Northwest Kenai Locations:

Funny River Road

Brown's Lake. ©Helen O'Harra

Notable Species

  • Caribou
  • Lynx
  • Moose
  • American wigeon
  • Surf scoter
  • Common merganser
  • Common loon
  • Pine grosbeak

The drive along the Funny River Road traverses a seldom-visited 6-mile stretch of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Moose can be seen foraging along or crossing the road, especially during winter months. Forest birds such as pine grosbeaks and thrushes zip between perches. A side trip to the Funny River State Recreation Site offers access to a boardwalk at the confluence of Kenai and Funny rivers with easy viewing of shorebirds, terns, bald eagles and salmon. Brown’s Lake, one of the most remote lakes with road access in the region, draws shorebirds, waterfowl, common loons and Arctic terns between May and August. Caribou are occasionally seen in hay fields on private lands near the road.


Boreal forest lines much of the Funny River Road, and the roadside provides edge habitat that attracts animals. Lush riparian growth dominates the river edges. Brown’s Lake is a large, shallow lake rimmed by stands of white and black spruce, hilly glacial moraines and a vast wetland.

Historic Connection

The area along Funny River Road and Brown’s Lake was homesteaded in the late 1940s. Please respect private property—except for the immediate launch ramp area, all of the property around Brown’s Lake is private, including the island.

Viewing Tip

For wildlife viewing, Brown’s Lake is best visited in the stillness of early morning. The lake is very popular for swimming and water-skiing in the summer—activity picks up by about 10am.

Getting There

Sterling Highway milepost 96.1 (just south of the Kenai River Bridge), turn east on Funny River Road. The state recreation site is at mile 11.2. To Brown’s Lake, continue to mile 14, then turn right (south) on Rabbit Run Road. One mile down the road, turn left (east) on Brown’s Lake Road. The boat launch is at the end of the road, approximately 2.5 miles. Very large RVs might have difficulty turning around.