Wildlife Viewing in Prince William Sound
Prince William Sound boasts a truly incredible 3,800 miles of coastline, framed to the north and east by the imposing and dramatic Chugach Mountains, and to the west by the vast wilderness of the Kenai Peninsula.
While oil and fishing are a large part of the economy here, the true wealth of Prince William Sound is its wildlife. There is a remarkable abundance of life that calls the rainforest- and glacier-covered landscape home, with over 200 bird species, over 40 mammals, and plenty more creatures living beneath the waves.
Although a tough, wild landscape, the Sound is remarkably easy to get to, at least by Alaskan standards! You can take a round trip Alaskan cruise from Seattle to Anchorage, and from there a tunnel roadway through Whittier opens up this wonderful wilderness after only an hour’s drive.
So if you are planning a trip to this bleak, beautiful Alaskan spot, here is a selection of some of the most exciting bird and animal species you might be lucky enough to spot!
Both black bears and grizzlies can be found around Prince William Sound, with bear communities most commonly viewed in the Valdez area. While an incredibly exciting spot, bears can be dangerous so always remain ‘bear aware’! Give them space, be a noisy hiker, and keep a clean camp.
Humpback whales migrate south to warm waters during the cold winter months, but spend spring and summer in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Seeing one of the vast marine mammals in the flesh is a truly humbling and awe-inspiring experience, and they are one of the biggest highlights (literally!) of the Prince William Sound wildlife.
Killer whale pods are regular visitors to Valdez, and there are several communities of resident orcas as well. These deadly, beautiful creatures are best scene by boat tour, but can often be spotted from the shore as well.
One of the most common sights around Prince William Sound, moose are often found around Valdez, Robe Lake, or Thompson Pass, as well as on the Richardson Highway.
Alaska is one of the best places in the country to see the national bird of the United States – there are more bald eagles in the ‘Last Frontier’ than there are in any other state in America! Despite being rare almost everywhere else, these graceful, majestic birds are common around Prince William Sound!