Area Status: Open
The Anan Wildlife Observatory is located 30 miles southeast of the town of Wrangell. Anan Creek has the largest run of pink salmon in Southeast Alaska, which supports the high density of black and brown bears. The facilities consists of a covered viewing shelter, decks, photo blind, and an outhouse.
Planning your trip - Anan is a world class bear viewing site that is growing in popularity. From July 5 through August 25, an individual pass is required to visit the Wildlife Observatory and visitation numbers are restricted. The process of obtaining a pass for visitation from July 5 through August 25 is very competitive. Plan your trip early.
Obtaining a permit – Anan permits are reserved through www.recreation.gov or their toll free number 1-800-877-444-6777. Permits for the season become available on February 1st at 8 am (AKST). Four permits each day will also be made available through weekly lotteries held during the peak season. Lottery requests will only be accepted in person at the Wrangell Ranger District front desk. You can call 907-874-2323 for more information on this lottery. Authorized guiding companies also provide transportation and permits to Anan (see list in the “At a Glance” section below). Permits are not required outside of the July 5th -August 25th peak season.
Getting There - The Anan Wildlife Observatory is accessible by boat or float plane.
Caution: The wet environment of SE Alaska creates very slippery and muddy trail conditions. The trail and conditions can be arduous. There are sections of the trail that have loose gravel, mud, and uneven ground. There are over 300 stairs from the Anan trailhead to the observatory deck. In addition, the photo blind, which is located at the bear observatory, is accessed through a stairway that is equivalent to 3 stories high.
You will be met at the trailhead by Forest Service personnel from late June to September. They will check your pass (if required) and brief you on trail conditions and safety. At the trailhead, you will also find an outhouse. During the peak viewing season of July and August, Forest Service interpreters are also onsite to provide current information on bear safety, trail conditions, and bear activity.
Be sure to check the Safety Information
At a Glance
||8AM to 6PM July 5 though August 25
|Reservations may be made through recreation.gov
|Rentals & Guides:
||$10/permit plus a $6 reservation fee
||July 5 - August 25
||Outhouses, 1 at Trailhead, 1 at Deck
||Frequently Asked Questions
Mainland, 31 miles SE from Wrangell at Anan Bay across Ernest Sound from SE corner of Wrangell Island
Anan Creek is an area of rich history. The Stikine Tlingit clans had summer fish camps here and used Anan Creek’s large salmon spawning run to catch and preserve salmon for their winter food supply. Anan was unique because the large amount of salmon available made it possible to have several clans sharing one fish camp.
The abundance of salmon also drew non-native people to Anan Creek. In 1901, Pilot Fish Packing Company set up a large fish trap at the mouth of Anan that allowed few fish to make it up the creek. This lack of escapement was very destructive to the Anan salmon population. Commercial fish traps were outlawed shortly after Alaska became a state in 1959.