Estuary Life Trail



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 salmon runs. The U.S. Forest Service manages the area, and the bears can safely be observed from the road or viewing shelter but are not in residence every year.

The trail is great for folks not used to hiking, as it has a level or gentle grade without steps. And if you’re intimidated by the Alaskan backcountry, there are usually other folks here, since it’s within walking distance of the state ferry terminal. It’s also a popular recreation area for locals, who come here to exercise or walk their dogs.

The boardwalk follows the edge of the forest and the grassy marshlands of the Starrigavan River, home to bald eagles, great blue herons, migratory shorebirds, and ducks. There are six interpretive stations with benches, as well as a covered bird-viewing deck at the trailhead.

You can lengthen the walk by joining the Forest and Muskeg Trail, which begins less than 100 feet from the river viewing deck near the end of the trail by the footbridge across Starrigavan Creek. There’s a sign at the entrance.

Getting There

Latitude: 57.1321
Longitude: -135.3659
Driving Directions