Visit Silver Salmon Creek

bear near a pond with mountains and forest in the background

NPS Photo / Kara Lewandowski


A trip to Silver Salmon Creek on Lake Clark's Cook Inlet coast offers outstanding bear viewing and sport fishing opportunities for visitors.

Getting to Silver Salmon Creek

By plane
Most visitors arrive by small plane that land on the beach or in the river. The fight from Homer, Kenai or Anchorage is less than an hour.

By Boat
It is also possible to travel across Cook Inlet in a boat, though the seas are often rough. Extreme tides make access to Silver Salmon Creek challenging for boats.

The Ranger Station is located at approximately 59° 58.810' N 152° 39.910W

Getting Around Silver Salmon Creek
Area lodges transport their guests in trailers towed by ATVs. Everyone else must travel between sites on foot. Be prepared to walk through sandy terrain a few hundred yards from the beach to the nearest sedge meadow or fishing spot. You may walk two or more miles back and forth between sites on the salt marsh and/or those in the tidal flats and creeks in search of bears or fish.

Things to Do at Silver Salmon Creek

Brown Bear Viewing
Silver Salmon Creek offers world class brown bear viewing. Brown bears can be seen grazing in the sedge meadows in late spring to mid summer, fishing in the creek during the salmon run in late summer, or digging for clams on the beach throughout the season.

Sport Fishing
Coho (silver) salmon and humpback (pink) salmon as well as Dolly Varden run up the creek in the late summer, providing ample excitement for adventurous anglers. Sport fishers must abide by all State of Alaska fishing regulations.

Bird Watching
Bears aren't the only wildlife that congregates in Silver Salmon Creek's rich estuary.

  • Shorebirds stage in the mud and sand flats during spring migration.
  • Dabbling ducks are present all summer, but peak during migration in April and September. Look for them at river mouths and mud flats.
  • Seabirds nest on rocky cliffs north of Silver Salmon Creek and also on nearby Chisik and Duck islands during the summer and can be seen foraging in the ocean.
  • Loons nest and forage in coastal freshwater ponds including nearby Silver Salmon Lakes.
  • Raptors nest and forage along the coast and rivers year round.
  • Songbirds nest and forage in the salt marshes and forests.

Camping, Backpacking, and Hiking
Travelers comfortable in bear country can follow a spectacular 25 mile hike from Silver Salmon Creek to Chinitna Bay. Though no formal campground exists, excellent camp sites abound.

Clam Digging
The tidal flats, while a bit rocky, are filled with razor, little neck, and butter clams. Keep in mind that all shell fish may be exposed to the algae that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poising (PSP). Eating contaminated shellfish can cause severe illness or death. This beach is not monitored for PSP. Anyone consuming shellfish gathered here does so at their own risk. Visitors wishing to fish or dig for clams must follow all State of Alaska fishing regulations. Please clean clams below the tide line and cast remains into the ocean.

Lodging and Guided Trips
Several licensed commercial outfitters specialize in day-long and overnight bear viewing and sport fishing trips to Silver Salmon Creek for travelers who prefer to visit bear country with a knowledgeable guide.

Brown bear attempts to open a bear resistant canister

Bears are curious at Silver Salmon Creek. You are responsible for your safety and for keeping bears wild.

NPS Photo / Kevyn Jalone

Staying Safe at Silver Salmon Creek

Bear Viewing Best Practices
Interactions between bears and people are different in a high density area like Silver Salmon Creek where people come with the intent to observe the bears than it is in the remainder of the park. Learn how to stay safe in this environment by becoming familiar with the bear viewing best practices prior to your trip to Silver Salmon Creek.

Fishing In Bear Country
While fishing can be exciting at Silver Salmon Creek, it offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities. You are responsible for your own safety and for keeping the bears wild. Become familiar with the responsibilities that come with fishing in bear country prior to your trip to Silver Salmon Creek.

In Addition to All Other Park Rules and Regulations
There are a few amenities and regulations at Silver Salmon Creek designed for your safety.

  • Off-Road vehicle trails - The beach is the only corridor formally approved for ORV use. ORVs damage wildlife habitat and discourage some wildlife from using the area. While other trails do exist, we politely discourage their use except where no other practical alternative is available.
  • Please park ORVs at the end of the beach trail adjacent to the creek crossing and access the creek on foot. It is disruptive to bears and other visitors to ride up to the edge and along the creek.
  • A Ranger Station is located on the south side of the creek, just off the trail from the south beach.
  • Eating is discouraged above the beach. This restriction is intended to minimize the risk of negative human/bear interactions and prevent bears from associating food with the bear viewing area. If you are staying at an area lodge, it is best to keep your food there.
  • Attend your food. If you have any food with you, you must keep it packed out of site and in your possession at all times or stored in an approved bear resistant food container.
  • Secure your fish in an approved bear-resistant container as soon as you catch it. They are available from the ranger station or your guide.
  • State of Alaska Fishing Regulations - Anglers are required to abide by all state of Alaska fishing regulations.

View Photos of Silver Salmon Creek


For More Information

Profile view of a brown bear walking.
Brown Bears
Why are the best bears viewing locations on the park's coast? Learn the differences between brown bears that live on the coast and the interior of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.
aerial photo of a salt marsh.

Coastal Salt Marshes
Salt Marshes are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, and are a prominent feature of Lake Clark National Park's Cook Inlet coastline where they provide important habitat for wildlife including both brown and black bears.

Man fly fishing in a river
Catch and Release Fishing - Proper catch and release fishing methods increase the chances of survival for the fish you choose not to keep.
simple illustration of a calendar with a dollar sign and pencil

Fees, Permits, and Reservations
The National Park Service does not charge fees or require permits or reservations for entrance to the park or for any recreational activities. Contact companies directly to learn prices for air taxis, lodges, guides, and equipment rental.

Did You Know?