The Best Wildlife Viewing Spots in Juneau
Juneau is a popular whale viewing spot, but you can also see sea lions, eagles, bears, and more. This is our guide for wildlife viewing in Juneau. We've selected the best tours to get you closer to Alaska's amazing wildlife, as well as non-tour viewing locations where you might see animals in the wild.
Best Wildlife Viewing Spots in Juneau
Juneau Day CruisesView AllTours from Juneau • Whales • Eagles
Juneau’s glaciers produce nutrient-dense waters making the waters a prime feeding ground for humpback whales. Alaska Tales’ boats are intimate (49 passengers max), and they’re super-fast, so you’ll get out to see the whales in no time. You also have the option of adding a stop at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center prior to your whale watching tour.
Plenty of whale tours let you watch the orcas and humpbacks as they breach and spout from the water — but not many also let you eavesdrop on the big mammals’ conversations. This 3.5‑hour tour out of Juneau is equipped with an amplified hydrophone system; listen to the whales underwater while enjoying the lush rainforest views. Onboard the North Star — a 48-passenger jet boat with large windows, an outside viewing deck, and a comfortable inside ...more
Bear Viewing Tours
Pack Creek Bear Tours offers fully guided adventures to Admiralty Island or Chichagof Island, each home to more than 1,500 brown bears! After a beautiful 20- or 25-minute floatplane ride, you’ll land on a remote beach. Take a short walk to the bear-viewing area, where you can watch these magnificent creatures for hours in their natural environment.
Sea Lion Viewing Spots
Whale Viewing Spots
Near the end of the North Douglas highway is a small half-mile trail leading out to the north end of Douglas Island. The small beach there offers excellent views of Admiralty Island, the Chilkats, Lynn Canal, and the mountains behind the Mendenhall Glacier. You’ll see sport fishers trolling for king salmon, and the occasional humpback. The trail is wheelchair accessible and used by tour bus groups, but go after 5PM and you’ll likely be… ...more
Salmon Viewing Spots
Steep Creek is a Forest Service fish viewing site, with runs of sockeye and coho salmon that start in mid-July and continue into October. The site is very easy to visit. It is adjacent to the Mendenhall glacier visitors’ center about 10 miles from downtown Juneau. There are no permits, fees or restrictions for the visitation. There’s a 1⁄3 mile loop trail, part of which forms an elevated boardwalk.
The hatchery raises just over 130 million chum, king and coho salmon annually and is designed to allow visitors see the outside operations of an active hatchery. You’ll learn about what it takes to raise salmon, the importance of the Alaska hatchery system, and the near shore marine environment that salmon share with other marine life.
Birding / Eagle Viewing Spots
This flat trail — a must for birders — takes you past the Juneau International Airport runway and into the famed Mendenhall Wetlands. You’ll start by following the Mendenhall River until you get past the runway. Then the trail veers left, but a smaller footpath follows the embankment above the Mendenhall out to where it empties into Lynn Canal. Follow the main trail for about another 1.5 miles, past a small covered shelter and the largest tree… ...more
Just before Echo Cove is Bridget Point State Park, where you’ll find this well-maintained trail. It meanders through muskeg, mature forest, and grassland until it reaches a beaver dam and views of the Lynn Canal. Bears often visit the meadow, but leave it to fish the stream.