Visit one of the best nature and wildlife areas close to Valdez. This salt marsh is made up of more than 1,000 acres, and the unique mixture of freshwater streams and tides creates a thriving estuary that teems with life.
The flats offer nesting grounds for waterfowl, so it’s a popular spot for birding. You might see gorgeous species like Harlequin ducks, Arctic terns, red-necked grebes, bald eagles, sandpipers, gulls, and great blue herons. It’s also a rearing ground for pink salmon, especially from the nearby Solomon Gulch Salmon Hatchery. In addition to seeing the fish, you may also spot black and brown bears who feast on them. And keep an eye out for the occasional sea otter. Bring binoculars!
Here’s how to see this vibrant area
Park at the USFS Crooked Creek Information Site. Follow the bike path from the parking area; you can check out the flats across the highway from the path.
Bike or walk along the bike path from town. It’s about a mile from the visitor’s center, so a 20-minute walk or 5–7 minutes by bike.
Take the short (less than a mile) Dock Point Trail. You’ll get views of the harbor on one side and the Duck Flats on the other.
A few local companies offer guided kayaking trips. You’ll paddle through calm waters along the shore and wind around a small chain of islands looking for birds, otters, and seals.