Sitka Wildlife Viewing
Starrigavan Recreation Area

photo of Starrigavan Recreation Area wildlife A variety of habitats can be found at Starrigavan Recreation Area. Look for great blue herons, bald eagles, common mergansers, belted kingfishers, canvasbacks, mallards, buffleheads and many other birds along the Estuary Life Trail, a barrier-free ¼-mile boardwalk. Coho and pink salmon return to Starrigavan creek from July through September, attracting the occasional river otter or brown bear. Watch for Sitka black-tailed deer and brown bears on the ¾-mile Forest and Muskeg Trail. The walking guide has rich information about the plant life found along this trail. The Mosquito Cove Trail is a 1¼-mile loop with many stairs that leads through spruce-hemlock forest and along the shoreline.


Hiking through Starrigavan Recreation Area provides the opportunity to travel along muskeg, spruce-hemlock forest, estuary and marine habitats in a relatively small amount of time.


  • Brown Bear
  • Bufflehead
  • Coho (Silver) Salmon
  • Common Merganser
  • Eagles
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Kingfisher
  • Pink (Humpy) Salmon
  • River Otter
  • Sitka black-tailed deer


A printed self-guided walking tour is available at most of the trailheads and parking areas, and matches interpretive text to markers along both the Estuary Life Trail and the Forest and Muskeg Trail.


  • Hiking Trails
  • Interpretive Signs
  • Picnic Facilities
  • Restrooms
  • Wheelchair Accessible


Check with the Sitka Ranger District for a schedule of interpretive talks at the outdoor amphitheater on the Mosquito Cove trail in the summer. Starrigavan Recreation Area is within walking distance of the Alaska Marine Highway terminal and may be enjoyed during your ferry layover in Sitka.

Plan to spend at least: 2 hours - full day +

Best Months

█ Best Month

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • Best Month May
  • Best Month June
  • Best Month July
  • Best Month August
  • Best Month September
  • October
  • November
  • December


Starrigavan Recreation Area is ¾ of a mile beyond the ferry terminal at the end of Halibut Point Road.


USDA Forest Service, Sitka Ranger District - (907) 747-6671 or
Sitka Convention and Visitor's Bureau - (907) 747-5940 or

Additional Information

Living with Bears