Just south of Haines is Mud Bay, one of the best regions for wildlife viewing in Alaska. With a population of just 212 as of 2010 (which is an increase from 137 in 2000), it’s the perfect peninsula getaway. You’ll find it in the middle of Haines Borough on the Chilkat Peninsula, extending from the inlet to Seduction Point. Located at the Lynn Canal, Mud Bay makes up the southern tip of the peninsula and is an easy getaway.

At just 12.1 square miles, the small community includes 35 families. The Alaska Fish and Game Department notes a number of species near the Homer Spit Trail for your wildlife viewing fun. These include sea otters, harbor seals, steller sea lions, and greater scaups. You might also spot sea ducks, western sandpipers, semipalmated sandpipers, and whimbrels. Watch for arctic terns, gray-crowned rosy finches, sharp-tailed and rock sandpipers, and dunlins.

A Day Trip

Exploring the local areas and enjoying the remote beauty of the peninsula are part of the appeal of Haines. Birders especially love the rich variety of species that call the island home. With the density of fish in Mud Bay, particularly going into spring, over 100 species of birds flock to the area. During the winter months, a number of birds find food at the Mud Bay shoreline, especially the foraging rosy finches who seek out stored crab pots.

At high tide, rafts of ducks appear and you’ll see the rock sandpipers foraging. The ancient glacial moraine helped create a hearty habitat that includes miles of mud, sand and gravel beaches. The tide showcases hundreds of flat acres twice per day. Visit during high tide for the highest bird population, and dress for windy weather. Take the Sterling Highway south, past Homer, and park near the start of the spit at the viewing platform on Kachemak Drive.