Southeast Alaska Birding Trail Juneau

Airport Dike Trail (Mendenhall Wetlands)

One of the key migratory waterfowl and shorebird stopover locations of coastal Alaska

The Mendenhall Wetlands are most conveniently accessed via the Emergency Vehicle Access Road, also known locally as the Airport Dike Trail. This site is one of the most-visited birding sites in the Juneau area and the hotspot with the highest number of species observed with approximately 230 species reported. Part of the Mendenhall Wetland is a State Game Refuge and all of the wetlands is an Audubon Important Bird Area. The Mendenhall Wetlands complex has the third greatest acreage of vegetated tidal salt marsh of all estuaries in Southeast Alaska. It is widely acknowledged to be one of the key migratory waterfowl and shorebird stopover locations of coastal Alaska. One major river (Mendenhall) bisects the area and 14 freshwater streams flow into the wetland. The approximately 4500 acre area is bordered by coniferous forest, deciduous shrubland, salt water and development. The salt marsh, meadows and mud flats attract waterfowl, grassland birds, and shorebirds. The complex is important during the spring and fall as stopover site for all kinds of birds, including raptors, and remains an important habitat area over the summer for songbirds.


Parking is at the end of Radcliffe Road. There, the foot access starts on a well-developed and maintained, flat, dirt road.

Red Crossbill.
Red Crossbill. Photo: Ken Archer, APA 2015

Trail Information:

  • The EVAR accesses the Mendenhall Wetlands and game refuge with a wheelchair-accessible and well maintained trail that is approximately 1.5 miles each direction.
  • Alaska.Org: Airport Dike Trail

Birding Resources:

Bird Species Checklist

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