Just at the southern edge of Anchorage, where the Seward Highway meets Turnagain Arm, is a large expanse of open wetlands. A wooden walkway has been constructed that allows you to walk out into the marsh a ways, parallel to the highway. I've always liked the open feeling at the marsh and have spotted many different species of birds over the years. A few salmon spawn in the tidal creek and the walkway goes right over that spot. I've also seen bear and moose on the far edge of the marsh, but less as the Rabbit Creek hillside gets more developed.
A very easy drive from the city (proper), Potters Marsh is technically located about 10 miles outside of Anchorage, but if you’re driving out there, it feels much closer and doesn’t take any time at all to reach. You’ll see a sign for the marsh with a parking area. While I read you’re supposed to skip that and continue to the next turn off, I think this is a good place to start. Do NOT judge the place by the parking area which is stupidly located across the highway from a rifle range. All you hear is shooting and you may think this has to scare off the birds, but shortly after you make your way down the boardwalk, you realize you can’t hear it anymore. Depending upon the time of you, you may not see anything initially, but if you continue on down the raised walkway, even in the fall, you’ll see quite a variety. We haven’t gone in the winter yet, so I don’t know what’s there then, but the other seasons are great for birding. Also, look down and from late spring to early fall, you’ll see salmon (3 different kinds, 3 different spawning times). If you get back in your car and continue south, you’ll see another road that turns off to give you a different view of this marsh. Maybe you don’t think of Alaska having marshy areas, but they are around and you don’t really need to live the immediate Anchorage area to find them.
Picturesque marshland at the southeastern edge of Anchorage. Reportedly a great birding site. However, we visited in mid-day in offseason. Notice the specks on the hillsides behind the marsh--those are toney homes for Anchorage's elite.
During late spring to summer, lots of birds of various species will gather at Potter Marsh and this is a wonderful experience. There are built walkways for you to view the birds with the backdrop of the marsh and Chugach Mountains.
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