Here you'll find one of the most accessible wildlife viewing areas in Alaska. The marsh is a rest area for migratory birds including trumpeter swans, rednecked grebes, golden eyes, and pintails. Also watch for beavers, moose and bald eagles. You may even spot salmon spawning in the deeper water.
This remote site is accessible by boat or floatplane. Chalmers River is located about 3/4 mile north of a Forest Service public cabin on the northwest side of Montague Island in Prince William Sound. Spawning Pink and Chum salmon can be seen in the intertidal areas and a short distance upstream. Best salmon viewing times are late July through August with peak times in More...
For glimpses of the big Chinook salmon right inside the city’s industrial heart, check out the hatchery-seeded run at Ship Creek between late May into June. Hatchery-seeded coho salmon begin running through the same waters in late July through August.
Great sockeye salmon observation site, especially in late July and early August. At other times of year it offers a moderate walk up to Ptarmigan Lake that’s great for families and features lots of bird life.
Slikok Creek passes under Kalifonsky Rd. and fish can be seen spawning near the culvert on both sides of the road. This is a critical habitat area and you are asked not to wander along the banks of this very sensitive stream. All viewing can be done next to the road. Best salmon viewing months are June and early-July.
See saltwater holding pens full of fish fry (young ones) waiting to be released into the ocean. In June and July, the water boils with swirling fish, eagles perch in almost every tree, and commercial purse-seiner fishermen capture surface fish by encircling them in long nets.
Salmon work hard to make their annual appearance at the Eagle River Nature Center's salmon viewing deck, leaping the abandoned beaver dam, among other obstacles. Over the years, this viewing deck has supported hundreds of photographers capturing moose, bears, eagles, and unparalleled views.
Visible outside the windows of the Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau, this state wildlife refuge is the result of the 1964 earthquake. Literally overnight, the land dropped by 6 to 20 feet; hay fields and pastureland became salt flats and marshland. Once home to cows and grains, the land is now prime habitat for moose, birds, and fish. Some 20,000 acres are protected in the More...
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game operate the Crooked Creek hatchery, adult salmon may be viewed moving up the stream and fishway into the hatchery raceways; king salmon in late June and early July and coho salmon in late August and September. Each salmon is identified and counted as it swims through the chute using an underwater video camera.
This salmon viewing location includes an all-acccessible viewing platform overlooking the creek as well as viewing opportunties along Ptarmigan Creek trail. Sockeye salmon will be in the creek from late July to early October with the best viewing in mid-August. Vehicle parking is in the day use area inside Ptarmigan Creek Campground.
Learn how the fish are raised from small alevin to fry and beyond to smolt size before being released into surrounding lakes and bays. Depending on the fish cycle, there may or may not be fish to view, so please call ahead. If there are no fish to be seen, you're welcome to look at a small photo gallery and learn about the fish production cycle, and understand why More...
The Crooked Creek Information Center and salmon viewing platform are located on the outskirts of Valdez at Mile 0.5 of the Richardson Highway. Pink and chum salmon return to this clear water stream each summer to spawn with peak numbers seen in mid-August. Occasionally, black or brown bear can be observed feasting on the returning fish.
In the town that boasts of being the Alaskan salmon capital of the world, here's where you can see the salmon in action—hundreds of thousands come through every summer. This spot, right next the library and at the end of Creek Street, offers a prime view of the crowds of salmon on their way to spawn.
Steep Creek is a Forest Service fish viewing site, with runs of sockeye and coho salmon that start in mid-July and continue into October. The site is very easy to visit. It is adjacent to the Mendenhall glacier visitors' center about 10 miles from downtown Juneau. There are no permits, fees or restrictions for the visitation. There's a 1/3 mile loop trail, part of which More...
Thousands of pink salmon converge on Indian Creek each July and August, just about filling this shallow, easy-flowing stream south of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm from bank-to-bank. This amazing natural spectacle occurs in one of the easiest places to view spawning salmon in the region: No steep banks, crystal clear water and fish so close they could almost be touched.
This salmon viewing opportunity is located at Mile 4 of the Portage Highway. Look for a paved lot on south side of road and a Salmon Viewing sign. The viewing platform is handicap accessible and overlooks Williwaw Creek. Spawning sockeye, chum, and coho salmon arrive in late-July and remain throughout early fall with the best viewing in mid to late-August. In addition to salmon, you More...
This bear viewing spot is a bit unusual because it attracts only black bears. A short 26-mile floatplane or boat ride from Ketchikan brings you to a dock where you'll then walk 1.5 miles to the viewing platform. You'll see up to 10 black bears feasting on fish near the fish ladder.
This bear viewing spot is a bit unusual because it attracts only black bears. A short 26-mile floatplane or boat ride from…
Learn about the life cycle of salmon at this non-profit hatchery, where thousands of fish are cultivated and tagged annually before being released into area lakes, rivers and streams. You can watch (and even feed) little ones swimming against the current.
This wildlife sweet spot is worth a visit. The Russian Lakes Trail begins off the access road to the Russian River Campground in Cooper Landing, at milepost 52 of the Sterling Highway. Get off-the-beaten path, hike two miles to the falls and enjoy the immediate reward of spectacular salmon viewing.
Fish Creek is remote, yet road-accessible from the small town of Hyder, which means some human traffic, but not thick crowds. A 3-mile drive or hike from town provides access to an elevated walkway beside the creek that is over ¼-mile long. What makes this area unique is the chance to see brown and black bears in close proximity as they prowl the shallows for spawning salmon.
Mid May through early October
If you want to marvel at the sight of thousands of fish schooling in gigantic tanks, take the self-guided tour inside the state fish hatchery on the banks of Ship Creek east of downtown. The museum-quality observation deck offers intimate views of a complex operation that produces up to six million sport fish each year.
Grouse Creek runs adjacent to the Seward Highway. To access this creek, exit onto the paved pullout at mile 8.3. There's a Chugach National Forest sign here too that marks the spot. From late- July to mid-September, you will be able to view sockeye salmon with the best chance of seeing fish in mid-August.
The Indian river is home to a number of fish: Summer Pink, chum, coho, chinook salmon, along with Dolly Varden, char, and steelhead trout. This arched bridge is the place to see them. Be sure to stop by on your way through Alaska's oldest designated National Park.
The Indian River is a beautiful, clear stream that’s home to spawning salmon each summer. On the lower reaches of the river, by the intertidal zone and lower floodplain, pink and chum salmon spawn from mid-July through September.
Farther up the river, you’ll find coho and chinook salmon, Dolly Varden, char, and steelhead trout.
Turn on Quartz Creek Road and proceed 2 miles to Quartz Creek Campground. The stream is adjacent to the picnic area and a trail expands Sockeye and Coho salmon viewing opportunities upstream or downstream. Salmon viewing takes place from late July to early October with best viewing in early August.
The road parallels a somewhat narrow creek valley, making it easy to see water and shorebirds associated with flowing water as well as the wide variety of songbirds, such as thrushes, warblers, and sparrows that hang out in dense shrubs clustered at creek’s edge. Arctic grayling, and sometimes pink salmon, are found here.
A two-hour kayak ride up Mitchell Bay toward Hasselborg Lake takes you through a serene, pristine wilderness. You’ll share the area with water birds, eagles, salmon and of course, brown bear. Portage at a U.S. Forest Service cabins to stay awhile and take in more of the incredible Tongass National Forest.
King salmon enter during late-May and early-June and there are always some fish spawning in areas near the highway during early-July. Wear polarized glasses if you have them and watch for dark red kings in the riffles and deeper holes. A very limited fishing season is available on these streams during the early summer for both salmon and steelhead.
Look for the Russian River Campground (entry fee required) and park in the day-use parking areas within campground facilities. A two mile well-maintained gravel trail leads to the viewing platform above the falls or to the angler trail along the river. Use caution for high densities of brown and black bears who are fishing for the same Sockeye and Coho salmon you are looking for. More...
The Nome River is a good place to see salmon. Pink and chum salmon spawn in August, coho are usually present in August and September. Sockeye salmon, Arctic grayling, and Dolly Varden may be present. Look for Arctic terns fishing, harlequin duck and red-breasted merganser riding swift water, spotted sandpiper or wandering tattler at waterline, and northern shrike in the willowed river edges.
Look for the channel to a beaver pond. The channel provides access to the pond for silver salmon fry and can support up to 25,400 young salmon. The fallen trees and brush provide cover from predators. Here you will also find access to Saddlebag Glacier USFA Trail, a 3-mile trail to Saddlebag Lake, this is the best trail for mountain biking in the district.
Just beyond Mill Bay Beach is a lovely improved trail that starts a short way up Antone Way on the left. There is a nice parking area and trailhead sign. The trail parallels Island Lake Creek, which tumbles steeply through the woods over falls and boulders. This is a good place to see dippers, as well as forest birds such as winter wrens, varied thrush, chickadees, More...
This is a great, easy walk that can be linked to the Forest and Muskeg Trail and Mosquito Cove Trail. The boardwalk trail travels through a rich tidelands ecosystem, where you’ll find good bird watching for shore and seabirds. You may even spot bears, who show up here to feed on young grasses in early summer and return in mid-July to the end of September for the pink and silver More...
Grand Central Valley reaches deep into the Kigluaik Mountains. Heading north, the base of Mt. Osborn (at 4,714 feet, it’s the Seward Peninsula’s tallest peak) is visible far up the valley to the left. These mountains have classic U-shaped valleys carved by glaciers, but the ice has long since melted leaving only small lakes at the head waters of the side drainages. Sockeye salmon migrate up Pilgrim River to Salmon Lake between late July and mid-August, and some continue up the Grand Central River as far as the bridge.
Heading north, the turn-off toward the river leads to the seasonal camps and year-round homes that comprise the community of Banner Creek. Just a short ways in is a gravel pit pond that may contain local nesting waterfowl, mew gull, Bonaparte’s gull, and semipalmated plover. The edges with the tallest willows are a good place to find blackpoll warbler. A large beaver lodge on the banks has helped to fertilize this once sterile gravel pit, which now supports juvenile coho salmon, Dolly Varden, and Arctic grayling.
If you want to see salmon, eagles and black bear in their natural habitat, the view along Gunnuk Creek cannot be surpassed. Silver Spike Bridge over the creek is a good viewing point, or you can make your way to the nearby bear viewing platform at the old Gunnuk Creek Hatchery. Some call Gunnuk Creek “eagle highway” for the large number of eagles here when the fish are running.
Portage Valley southeast of Anchorage at the head of Turnagain Arm offers so many potential adventures that you might have to tow a trailer loaded with gear to sample them all. What will you find here? Biking, hiking, picnicking, fishing, paddling, wildlife viewing, potential iceberg sightings — plus a natural history visitor center packed with interactive displays about the ecosystem of the valley and Prince William Sound. It’s like an outdoor Disneyland just over an hour’s drive from town.
As you drive toward Soldotna you will see the Kenai River on your left. This river has thousands of salmon spawning in it each year. Mostly sockeye or red salmon but also coho or silver salmon, chinook or king salmon and pink or humpy salmon. After these salmon die, they float downstream and are deposited along the riverbank where they decompose and More...
The Bluestone River is unlike other river crossings along the Teller Road because it flows northward to Imuruk Basin rather than south to Norton Sound. The river is deeply incised as it cuts through steep mountains, creating steep, rocky slopes and cliffs. Rough-legged hawk, golden eagle, gyrfalcon, and common raven may nest on nearby rock cliffs
The Cross Admiralty Canoe Route, a 32-mile water trail between Angoon and Seymour Canal, links seven mountain lakes, trails and portages that allow for kayak and canoe travel across the island. It’s an amazing adventure for experienced independent travelers, especially with Forest Service cabins providing shelter along the way.
There is parking at the trailhead for passenger vehicles and one or two campers. The trail is half a mile long and takes you through a mature birch forest that is carpeted with devil's club and watermelon berry plants. It's an easy walking, ideal for small children, and ends at a small camping area on a slight bluff that overlooks Bishop's Beach and Bishop Creek. There is More...