Pad Access) and a southern beach area comprised of the beaches around Ninilchik, Deep Creek, Happy Valley and Whiskey Gulch.
The most popular area on the northern beaches is Clam Gulch, located 22 miles south of Soldotna at Mile Post 117.5 of the Sterling Highway. This area is popular with families having young children, as access to the beach is relatively easy via road. A campground maintained by the Division of Parks is also available providing picnic tables, fireplaces, water and sanitary facilities.
Diggers with 4-wheel or other all terrain vehicles can reach both the beaches of Cohoe (turn right on entering the beach) or Oil Pad Access (turn left on entering the beach). Good clam digging is available in either direction, with clams becoming progressively larger to the south.
Vehicles are permitted on all areas of the beach. However, the experienced digger knows his personal limitations and the limitations of his vehicle. Two wheel drive vehicles cannot be safely run on Kenai Peninsula beaches. Sooner or later they're going to get stuck. The consequences of being unable to dislodge a stuck vehicle are obvious--the vehicle could easily be a total loss if its inundated by the tide.
All terrain vehicles or those equipped with 4-wheel drive generally do not encounter problems. However, these vehicles should be kept as high on the beach as possible. The lower beach areas, especially around the larger rocks contain pockets or areas of glacial silt, i.e. MUD. These areas can stop the best of vehicles. Remember, include a good measure of "common sense" in addition to your standard clam digging equipment when you take your vehicle on the beach.
The southern beaches are separated from the Sterling Highway by large bluffs, limiting access to the beach. These beaches also have a steeper gradient than do the northern beaches. This limits the time the clams are available to the digger.
The beaches at Whiskey Gulch are exceptionally steep and a minimum of a -4.0 tide is recommended here. The access road is not maintained to this area and caution is advised. Good public access at Mile Post 137.2 is available at Deep Creek with the best digging beginning about a mile south of the stream and continuing south to the Happy Valley area. The Division of Parks maintains the camping area at Deep Creek and there is also a public parking and camping area adjacent to the beach between Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River. Access this area at Mile Post 135.0. Good digging may also be found north of the Ninilchik River. Enter the Ninilchik Village Access Road at Mile Post 135.0. Proceed through Ninilchik Village, parallel the small boat harbor, and exit the road onto the beach. A 4-wheel drive vehicle will reduce the amount of walking time here.
The only offshore sandbar of significance to clam diggers is located between Deep Creek and Ninilchik. The bar is exposed during low tides and diggers can walk to the area on the lower tides. This area supports a good population of clams. Remember that as the tide goes out to expose the bar, it will again come in to cover the area. Watch closely for the tide to turn and begin to come in. If you don't have a boat, do not delay your departure or you could be stranded.
Introduction | Where to Dig Razor Clams | When to Dig Razor Clams
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