If you love wildlife, you’ll want to put this Valdez spot on your must-see list. When the salmon return to spawn—from mid-June through August—the waters of the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery run thick with pink and Coho salmon. Their presence attracts creatures who love to eat these delicious fish, so you may also spot sea lions out in the water, swimming with fish in their mouths. You may also see black and brown bears fishing from shore, especially at low tide.
While the wildlife may be the highlight of a view here, you’ll also learn a lot about fish and fishing in Alaska. This facility, built in 1981, is the largest single-species salmon hatchery in North America, incubating up to 270 pink salmon and 2 million Coho salmon each year. And every year, adults return in vast numbers—some 16 million pinks and 100,000 Cohos.
You can visit the hatchery from May through October and take the self-guided walking tour. View the fish ladder, read the interpretive signs, and stand on the overhang overlooking the creek. Along with the scenic view, you’ll get a lesson in these fish and learn how important this hatchery is to the fishing industry and the local economy, generating some $110 million every year!
Valdez, AK 99686
The hatchery is just a 15-minute drive down Dayville Rd. from downtown Valdez. There’s a big parking area just beyond the hatchery, with ample parking for RVs, too. Walk to the hatchery on the path along the creek, or take the sidewalk along the road.