Alaska’s Southwest region includes the Aleutian Islands, the Yukon and Kuskokwim River deltas, and the Alaska Peninsula. This area is particularly famous among birders and brown bear wildlife photographers. Each year, dozens of rare bird species fly through Southwest Alaska on their migration route to summer in the Arctic. Large brown bears are consistently spotted at such locations as Brooks Falls, McNeil River and Lake Clark, drawing wildlife enthusiasts from around the world.
The Southwest region of Alaska is part of the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” and is dotted with volcanoes. The largest eruption in North America occurred at Novarupta Volcano in Katmai National Park in 1912. Mt. Redoubt has been recently active, as well as Mt. St. Augustine and Mt. Kasatochi.
The two national parks in Alaska’s Southwest are Lake Clark National Park and Katmai National Park. Both parks are renowned for fishing and bear viewing. Brooks Falls, located in Katmai National Park gives visitors the chance to see bears fishing for salmon at the top of a waterfall. Numerous other nationally and state protected lands keep much of Southwest Alaska wild. The communities in this area are predominantly Alaska Native villages with communities including the Aleut, Alutiiq, and Yupik tribes.
Fishing in Alaska, including crabbing as seen on the Deadliest Catch television show on the Discovery Channel, is a major industry in the region. Alaska fishing lodges, such as Zachar Bay Lodge, offer both an excellent opportunity to fish in Alaska’s wild waters, but also to see the abundant wildlife.
There are no roads connecting southwest Alaska to the rest of the state. While there is limited state ferry service and some cruise ships visit this region, the vast majority of visitors fly from Anchorage or Homer to their destination. There is scheduled air service to Dutch Harbor, Adak, Kodiak, King Salmon, and St. Paul on the Pribilof Islands. Private lodges, bear viewing areas, and remote fishing streams can only be accessed by float planes and bush planes.