Anchorage is home to more than 290,000 people, but the animal population is even bigger. As many as 1,500 moose, dozens of nesting bald eagles, 2,400 Dall sheep, brown and black bear, beluga whales, beavers and hundreds of bird species all call Anchorage and the surrounding area home.
With the massive Chugach State Park starting at Anchorage's eastern edge, and the sparkling waters of Cook Inlet embracing the western shores of the city, it should come as no surprise that Anchorage has such fauna. But wildlife don't stop at the fringes of the city; moose browse the lush greenbelts and parks, eagles keep a sharp eye on fish-filled streams and rivers.
The Anchorage moose population fluctuates with the season, with more moose inside the city in winter. Regardless of season, there are a few spots that offer the best odds of spotting one of these towering ungulates. Kincaid Park’s wooded trails are perfect for hiking biking or cross country skiing, and the park is a wonderful place to look for moose too!
Belugas, white whales roughly the size of a car, cruise through Cook Inlet year round. They often travel in groups and can be spotted as distinct white humps surfacing in the water. For the best beluga viewing, keep an eye on the waters of Knik Arm from Point Woronzoff in late afternoon and early evening. The whales often come closer to shore during that time to feed. The aptly named Beluga Point, on the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood is another great spot to whale watch.
Dall Sheep are the only all-white wild sheep in the world. Their pure white coats make them easy to spot as they negotiate the rock cliffs above the Seward Highway. It never hurts to have a pair of binoculars; they may be easy to spot, but a little magnification gives you the best look at their high-elevation hi-jinks.