Southwest Alaska - The Final Frontier
Encompassing the most maritime terrain of all of Alaska’s regions, the Southwest region has the warmest climate of any in Alaska. Its varied landscape begins with a fiery ring of volcanoes in the Northeast, sweeps down into the rich fishing waters of the Kodiak Island Archipelago and finishes in a sweeping trail of Aleutian Islands, 1,000 miles into the Bearing Sea.
Brown bear dine on salmon while prancing through cliff-lined rivers are thousands of caribou, wolves, and moose. Offshore waters harbor sea otters, seals, sea lions, and migrating whales and the coastal marshes serve as natural estuaries for migrating birds like ducks and geese. Steeped in mesmerizing natural beauty, the Southwest region of Alaska is truly the final frontier. Accessible only by air, rail or sea, people visit the Southwest to take in its unfettered natural beauty and explore its tiny seaside fishing towns.
Caribou in Alaska
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Top Things to Do
Preserving Kodiak Islands Cultural Past
The Baranov Museum and the Alutiiq Museum, both on Kodiak Island stand to preserve the history of Alaska’s coastal islands in the Southwest. The Baranov Museum showcases the natural, cultural and artistic heritage of Kodiak Island through a collection of native cultural tools and over 500 artworks depicting life on the seafaring island. The Alutiiq Museum focuses on preserving Alutiiq (Alaskan Native) culture through archeological research. Collections feature natural history through photographs, sound recordings, and archeological discoveries.
Tours of the Aleutians- Nature’s Finest Islands
There are a number of boat tours that travel throughout the Aleutian Islands and the Kodiak Island Archipelago. Spanning days and stopping for an overnight or sometimes just hours, they allow you to experience the breathtaking splendor of nature’s finest islands first hand. Marvel at the splendor of unblemished nature and the overwhelming abundance of wildlife. Take a day trip to spot a whale or watch fishing boats dock in Dutch Harbor, the setting of the real-life TV drama, ‘The Deadliest Catch’.
Katmai National Park- Best for Seeing Brown Bear
Katmai National Park & Preserve is one of the best spots for viewing brown bear in the state. Home to Brooks falls, in the middle of the park on a private estate, the falls lead to rivers with towering viewing platforms so you can watch the bears gather in numbers during salmon runs. This park is so remote that it is only accessible by plane- so prepare to see unforgettable vistas from the air.
Alaska’s Southwest Wildlife Refuges
The Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of hovering natural volcanoes, pristine streams and rugged coastlines. Brown bear and up to 7,000 caribou of the Northern Alaska Peninsula Herd can be found here.
For a slightly different version of the brown bear, visit Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge on Kodiak Island. There you might find the Kodiak bear, a sub-species of the brown bear. Known to exceed 800 lbs., it is the largest land carnivore in the world.