Gunsight Mountain HawkWatch, AK
Daily 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. Weather Permitting
About the Site
The Gunsight Mountain HawkWatch is a winter wonderland, offering sightings of raptors migrating across snow-covered mountains by day and northern lights by night. The HawkWatch is the northernmost count site in the world, located 120 miles northeast of Anchorage. It also boasts large concentrations of the Harlan’s subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk and many eagles.
Why are you counting raptors?
The Gunsight Mountain HawkWatch in southcentral Alaska is a new effort to monitor population trends of migratory raptors breeding in portions of southern and western Alaska. HawkWatch International initiated full-season standardized counts at Gunsight Mountain in spring 2016, however the area has been a well-known migration corridor since the 1970s.
Because raptors sit at the top of the food chain, they are more sensitive to environmental changes. This makes them excellent biological indicators of ecosystem health. Through migration counts at our network of sites, we’re able to keep a pulse on the health of raptor populations and our shared environment. In addition to conducting our own conservation work, we share our data with state and federal agencies to help guide their conservation efforts.
What will I see at the site?
How do I get to the site?
The count site is easily accessed by any vehicle via a highway pullout on the Glenn Highway.
From Anchorage, take Hwy 1 (Glenn Highway) towards Palmer and continue on Hwy 1 until you reach the milepost 120 pullout. The main count site (April 1 – May 15) is located at the milepost 120 pullout (GPS coordinates: 61.865761, -147.349418). This is roughly a 2-hour drive from Anchorage. From March 7 – March 31, the count site is located just one mile further east at the milepost 121 pullout (GPS coordinates: 61.881901, -147.336551). Both count sites are handicap accessible, however, restrooms are generally not available on site.
Where should I stay when I visit the site?
Camping near the count site is generally not advised due to cold temperatures and snow cover. However, lodging options are available within a 10-mile drive from the count site at Sheep Mountain Lodge and at Eureka Roadhouse. Lodging operations can vary by season, so it is highly advised you make a reservation inquiry before you travel to the count site.
Do I need to register before I visit?
We ask that ONLY organized groups of more than 6 individuals register before coming. You can request a timeslot here: https://form.jotform.com/HawkWatchInternational/schedule-your-migration-visit
The Site at a Glance
The Gunsight Mountain HawkWatch would not be possible without the support of our partners. Thank you for investing in long-term raptor research, education, and conservation.
Join our Community of Raptor Conservationists
Curious what the crew is up to? Have questions about the local weather or the recent flight? Join our community of raptor conservationists in the Friends of Gunsight Mountain Facebook Group!