Anan Wildlife Observatory Site

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Anan Wildlife Viewing Area

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.

Requesting reservations for 2015 - On each day from July 5 through August 25, there are 20 passes available to the general public for early booking.  Due to a historical high demand for early booking, these 20 passes will be distributed by lottery. Lottery Requests must be submitted by February 28, 2015 to be considered.  The lottery will be open to the public, and conducted on March 2, 2015 at 1:00 PM at the Wrangell Ranger District Office. To submit requests, please send an email to include “lottery request” in the subject line, maximum group size of 4 individuals per request, independent contact information (mailing address, phone and/or email) must be provided for each individual. If individuals are requesting passes with the assistance of an authorized commercial guide, the name of the company must be included in the request. There are no fees for entering lottery requests. Confirmed reservations will require the payment of a $10/pass plus a $6 reservation fee per group.  Payment information will be included with lottery result notification.

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

Operational Hours: 8AM to 6PM July 5 though August 25
Please send an email to 
Fees $10/pass plus a $6 reservation fee
Open Season: July 5 - August 25
Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: Wrangell
Water: No
Restroom: Outhouses, 1 at Trailhead, 1 at Deck
Operated By: Forest Service

General Information


Mainland, 31 miles SE from Wrangell at Anan Bay across Ernest Sound from SE corner of Wrangell Island

General Notes:


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.

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Nature Viewing

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Viewing Wildlife

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.
Fire Danger Level: Low
Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
0.5 miles

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