Wildlife abounds in Alaska, and you don’t have to venture far out of Anchorage to find it. At the southern end of town, there’s an excellent place to look for all sorts of critters — especially birds. And perhaps the most amazing thing is, it was created by accident.
Potter Marsh has only been around for about a century. Back in 1917, when crews with the Alaska Railway built an embankment for the rails, they cut-off a chunk of Turnagain Arm. That low-lying land, between the railway and Old Seward highway, turned into a marshy wetland, and quickly became a favorite spot for dozens of species of migrating birds (with most spending late spring, summer, and early fall here).
Birds aren’t all you’ll see. During my brief visit, I spotted a couple of muskrats, swimming around in the water below the boardwalk. Moose also hang out in the area, and during the spawning season, you may see salmon swimming upstream in Rabbit Creek, which flows under part of the boardwalk.
You can visit Potter Marsh by stopping alongside the Seward Highway at one of the turnouts. Better yet, turn off Highway 1 at the north end of the marsh, park at the large parking area, and then walk along the extensive network of boardwalks – more than 1,500 feet of them. No matter where you’re at, you’ll have great views of the surrounding mountains.
I made Potter Marsh the final stop on my first day in Anchorage. After flying into Anchorage the previous night, then sleeping just a few hours, I was exhausted. I wanted to stay at Potter Marsh until sunset, but I didn’t make it. As it turns out, in late May, the sun sets very slowly in Alaska.
Here are a few photos from my visit to Potter Marsh.
If you’re thinking of staying in the Anchorage area, use the yellow Booking.com search box on this page to find a hotel near Potter Marsh.
Check out the dash-cam video of the drive from Anchorage, south to Potter Marsh, and on to Alyeska: