A delightful eight-mile coastal drive takes you to the exclusive Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, a private reserve located in the forested mountains at rustic Herring Cove. This pristine natural environment is home to bald eagles, black bears, seals, a variety of birds and other species attracted by the major salmon runs in the abundant marine estuary. In addition to wildlife viewing opportunities, this tour enables you to see and photograph live eagles up close, interact with reindeer, and observe a master native totem pole carver at work.
You will be greeted by your naturalist and guided along an improved trail through the heart of the dense forest, amongst tall stands of hemlock, spruce and Alaskan cedar. The forest floor is covered with mosses, wild flowers and a variety of berries. Stops will be made at strategically located viewing areas. Your guide will lead you to a protected open estuary, where you follow Eagle Creek along an elevated wooden boardwalk overlooking grassy wetlands. Major runs of salmon return to spawn here. Watch and listen to the symphony of bird activity in this spectacular setting. The walk lasts for approximately 60 minutes and covers almost one mile with stops.
During the spawning season (usually late July to early September) bears and seals feed on salmon in Eagle Creek and the likelihood of viewing these fascinating animals is good. Bald eagles and other birds wait for scraps in the estuary. Sitka black tail deer, minks, marten and wolves also frequent the area. Seasonal ecosystem changes result in varying levels of wildlife activity.
At the conclusion of the trail hike, you will have an opportunity to interact with and feed Alaskan reindeer, and see bald eagles up close at the Alaska Wildlife Foundation center as a raptor specialist explains the heritage and habitat of America’s national symbol. Following these great photographic opportunities, you will be guided through the historic Herring Bay Lumber Company sawmill, established by legendary pioneer Ben Fleenor. Observe a master native totem pole carver at work and receive a sample of aromatic local Alaskan cedar. Explore the interpretive displays and enjoy complimentary refreshments while browsing in the General Store.