A Review of Quartz Creek Campground in Alaska

By Ryan Wilson

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Kenai Lake from Quartz Creek Campground

The Kenai Peninsula in Alaska is home to endless recreational opportunities. From glacier viewing and fishing, to camping, you really can’t go wrong. My family’s favorite campground in all of Alaska is also located there; Quartz Creek Campground.

We’re clearly not the only ones that feel this way because this campground consistently books up far in advance of the summer. It’s one of the most stunning campgrounds I’ve stayed at in Alaska (and that’s saying a lot). We make an effort to camp here at least once a year.

In addition to offering lots of recreational opportunities right at the campground (e.g., fishing, boating, paddle boarding), there are loads of other activities less than 30 minutes from the campground. Including the famous “combat” salmon fishing on the Russian River.

If you’re looking for a Kenai Peninsula camping trip, then look no further than Quartz Creek Campground. In the article below I provide you all of the details you need to plan your trip and decide if this is the campground for you! I also provide numerous Quartz Creek Campground photos so you can see what I mean about its beauty!


Quartz Creek Campground Review

Quartz Creek Campground Map
Quartz Creek Campground Map
Quartz Creek Campground Kiosk
Quartz Creek Campground Kiosk

Quartz Creek Campground is a decent-sized campground near Turnagain Pass in the Chugach National Forest. Single occupancy sites cost $23 per night, whereas double occupancy sites cost $33 per night..

It is situated about a half mile off the Stirling Highway, but there is no road noise from the highway. For sites that back up to Quartz Creek Road, you can hear and see cars, but the road receives low use so it is not disruptive or obnoxious.

There is a small airstrip not far from the campground so there is occasional noise from small aircraft taking off an landing. There are also times when float planes land and take off from Kenai Lake, so you might hear them from time to time too. But, float planes just add to the Alaskan experience, in my opinion.

Nearly all of the sites offered a good amount of privacy from neighboring sites. We camp here nearly every year and in 2022 they removed nearly all of the spruce trees that had been killed by beetles. That really opened the campground up and made sites less private. But in 2023 undergrowth has begun to flourish so it feels a lot less open than it did just a year ago.

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

Quartz Creek Campground
Kenai Lake at Dusk

Even though it’s a very population campground in Alaska, there is minimal traffic in the campground and our kids were able to scooter around the campground without us worrying about them getting hit by a car. So it’s a great place for a relaxing weekend with young kids.

From the campground it’s a quick (less than 5 minute) walk down to Kenai Lake. There is also a boardwalk along Quartz Creek to explore.

Quartz Creek Campground Campsites

Quartz Creek Campground has 45 campsites all of which can accommodate camping trailers and RVs. While most sites are single occupancy sites, there are also a few double occupancy sites.

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.

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There are a handful of campsites that back right up to the lake, so you essentially have private access to the lake. If available, I highly recommend sites 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 12.

Quartz Creek Campground Amenities

Quartz Creek Campground is a fully-functional campground with all the amenities you need to enjoy a weekend of camping on the Kenai Peninsula.

While the campground does not have electric or sewer hook-ups, there is an RV dump station operated by the campground across the road from the campground entrance. It costs $10 to use the facility.

Quartz Creek Campground offers multiple sources of drinking water from a spigots scattered around the campground. There are also multiple outhouses with running water and flush toilets.

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There has a dumpster for your trash as well as multiple bear-proof trash receptacles conveniently placed throughout the campground. 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 is cell phone coverage at the campground, but its quality varies based on your provided. I have AT&T and had okay (but slow) coverage. But friends of ours with GCI (an Alaskan-based cell provider) had much better service.

The campground also offers a boat ramp fro accessing Kenai Lake. It’s big enough for motor boats, or you can just use it to unload a heavy canoe or kayak.

Quartz Creek Campground Reservations

Advanced reservations are available for Quartz Creek Campground. Reservations open 6 months in advance. It’s a good idea to book Alaska campgrounds as far in advance as possible given how quickly sites fill up (especially on weekends). This is a very popular campground so finding an empty site might be extremely difficult without an advanced reservation.

When is Quartz Creek Campground Open

Quartz Creek Campground is open between mid-May and mid-September annually.

Getting to Quartz Creek Campground

Quartz Creek Campground is located 100 miles from Anchorage, with most of the drive occurring along the scenic Turnagain Arm and Turnagain Pass. It takes approximately 1 hour and 45 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 the numerous wildlife species that occur along the way. In particular, watch out for beluga whales that follow the tides and hunt schools of fish. I’ve only seen them 3 times in my nearly 20 years living in Anchorage. So if you see them, know you were really lucky and fortunate. 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

Quartz Creek Campground Activities

Hiking Near Quartz Creek Campground

There are many hiking opportunities within a 20 minute drive of the campground. On a recent weekend, we visited Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and hiked the Hidden Creek Trail down to Skilak Lake. It was incredible!

Hidden Creek Trail to Skilak Lake Hike

Not far down the road from the campground you’ll also find the Crescent Lake Trailhead, Resurrection Pass Trailhead, and the Fuller Lakes Trailhead.

Fishing Near Quartz Creek Campground

Some of the best salmon fishing in Alaska is a short drive from the campground. The famous Russian River salmon fishing is less than 15 minutes from the campground. While you can’t fish for salmon in Quartz Creek or Kenai Lake, you can fish for some beautiful rainbow trout.

Kenai Lake

At the campground, the primary draw is Kenai Lake. The lake is a beautiful blue given all of the glacier waters that feed the lake. On a sunny summer day, simply sitting on the beach of the lake, enjoying the scenery, and soaking up the sun is a great activity. That’s usually all we do!

When the wind is calm, taking out paddle boards, kayaks, or canoes in the sheltered alcove is a lot of fun. You can rent paddle boards and kayaks in nearby Cooper Landing, Alaska if you don’t have your own. But be sure to wear life jackets because Kenai Lake is extremely cold and even the best swimmers could struggle if exposed too long.


Summary

Quartz Creek Campground has never disappointed me when I camp there. The views an incredible, the activities are quintessential Alaska, and it’s an easy drive from Anchorage.

If you’re planning a Kenai Peninsula camping trip, or just need a campground to overnight at on your way somewhere else, Quartz Creek Campground is worth checking out.

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.