Wildlife is abundant in Anchorage, and you don’t need to travel far to spot some of Alaska’s most iconic animals. Spend a few days searching out some recognizable furry faces, fins, and wings for an Anchorage experience you won’t forget.
Watch the sunrise over Ship Creek, and see wild Alaska salmon make their ways upstream in the summer months. Head out to the mouth of the creek, known as Dgheyay Kaq' in the area’s traditional Dena’ina Athabascan language, for a chance to spot the occasional seal or beluga whale.
Follow the Ship Creek Trail 2.5 miles east to the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery, where visitors can see the hatchery’s collection of 100 rearing tanks capable of producing more than 6 million fish annually.
Just before sunset, head out to Point Woronzof to see the sun sink over Mount Susitna and watch for moose browsing along the side of the road leading out to the park. The end of the runway at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a popular spot to catch departing jets and rambling ungulates.
Grab a coffee from a local cafe, then head to Westchester Lagoon to soak up the sunrise and watch for birds, beavers, and other wildlife in the surrounding wetlands. Stroll the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail to one of the many scenic overlooks to watch for the occasional pod of beluga whales swimming in Cook Inlet.
After lunch, visit the Alaska Zoo to meet iconic Alaska wildlife like bears, wolves, musk ox, and reindeer — as well as non-native favorites like tigers and camels.
End the day with a trip up to Glen Alps to hike Blueberry Hill or Flattop Mountain, watch the sunset, and spot moose and the occasional bear meandering through the Chugach Front Range.
Start the day with a panoramic view of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge from the 1,550-foot boardwalk over Potter Marsh. At least 130 species of birds have been spotted in the area, as well as frequent moose, occasional bears, and other wildlife.
Head farther south on the Seward Highway to enjoy a picnic at Beluga Point, one of the earliest archeological sites of the Upper Cook Inlet region (visited by Alaska Native people for thousands of years). Today, visitors can watch for beluga whales in Turnagain Arm or Dall sheep scaling the cliffs across the highway.
A 40-minute drive south is the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a sprawling 200-acre habitat near the eastern tip of Turnagain Arm. The sanctuary’s popular bear-viewing boardwalk gives visitors a chance to watch the bruins from above, and opportunities for close encounters with moose and other wildlife make it a family-friendly favorite.
Head back to Anchorage for dinner, or spend the night in Girdwood.