Hartney Bay At a Glance

Sandpipers feed in shallow water.


Fed by the nutrient-rich waters of Prince William Sound, Hartney Bay harbors hundreds of thousands of migrating birds each year. Inundated by tides twice each day, Hartney Bay is a wonderful place to watch for shorebirds, waterfowl, black and brown bears, bald eagles and peregrine falcons.

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Viewing Information:

For a brief time each spring, from mid-April to mid-May, Hartney Bay clamors with the activity of hundreds of thousands of shorebirds! The Copper River Delta is the most important spring staging area in the Western Hemisphere. At Hartney Bay visitors have the incredible opportunity to view whirling flocks of tens of thousands of shorebirds as they rest and refuel during their long journey northward. Each year the community hosts the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival which combines great field trip opportunities with a range of fun and informative community events.

Throughout the rest of the year, Hartney Bay provides excellent opportunities to view a wide variety of songbirds, and marine mammals such as harbor seals, Steller's sea lions, and sea otters. In late summer, pink and chum salmon return to Hartney Creek to spawn.

Safety First:

Take extra care when you prepare for a birding trip in coastal Alaska. Hypothermia is a danger throughout the year. Warm clothes and rain gear are essential for a safe and comfortable visit to Cordova. Knee-high, waterproof boots are necessary to access the tidal flats of Hartney Bay. Please remember, the tide floods twice each day here - pay attention to the tides to avoid being caught on the mudflats! Be bear aware!


Hartney Bay lies approximately six miles southwest of Cordova, at the end of Whitshed Road. The first three miles of Whitshed Road is paved, while the remainder is a good, two-lane gravel road. The upland property adjacent to Hartney Bay is private land owned by the Eyak Corporation, which allows access to the site. Be responsible visitors; leave only footprints, take only photographs.

Ownership & Management:

USDA Forest Service, Chugach National Forest, Cordova Ranger District (907) 424-7661

Closest Town:

Cordova, Alaska

Best Viewing Season:

spring and fall viewing season