Dall Sheep Viewing at Windy Corner

The premier spot to view wild Dall sheep in Alaska (and maybe the whole continent) looms over one of the state’s busiest highways only 20 miles south of Anchorage. Windy Corner—the southern terminus of the Turnagain Arm Trail in Chugach State Park—often concentrates sheep on craggy faces just above the road. It’s not uncommon to see a half dozen sheep perched on cliffs in two or three spots, or grazing in patches less than 100 feet above. On rare occasions, the sheep actually venture right down to the highway, most often during shoulder seasons when fresh grass grows closer to sea level. Biologists have speculated that mineral licks draw the animals. But the proximity of excellent grazing habitat near a cliff zone that overlooks vehicle traffic might have created sort of a refuge that deters predators. Alaskans regularly slow down and scan the terrain when driving past, and then zip into the pullouts when they see animals. A short and somewhat steep walk up the trail will sometimes offer a different vantage of sheep not visible below. For almost certain sheep viewing, ambitious hikers with route-finding skills can scramble up a challenging social trail several hundred feet to reach a grassy basin above the cliffs.

Getting There

Mile 106 Seward Highway

Windy Corner is at Mile 106 of the Seward Highway on Turnagain Arm. Be aware that the spot has a reputation for near-collisions when sheep-inspired drivers slam on brakes, and would-be viewers dash across the highway despite traffic. So be safe and completely exit the traffic lanes before looking for animals! (The site is slated to be rebuilt soon and made safer.)

Going south: Watch for a paved pullout on the shore side with two blue arrow markers on the southern end. Drive around the corner, continue past trailhead parking on the mountainside and then park in a gravel pullout on the Turnagain Arm side to your right.

Going north: After passing the Falls Creek Trailhead (Mile 105.6,) continue another half mile and park in the large gravel pullout at the base of the mountain to your right.

Driving Directions