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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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...
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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...
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.
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...
Around milepost 24 on Glacier Highway, take a left onto Almaga Harbor Road to enter Ernest Gruening State Park, named after a territorial governor and one of the state’s first senators. In his summer home here, he wrote his 1953 manifesto, “The State of Alaska,” which articulated why Alaska should be a state. (Statehood became official in January, 1959). From the boat More...
From this bridge on Kodiak's Chiniak Highway it's possible to see spawning salmon in August and September. There’s also potential to see brown bears here during the late summer as they feast on salmon, especially around dawn or dusk. The road on the south side of the bridge leads to Bell’s Flats.
Shrode Creek is at the head of Long Bay on the west side of Culross Passage on Prince William Sound. This remote site is accessible by boat or plane. A one mile trail follows the river from the head of Long Bay to Shrode Lake where you will find sockeye, chum, pink, and coho salmon. Salmon are present from mid-July to mid-September with the best viewing in mid-August. A nearby Forest More...
This is a very scenic and easy hike with great birding and flower viewing. During April and early May this is a prime location to view migrating gray whales. You can choose to make a short hike out of it or an all day excursion. Drive past the Road's End restaurant on a narrow, potholed road to a creek going under the road through a large culvert. This is Chinak Creek. Pink More...
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.
The steep road grade on either side of Cripple River gives a good overview of the thin thread-like river that runs through the valley. Gold mining activities occurred in the upper tributaries, as evidenced by the road and horizontal ditch lines. Look for harlequin ducks paddling swift river currents in late August or September, and Pink Salmon swimming upstream to spawn.
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.
The Feather River is a noisy, rocky, boulder-strewn river with a steep gradient, fast flow, and little vegetation. The landscape seems more barren, probably resulting from the impact of constant wind, long winters, and poor soil. Muskox and reindeer may be seen here, but other wildlife sightings are less frequent in this drainage.
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.
Descending into terrain increasingly dominated by trees and willows, you are more likely to see a moose than a muskox. In late summer grizzlies feed on spawning chum salmon below the Fox River bridge. Salmon carcasses also attract red fox, gulls, and common ravens. Both abandoned and active beaver lodges and dams are found along the Fox River drainage. Dolly Varden, Arctic grayling, and chum and pink salmon can be seen from the bridge. Downstream, the narrow, swift-flowing river is hemmed in by dense vegetation. Spotted sandpiper may be seen on a sand bar on the east side of the road and belted kingfisher burrow into the riverbanks to nest.
Stretch your legs here and check out one of the favorite rest stops for thousands of Kenai River salmon on their journey home. We’ll also seek out giant trumpeter swans, red-necked grebes, and of course, fishers of another species—humans. Here at the confluence, the two rivers reveal their source waters in a very clear visual demonstration.
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.
This is a remote fish hatchery at Lake Bay on the southern tip of Esther Island in Prince William Sound. The hatchery allows public access and tours. It is accessible by boat only. You will see pink, chum, and coho salmon. Salmon viewing at this location takes place from mid-July through September and is best in mid-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.
From the gravel pullout on the west side of the highway, an easy 1/4 mile walk to the Sockeye salmon viewing platform awaits (not fully accessible). Salmon are in the creek from mid-July to early August with the best viewing in late July.
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.
King salmon enter Deep Creek during late May and early June and continue to spawn into early July. Watch for their dark red bodies in the riffles and deeper holes. A very limited fishing season is provided during the early summer for kings and steelheads.
Perhaps the crown jewel of Alaska bear viewing, McNeil River has only 13 permits available each day and requires a floatplane trip from Anchorage or Homer. This location is spectacular because getting a permit means the possibility of seeing up to 70 bears at a time, gathered around the falls fishing. Nearly 150 bears frequent the area throughout the summer!
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.