What You Will See at the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge

Many first-time visitors to Alaska assume that our hiking grounds and parks feature immense glaciers with plenty of snow. While that may be true for parts of Alaska, almost every type of land feature is represented in the nation’s largest state! Nowhere is this more evident than at the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge. Discover everything you need to know about this gorgeous site!

If you’re looking for more beautiful hiking or birdwatching spots, just like the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, download our free Vacation Guide! We’ve listed our favorite Juneau hiking spots as well as adventure tour companies that will lead you on the trip of a lifetime! If you’re hoping to take a day trip to one of Alaska’s marvelous parks or glaciers, then take a look at our many specials and packages!

Background on the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge

The Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge was established in 1976 in response to the development slowly encroaching into the wetlands. Today, the refuge serves as a protected area for the local and migrant wildlife.

In total, the refuge is around 4,000 acres, stretching over nine miles along the shores of Gastineau Channel. This site features saltwater wetlands, through which the fresh water from local glacier’s flow. The importance of this site and others like it cannot be overstated, both because of the positive impact on the local wildlife and how it prevents further development in this area.

Visit the Mendenhall Wetlands

Most visitors come to the Mendenhall Wetlands to hike the grounds or to engage in some birdwatching. This refuge is a popular spot for native and migratory birds to come and rest or hunt, so it’s the perfect site for any avid birdwatchers. The most common species in the area is the Vancouver Canada goose, though you might spot the other five species of geese that call these wetlands (a temporary) home! Aside from the birds, you might spot a couple of deer, otters, hares, or porcupines. Off the shore, harbor seals, northern sea lions, and humpback whales have been spotted.

Though the wetlands are a preservation effort, there is hunting and fishing permitted on the grounds. If you plan on partaking, be sure to first acquire your permit. Waterfowl hunting is very popular, with hunters bagging more than 3,000 ducks annually. If you’re more of an angler, you’re in luck! Coho salmon is a common catch, as is cutthroat trout and sockeye salmon.

Stay at Silverbow Inn

No matter how you decide to explore the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, return to the cozy Silverbow Inn. Our modern boutique hotel features comfortable rooms and is conveniently located in downtown Juneau. You’ll be just steps away from the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in the area. Be sure to take a look at our many great amenities to get a sneak peek at what you’ll be able to look forward to during your stay.

Check out our availability and book today! We look forward to having you.