Anan Wildlife Observatory Site

Area Status: Closed
This area is Closed

Anan Wildlife Viewing Area

The Anan Wildlife 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, visitation numbers are restricted to pass/permit holders.The process of obtaining a permit/pass for visitation from July 5 through August 25 has changed in 2020. See instructions below for obtaining a permit. 

Obtaining a permit – For 2020, Anan permits have been distributed to Authorized Guiding Companies working at Anan. To obtain a permit and visit Anan, contact one of the Authorized Anan Guiding Companies listed in this link: Authorized GUIDING companies 

To help you plan your trip, the following website shows the calendar for Anan operation July 5-August 25. It displays each Authorized Guide company and their available permits for each day. Contact an Authorized Guide directly to arrange permit and passage to Anan Wildlife Observatory.

In addition, there are 12 private permits available on for individuals who have their own boat or means to arrive at Anan. Previous to 2020, private permits for Anan were available on and individuals could purchase them and then find an outfitter and guide company to bring them to Anan. This has changed for 2020.  For 2020, only persons who will not use any type of commercial service to get to or be guided at Anan (those arriving with their own means of transportation, and visiting without any hired escort) should purchase private permits on This is a significant change in operations, so if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Wrangell Ranger District at 907-874-2323.

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
Authorized Guiding companies (60 permits/day)
Reservations may be made through (12 permits/day)
Rentals & Guides:
Fees $10/permit
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
Information Center: Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


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.

Areas & Activities


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0.5 miles

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