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5 ​​Reasons to Visit Halibut Cove, Alaska

Halibut Cove is a quaint little village nestled on the eastern, remote shore of Kachemak Bay, rimmed by the Kenai Mountains.

This tight-knit community was founded in modern times around 1911 when Scandinavian settlers set up numerous fish saltires to process the abundant herring. Halibut Cove is not only the name of the village, but also the beautiful body of saltwater that circumnavigates and flows through the community with the ebb and flow of the tide.


The most habitable part of the land considered Halibut Cove is Ismailof Island, which is actually two islands connected by a half mile long gravel isthmus. The island naturally hugs the coastline and creates a calm harbor providing shelter for myriad inhabitants over the millenia. The island was named for Gerassiim Grigorovich Ismailov who made explorations in Alaska in the late 18th century for the Imperial Russian Navy.  Halibut Cove was occupied by Alaska Native people in prehistoric times for thousands of years based on artifacts unearthed by archaeologists. 


These dayes, Halibut Cove is home to artists, craftsmen, commercial fishermen, a quirky coffee shop, a fine dining restaurant, and one of the United States’s only floating post offices. With only two handfuls of year-round residents, most villagers are summer dwellers who live on the island and boat or walk to their residence. Boardwalks line the island bridging the natural features of the craggy topography. And no roads lead here… everyone must arrive by boat, floatplane or helicopter, adding to the allure of this fairytale-like setting. 


Visiting Halibut Cove should be on everyone’s bucket list and here at Stillpoint Lodge, we aim to make it special. Our private peninsula in the heart of the cove is the ideal location to enjoy this unique destination.

Check out these five reasons why...

1. Awe-Inspiring Seascape and Mountain Vistas

Landing in Halibut Cove is like entering into a wonderful and mysterious picture book world. You are greeted by the stillness of the water, the lush forest of spruce, birch, willow and alder, sheltered by magnificent towering mountains. The only sound may be the wind and waves or perhaps a magpie or red squirrel announcing your arrival.

The Kenai Mountain Range, capped by the snowy peaks of the Harding Icefield, provides an unforgettable backdrop to the serenity of the cove. The range extends from the southern end of the Kenai Peninsula up to the Chugach Mountains. With an average elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet, their dominating presence is quite fantastical with ever-changing colors and textures from the fervent interplay of light and mist reflecting from sky and sea. 

In the evenings, the alpenglow is a profound optical phenomenon that appears as a pink-and-reddish glow on the mountains opposite the sun when it is just below the horizon. With the long days of summer, the sun seemingly moves parallel along the horizon for a prolonged distance, making the alpenglow last a luxuriously long time. One can imagine that this is the very spot that inspired the song lyrics, “purple mountains majesty”! 

The ancestral peoples of this land, the Dena'ina, call the Kenai Mountains Yaghanen Dghili, meaning ‘good land mountains', and it is easy to see why. Guests often comment that they feel like they have stepped into a mystical painting. The panoramic scenery is endlessly entertaining and inspiring with unique geographical features, coastal flora, and abundant fauna.

2. Nearly Effortless Bird Watching

Inside the cove, a variety of seabirds take shelter from the open waters of Kachemak Bay. Harlequin and Goldeneye ducks, great blue herons, kingfishers, and more make their home along the protected shores of the cove.


A short boat ride from the cove is Gull Island—a birdwatcher's paradise in Kachemak Bay. Along the cliffs of this bird rookery, you can see over 10,000 black-legged kittiwakes, tufted puffins, murres, cormorants, bald eagles, and more! The sights and sounds of tens of thousands of birds diving, calling, feeding, and nesting are something you have to see to believe. 


Stillpoint Lodge’s Gull Island Cruise is the best way to see the dynamic wildlife that covers this island. This activity is included for all guests at the lodge, so you’ll certainly want to take advantage of this side trip.

3. Premium Wildlife Viewing

The body of water known as Halibut Cove is home to an abundance of biological activity, thanks, in part, to its mineral-rich waters. On our Alaskan Wildlife Photo-Safari Cruise, you’re bound to see black bears, eagles,seals, and otters eating and playing. Four species of whales-- Orca, Humpback, Fin and Minke-- can been seen in Kachemak Bay. You never know when you will see a whale, so keep an eye out on the water for a whale spout!

Halibut Cove is a ideal starting place to access Katmai National Park and Lake Clark National Park by float plane. Just a short flight away, these two national parks are known to have the best bear viewing in the world. Seeing these coastal brown bears— aka grizzlies —requires a small aircraft and a personal tour guide who understands the lands and cares for the bears’ home. 

Stillpoint Lodge has either helicopter or floatplane bear-viewing adventures. We fly you directly into areas with the highest concentration of brown bears in the world. Along the way, you see active volcanoes, scenic wilderness, and maybe even a whale from the sky as you fly over gorgeous Cook Inlet.

4. World-Class Saltwater Fishing

Halibut Cove is called Halibut Cove for a reason—it’s near the halibut fishing capital of the world, Homer, Alaska. But it's not just all about the halibut… when you go deep sea fishing, different types of salmon, rockfish, and pacific cod may also find their way onto your rod. The Alaskan waters are known for having fish of world-class proportions and there is plenty to catch thanks to the state's conservation efforts.  

Our saltwater fishing excursion has you fishing in style with our professional and personable crew. The 44-foot luxury fishing vessel has plenty of space for indoor seating, heated seats, a spacious fishing deck, and a real bathroom. We offer a combination of halibut and salmon fishing because it’s the perfect way to enjoy two types of fishing experiences in one day. Plus, you can have your catch professionally fileted, vacuum sealed, and flash frozen so you can take it home. But, nothing beats fresh fish! The Stillpoint Lodge culinary team is also always happy to cook up your catch for your next meal.



5. Glacier Lake Kayaking (and wondrous hiking, too!)

The trail to Grewingk Glacier Lake in Kachemak Bay State Park is located a short boat ride across Halibut Cove and is oftentimes full of floating icebergs. Experience this once-in-a-lifetime moment of paddling your kayak amidst icebergs. During your excursion, you might even see moose, black bears, arctic terns, and mountain goats who live within the valley or on the steep mountainsides.

When glacier kayaking with Stillpoint Lodge, you get all of this and more. Our day trip includes a gourmet picnic that you can enjoy on the lakeshore overlooking the 13-mile ice field, surrounded by towering mountains that dwarf the glassy lake.

Kachemak Bay State Park is covered with miles of hiking trails that cut through beautiful forests. There are plenty of options if you’re a beginner or advanced outdoorsman. Stillpoint Lodge is surrounded by hundreds of miles of hiking trails. As you first taste of adventure at the lodge, you can take a guided hike on our three-mile panoramic Native Trail with forest and coastal views. Then opt to explore more trails in Kachemak Bay State Park.

Discover Halibut Cove With Stillpoint Lodge

If you are searching for the raw and unspoiled theater of the wild yet still wish for the luxuries of civilization.... Halibut Cove is the place for you... and no one can better offer you that experience than Stillpoint Lodge.


Want to learn more about Halibut Cove?

History of the Halibut Cove Community >

Fishing village and arts mecca >

Our included and à la carte excursions let our guests see the very best of Halibut Cove with professional and knowledgeable guides. Book your visit now and start planning your trip in and around this beautiful and unique cove.


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