Visiting the Refuge
Travel to the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula, is logistically challenging, but definitely worth the effort! The scenery, wildlife, and wilderness experiences that the Refuge offers are truly unique - the experience of a lifetime! The following information will help you to plan a trip to the Refuge, and, as always, Refuge staff are available to answer your questions and discuss your travel preparations. Contact us anytime at the following:
Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 127
Cold Bay, Alaska 99571
Phone: (907) 532-2445, Fax: (907) 532-2549
The Refuge is accessible via commercial aircraft on PenAir (http://www.penair.com) from Anchorage to Cold Bay (http://www.coldbay.org), or by marine ferry Alaska Marine Highway System (http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs); there is no road access from Anchorage. Once in Cold Bay, vehicle access to a small part of the Refuge is via a gravel road system. These primitive roads allow access to the shoreline of Izembek Lagoon, the shoreline of Cold Bay, Russell Creek, and the lower flanks of 6,600-foot Frosty Peak.
Maps and wildlife information are available at Refuge headquarters. There are no designated walking trails, but unimproved footpaths used by hunters and wildlife observers can be found on the Refuge.
The Southern Alaska Peninsula Caribou Herd is currently closed to both resident and nonresident hunting.
Five species of salmon, silver (coho); pink (humpback); sockeye (red); chum (dog); and chinook (king), fill the waters of the Refuge. Fishing opportunities for salmon are best from August through September. Depending upon the location and time of year, lucky anglers can also expect to harvest Dolly Varden and steelhead trout from Refuge streams. The annual Silver Salmon Derby is held in Cold Bay every year during the Labor Day weekend. As always, when fishing, be bear-aware. The large coastal brown bears are feeding on the same salmon you are trying to catch!
The same flocks of waterfowl and abundant bears that attract hunters also lure those who prefer to watch or photograph wildlife. Izembek allows such visitors to pursue their interests while enjoying the experience of a true wilderness adventure in an area of unsurpassed scenic beauty. Backpacking and remote camping can be spectacular. However, caution should always be used in regard to rapidly changing weather conditions. Even during the summer months, high winds and heavy rainstorms are common. The weather on the Southern Alaska Peninsula is well known as windy and changeable. While visiting you will be in bear habitat, so hike and camp accordingly.
From the pristine waters of Izembek's lakes and streams, to the looming cone of Shishaldin Volcano, to a horizon of barren, glacier shouldered mountains, the refuge offers the visiting photographer spectacular scenery as well as abundant wildlife. The sharp contrast between tidal wetlands and steep, mountainous terrain afford many photo opportunities. Wandering caribou, bears, and foxes can be photogenic additions to landscape images. Of course, visitors traveling through the Refuge during salmon season are advised to be aware of the possibility of close bear encounters. Use a long lens, rather than a risky approach, to get that prized bruin close-up.
Hours of Operation/Visitor's Fees
There are no visitor's fees charged anywhere on the Refuge. Refuge lands and waters are open to the public at all times. Located in Cold Bay, Alaska, the Refuge headquarters and mini-visitor center is open Monday-Friday during normal working hours.
Last updated: July 20, 2012