Anan Wildlife Observatory

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.

Photo showing the raised platform, partially enclosed and roofed and partially open decking, overlo

During the peak viewing season of July and August, Forest Service interpreters are on-site to provide current information on bear safety, trail conditions, and bear activity. For your safety, some special cautions and restrictions are necessary. Close encounters with bears using the Anan Trail are not infrequent from June 15 to September 15. Good trail behavior suggestions include:

  • Talk or make noise along the trail to alert bears of your presence.
  • Stay in tight groups.
  • Do NOT approach the bears.

Restrictions: Due to bear activity from June 15 to September 15 annually, the following restrictions apply by Forest Order:

  • Areas off the Anan Trail and beyond the immediate vicinity of the Anan Bay Cabin are closed to foot traffic.
  • No food, including beverages other than water, is allowed on the trail or at the Wildlife Observatory.
  • No dogs are allowed at Anan.
  • No camping outside the Anan Bay Cabin.
  • Fishing from the shore is allowed at the Anan trail head only. All other off-trail areas accessing water are closed during this time.

About Anan Wildlife Observatory


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 by Forest Service personnel from late June to September at the trailhead. They will check your pass (passes required July 5th - August 25th) and brief you on trail conditions and safety. At the trailhead, you will also find an outhouse.


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 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.


Although many people come to see the bears at Anan, there is a lot more wildlife to see. You never know what will be waiting for you at Anan; Steller sea lions, wolves, and wolverines are a few species that have been spotted. Anan always hosts interesting birds as well, including bald eagles, gulls and American dippers.

The bounty of the summer salmon run supports the magnificent wildlife viewing at Anan. Anan Creek has the largest run of pink salmon in Southeast Alaska. It is estimated that 300,000 fish make their way up the creek to spawn and die. Shortly after hatching, pink salmon fry head to the ocean. Pinks spend about 2 years in the ocean before returning to their natal creek to spawn. They weigh about 3.5 to 4 pounds at maturity.