[Temporarily closed] Visit Gunsight Mountain, Mar 7-May 15
Due to health recommendations regarding COVID-19, as well as recommendations from groups like the Bird Banding Lab and North American Banding Council, HawkWatch International is temporarily suspending operations at five of our HawkWatch research sites for the 2020 season. Our full statement is available here.
This unique northern migration site, located 120 miles northeast of Anchorage, has been known as a good location to see migrating spring raptors since the 1970s. This valley migration site is best known for its large concentrations of the Harlan’s subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk, but good numbers of Golden Eagles, Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Bald Eagles, and Northern Goshawks can also be seen from March - May. The count site is easily accessed by any vehicle via a highway pullout on the Glenn Highway.
Come visit us at the site--everyone is welcome! 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.
Bird Field Guide (we have Jerry Liguori’s raptor guide books available at our store)
Seasonal clothes (it can be extremely cold in March and April with temperatures reaching Zero degrees Fahrenheit) o Long underwear, multiple warm layers (base layer, down jacket, winter pants, etc.), warm, thick gloves, winter hat, warm socks, winter boots, hand/feet warmers
When to Visit
We operate daily 9am-5pm, March 7-May 15. However, peak passage rates vary by species (see below). All activities are weather dependent and we do not conduct migration counts in inclement weather (heavy rain or snow). Click here to see a weather forecast for the count site.
Golden Eagles (Peak passage from March 14-April 5)
Red-tailed (Harlan’s) Hawks and Rough-legged Hawks (Peak passage from April 6-April 25)
Northern Harriers and Sharp-shinned Hawks (Peak passage from April 21-May 15)
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.