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 that gather there, in addition to birds such as bald eagles, gulls, and American dippers. Steller sea lions, wolves, and wolverines have also been spotted at Anan.
From July 5 through August 25, an individual pass is required to visit the Wildlife Observatory. Visitation outside this time period does not require a reservation or pass. For reservation information, please go to the reservation page.
The Anan Wildlife Observatory is accessible by boat or float plane.
The Anan Wildlife Observatory consists of a covered viewing shelter, decks, photo blind, and an outhouse. The Observatory is accessed by a half-mile partially surfaced trail with stairs from the Anan trailhead. Whether you arrive by boat or float plane, you will disembark in a tidal area. There are large, slippery rocks to traverse before you reach the trailhead.
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.
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.
The abundance of salmon attracts large concentrations of black bears, bald eagles, harbor seals, and a number of brown bears to feed. All this activity makes for exciting viewing and photography. People from around the world have come to enjoy the unique experience Anan offers.