Herring Cove, at the right time of year, is a wonderful place to view wildlife, and in particular, black bears. Mid-June through early September, when the salmon are running, is probably the best time for a chance to see black bears here. Up to a 22-foot difference between high and low tide here in the cove, the best time of day for bear viewing is an hour or so on either side of low tide in the evening. This is when the bears are more likely to come out to feed because they have a better chance of scooping salmon out of the creek than when hide tide floods the creek into a wider cove once again. You can stand on either side of the guardrail at the parking spot, but please don’t wander because you are surrounded by private land and homes. This spot is a nice perch on a high bank over the creek and looks out into a grassy marshland on the other side, which is fenced in by forest behind it. To the right, you can see water pouring out of pipes from the Whitman Lake Hatchery, where the currently matured salmon are returning to where they were once hatched and released. A good set of binoculars is highly recommended so that you can scan the marshland for bears approaching or the banks of the creek where they like to walk and feel like you are having an up-close experience while still maintaining a safe distance from the black bears. Bald eagles also gather here and harbor seals can be seen floating up and down the creek in-between schools of salmon. Though quite popular with locals and tourists alike, this is a great place to visit before or after dinner and offers a wide-viewing area where you can relax and chat while you sightsee.

  • 7-mile drive one-way (16-20-minutes)
  • 14-mile drive round-trip

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 55.3277273
Longitude: -131.5272982

From downtown Ketchikan, head south 7 miles on Tongass Hwy until you arrive in Herring Cove. Once you cross the bridge, turn left on Power House Road and continue down the dirt road 300 yards until you find a little space to park on the left where a guard rail is perched overlooking the cove.