Wildlife

Haines is known for itsabundance of wildlife and can be seen practically anywhere in the valley, even in the downtown area. Guided tours are the best way to optimize your wildlife viewing potential as tour operators not only know where to go but are also able to reach remote areas not typically accessed by the main stream of people. Check out our Tours & Activities to learn more about tours that suit your taste in experiencing the outdoors for wildlife viewing.

Wildlife Viewing Resources

For a list of the more popular wildlife viewing sites in Haines, safety recommendations, and viewing tips, stop by the Visitors Center for the Haines Wildlife Viewing Guide or Click here for an on-line, printable version. You may also visit the state's Wildlife Conservation page for wildlife viewing throughout Alaska and a Wildlife Checklist.

Bear Viewing and Chilkoot River

Photo Courtesy of Bart Henderson/Chilkat Guides

Nothing provides a thrill quite like seeing bears in the wild. Haines is home to both black and brown bears. Although bears can be seen virtually anywhere in the Chilkat Valley, certain areas are becoming well-known for optimal bear viewing opportunities. The Chilkoot River flows from Chilkoot Lake into Lutak Inlet and is one of the most easily reached bear viewing spots in Southeast Alaska from mid-June to October.

To minimize effects on wildlife habitat and make your bear viewing experiences safe and enjoyable for you, the bears, and all wildlife, stop by the visitor center for a Wildlife Viewing Guide and a check-list for Bear Safety. You may also visit the Alaska Fish and Game Wildlife Viewing site.

Birding

Over 260 species of birds pass through the Chilkat Valley at one time or another during the year. You can "wing it' on your own for birding in Haines but many tours optimize bird viewing opportunities with guides knowledgeable about the many species in our area. Click on Birds of the Chilkat Valley Checklist for an on-line, printable version or stop by the Haines Visitors Center. For birding information in Haines and statewide, check out the state program Wings Over Alaska.

Gathering of Eagles

Haines is known as "The Valley of the Eagles." Year-round resident eagles total approximately 400 but the population swells to over 3,500 in the autumn months of October through December when a late run of chum salmon in the Chilkat River provides a feast for these majestic raptors. This natural phenomenon is highlighted each November with the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival featuring guided eagle viewing, educational tours, programs, and photo workshops for all ages. The American Bald Eagle Foundation is the perfect place to learn more about our national icon along with all the other wildlife that reside in the valley.

Moose

Photo courtesy of Bart Henderson/Chilkat Guides

Moose are another highlight for the wildlife viewing in the Haines area. Moose can be seen anywhere in the valley, sometimes even in downtown! Moose are the largest member of the deer family.  A full grown bull can measure 7 feet at the shoulder.  Twin calfs are common and triplets have even been spotted in the wild. 

 

It's very important to remember the Moose are wild animals and tend to be even more dangerous than bears.  Moose will most likely charge if felt threatened particularlay if protecting a calf.  See the tips for Safety Around Moose on the Alaska Fish and Game Wildlife Conservation web page for wildlife viewing.