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by Klondike Kid
AOJ Wildlife

Beluga Whale Viewing Locations

These small white whales are found in the Cook Inlet waters during the spring, summer and fall as they feed on the various fish runs exiting or entering the river systems. Their diet consists mainly of herring, hooligan, migrating salmon smolts and adult salmon returning to spawn.

Driving down from Anchorage, it is possible to spot beluga whales feeding in the muddy waters of Turnagain Arm during high tide. Beluga Point is a favorite viewing location providing ample parking spaces.

Beginning in early May belugas arrive to feed around the mouth of the Kenai River. Their primary foods are the young salmon leaving the river for their life cycle at sea and the hooligan (a smelt) that are entering the river to spawn. The whales often travel five miles up the river feeding during the incoming high tides.

The best viewing is always on the incoming tide when the river gets deep enough for the whales to feed. Drive down to the Kenai Beach and watch the river mouth by the Coast Guard light tower. Back in town there are a couple parking areas on the bluff where you can look straight down on them as they work their way upstream. The Kenai City Dock has plenty of parking and whales will surface as close as 25 feet from the end of the dock on occasion. At the Warren Ames Memorial Bridge crossing, a parking lot is provided for viewing the Kenai Flats wetlands and belugas can often be seen downstream from this location.

Another area that affords the nature lover a view of beluga whales is along the beach at Captain Cook State Park. This park is located at the end of the North Kenai Road. These mammals will travel close to shore as they follow and feed on the migrating herring, hooligan and salmon heading up Cook Inlet. The park area also provides day use and camping areas as well as opportunities to view many other birds and wildlife found in the area.

Beluga Whale Location Map
Beluga Whale Watching Location Map

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