Stikine Flats Wildlife Viewing Area At a Glance

A birdwatcher views shorebirds on the Stikine River DeltaDescription:

The Stikine Flats are one of the greatest intertidal wetland areas in the United States. Located at the mouth of the Stikine River in the Stikine-LeConte Wilderness Area, the Flats are an important habitat for migrating birds and marine mammals. This is a wilderness adventure -- Use this website to plan your trip well!

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Viewing Information:

The Stikine Flats are diverse -- grading from estuarine mud and grass flats to willow and alder brush, to riverine cottonwood and spruce forests as you progress up the Stikine River. Wildlife can be found here year-round, but the greatest abundance is found in Spring and Fall.

The mudflats are an important stopover in Spring for hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds. The grass flats are important in Spring and Fall for migrating ducks, geese, and sandhill cranes. In Spring, eulachon (a kind of smelt) move into the lower river to spawn, attracting bald eagles and other predators. During this time, the Flats support the second highest bald eagle concentration in the world.

Safety First:

Be prepared for wet and chilly weather at any time of the year. Also, anywhere in Southeast Alaska is bear country. Visitors should use good common "bear sense" when travelling in this wilderness.


There are no roads in the Stikine-LeConte Wilderness. Access is limited to boats and float planes. Access is also tide-dependent, with most reliable/easiest access at high tide. Charter boats and planes are available in Wrangell and Petersburg. Forest Service cabins are available for rent on the Stikine Flats.

Ownership & Management:

USDA Forest Service, Tongass National Forest; Wrangell Ranger District (907) 874-2323

Closest Town:

Wrangell, Alaska

Best Viewing Season:

viewing season - spring and fall