Granite Creek Campground Review

By Ryan Wilson

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granite creek campground2

Granite Creek Campground is a quaint, quiet, and primitive campground located on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.

When it comes to camping, summer is the best time to visit Alaska. But campgrounds can often be overflowing with campers making them a little less relaxing and restorative than they could be.

That is not the case at Granite Creek Campground.

I’ve driven by Granite Creek Campground for years, but never explored the campground. That changed recently when we finally camped there with some friends. We had a great time and loved how quiet and relaxing the campground was.

Below I provide an overview of Granite Creek Campground, what it has to offer, what the best campsite are, and other information to help you decide whether this campground is the right fit for you.


Granite Creek Campground Review

Information kiosk

Granite Creek Campground is a small, primitive campground near Turnagain Pass in the Chugach National Forest. Sites cost $19 per night.

It is situated less than a quarter mile off the Seward Highway, but I was surprised how little road noise you could hear at the campground. We went early in the season before most trees had leaves on them. So it’s likely to be even quieter when all the leaves are out.

Nearly all of the sites offered a good amount of privacy from neighboring sites.

The campground offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains of the Kenai Peninsula.

granite creek behind campsites

Unlike other campgrounds on the Kenai Peninsula though, Granite Creek Campground is very quiet with minimal traffic in the campground. So it’s a great place for a relaxing weekend with young kids.

The campground itself doesn’t offer a ton of activities like others in the area where you can boat on lakes, or explore a community. But if you’re looking to just chill out in nature for the weekend, Granite Creek Campground is a great option!

Campsites

Granite Creek Campground has 19 campsites all of which can accommodate camping trailers and some RVs (up to 37′).

Each camp site has a picnic table and fire pit.

There are no strictly walk-in sites, but obviously any campsite can be used by non-motorized campers.

Granite Creek Campsite
Granite Creek Campsite

In general, the even numbered sites are on the side of the road that backs up to the creek. So, most of those sites have unofficial trails to the creek from the campsite.

But if you want a campsite that backs right up to the creek, sites 11, 12, 16, and 18 are your best bet!

Amenities

Granite Creek Campground is a relatively primitive campground with few amenities, but has everything you need for an enjoyable weekend of camping.

Granite Creek Campground offers two sources of drinking water from a hand-pump. There are also two outhouses, each with two pit toilets.

granite creek campground pit toilet
granite creek campground water pump

There is also a dumpster for your trash. Please do not leave trash or food unsecured because both grizzly and black bears live in the area and could become problems if people don’t properly manage their camps.

There are no sewer, water, or electric hook-ups. There is also no cell phone coverage.

One feature that I felt was lacking at Granite Creek Campground are food storage lockers for keeping bears out of food. This isn’t a problem for people who have a car, RV, or camper. But if you’re strictly a tent camper without a vehicle, this could lead to a bad situation.

Perhaps they don’t have them because it would be uncommon for campers to arrive by foot at Granite Creek Campground given it’s location. But it just seems like a simple device to have at the campground just in case someone needs it.

Activities

At the campground, the primary draw is Granite Creek. There are a number of short trails that lead to the creek from many of the campsites. Near the campground kiosk, there is a short trail to a beautiful gravel bar that is a great place to lounge for the day.

Granite Creek Views

You can fish for grayling and other fish in Granite Creek. I can also attest that there are some world-class skipping rocks on the gravel bar!

The Johnson Pass Trail is a quick drive from the campground which offers a nice scenic hike. You can also take a short drive to the community of Hope, Alaska. Also within driving distance are a few options for recreational gold panning.

Reservations

Advanced reservations are available for Granite Creek Campground. Reservations open 6 months in advance. While it’s a good idea to book Alaska campgrounds as far in advance as possible given how quickly sites fill up (especially on weekends), when we camped there recently, there were quite a few sites that were unoccupied. So, you probably have a good chance of snagging a site, even without a reservation.

When is Granite Creek Campground Open

Granite Creek Campground is open between Memorial Day and Labor Day annually.

Getting There

Granite Creek Campground is located 65 miles from Anchorage, with most of the drive occurring along the scenic Turnagain Arm. It takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the campground, but be prepared for delays because there tends to be a lot of construction along Alaska’s roadways in summer.

On your drive, be sure to look for beluga whales that follow the tides and hunt schools of fish. You might also see black bears, moose, Dall sheep, and many migratory birds along the way.

Turnagain Arm has one of the biggest bore tides in the world and it is quite impressive to watch! Keep your eyes peeled for kite and wind surfers who enjoy surfing the bore tides


Summary

I wasn’t expecting to like Granite Creek Campground as much as I did. But I clearly needed a weekend of just sitting by a campfire and skipping rocks on the creek.

Granite Creek Campground is one of the most relaxing and quiet campground I have stayed at in the Alaska, and now realize it’s a hidden little gem right off the highway.

If you’re exploring the Kenai Peninsula, I recommend you check it out and see if it’s a good fit for you too.

Interested in learning more about other camping opportunities in Alaska? Check out our page on Alaska Campgrounds to learn about other campgrounds to explore.

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Author

Ryan is an avid outdoorsman who loves camping, hiking, and backpacking. He was initially reluctant to join the camper world, but after his first camping trip in one, he became a convert. He especially loves how camper ownership extends the camping season and makes it easier to be more adventurous with young kids. When not enjoying his free time, he works as a professional wildlife biologist studying the ecology and conservation of large mammals in Alaska.