Secrets You Should Know About Ship Creek Salmon Viewing


The Ship Creek Salmon Viewing Platform is Anchorage’s newest hidden treasure that you won’t want to miss! In the middle of Anchorage, Alaska’s most populous city, this salmon viewing platform offers an incredible close-up view of spawning salmon. Ship creek salmon viewing is only open during the salmon spawning season – from May  to  October! During this time, you’ll see beautiful salmon swimming in the creek below. The salmon swim upstream to lay their eggs and we are all invited to witness their strenuous, dangerous journey.

If you want to see these magnificent creatures up close and personal, this is a must-do activity in Anchorage. Come across the creek from Bayview Park and walk 20 yards along a paved pathway (slightly uphill), and voila! The best views in town await you. A small gravel area for parking is also available for those who might be coming by car. And then what? Well, sit back and enjoy the show.

Secrets You Should Know About Ship Creek Salmon Viewing :

1. Shellfish.

This area used to be a major shellfish area, but the commercial fishery has been closed since the early 1960s. Shellfish were also a major food source for Native Alaskans. Because of this, preservation and restoration efforts have been made to this stunning site. That said, please be respectful of the shellfish in Ship Creek and not disturb them in any way! 

2. Trash Disposal.

There is a garbage can under one of the picnic tables on site (which is the only trash bin onsite). Don’t take any garbage from this area and bag your trash if you bring it back here with you. A special note about smoking: The City of Anchorage does not permit smoking in any public areas and this is one of them. In addition, there are no garbage cans at the parking lot – please bring your garbage back with you.

3. Pets.

Dogs on a leash are allowed on the site so long as they are under voice command when in the water. However, if you happen to have a pet that cannot be controlled or is aggressive towards people, please call ahead (907-364-7331). This area is also accessible by wheelchair.

4. Alcohol and Drugs.

Alcohol, illegal substances, and pets are prohibited on the site as per its policy. Smoking of any kind or use of illegal drugs are also prohibited – so please hit the road if you have these on you.

5. Location and Parking/Restrooms.

The Ship Creek Salmon Viewing Platform is located at 2770 Gambell St in Anchorage, Alaska (right off 15th Avenue). Best way to get here is to take the Ship Creek Bike Trail from downtown (which will take you in the back way). There is a parking lot at the site, but there are no public bathrooms at this location. The best nearby public facilities are found at  Mission Ridge Park  (to the east) and  Bayview Park  (to the west), both of which have restrooms and water fountains.

6. Accessibility.

The pathway to the viewing platform is paved and wide, making it easy for wheelchair access. There are several picnic tables available and seating is available on the grass alongside the creek itself. There is no fixed seating on the viewing platform itself.

7. Power/Lighting.

The pathway to the viewing platform has overhead lighting installed and it is generally very well-lit, making it easy to walk through at night. There is also a small light at one end of the viewing platform’s observation area (which can be easily seen above the water). If you want to see the fish and salmon better, we recommend bringing a flashlight or headlamp or maybe even a laser light! You’ll definitely want to bring a blanket and/or some chairs or other objects you can use to prop yourself up if necessary.

8. Wildlife!

Wildlife (including bears, moose, otters, and beavers) are often seen in this area – so keep your eyes open! In addition to that, Under the viewing platform itself is one of the major routes salmon use to swim upstream. There are large rocks in the creek that are used by salmon as resting sites throughout their journey.

9. Weather and Water Conditions.

As mentioned above, water temperature at this location varies but the general rule of thumb is that the water is cold enough to keep the salmon going! In addition, the current in Ship Creek is fast, making it difficult for young salmon to make their way upstream. Temperatures reach as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit due to this. During the hottest time of day, this is a great spot to take a dip – but please be aware of water temperature and pollution levels.

10. Safety and Advice.

This site is not a lifeguard area, but there are volunteer “lifeguards” on staff during salmon season who monitor the creek and make sure that visitors stay safe as well as informed about activity in the area. If you have any questions or concerns about safety or proper etiquette for fishing, please ask these volunteers! We recommend wearing close-toed shoes if you come here during the salmon run!


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