Hyder may not be well known to birders outside of Alaska, but to those interested in searching for Alaska’s rarest birds, like this Magnolia Warbler, it is a must-bird destination! Photo Steve Heinl.

Many of our Alaskan tours focus on our borders, the extremes, the edges of Alaska. These include many well known birding hot spots—Barrow, Adak, Gambell, Nome, the Pribilofs, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Alaskan birders, however, know that there is another “frontier” that receives far less press than the others, southeast Alaska. Tucked snugly into the eastern edge of Misty Fiords National Monument lies Hyder, a destination barely known to most birders. While Hyder is the southernmost town in Alaska with road access, it is mostly isolated from the rest of the state and is dependent on nearby Stewart, Canada for electricity, groceries, police, and schools. Here the clocks are unofficially set to the Pacific time zone, Canadian and US currency are accepted equally, and local phones use a British Columbia area code.

Hyder sits at the head of the 130 mile-long Portland Canal, the world’s second longest fiord. Because of its proximity to interior British Columbia, Hyder hosts a number of species that can be difficult to find elsewhere in Alaska. Regular species of special interest to Alaskan birders include Black Swift, American Crow, Warbling Vireo, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, American Redstart, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Western Tanager, and Chipping Sparrow. A long list of rarities has been found at Hyder over the years as well, including Veery, Willow and Dusky Flycatcher, Clay-colored Sparrow, and Black-throated Gray Warbler.

Hyder is also an excellent place to see both black and brown bears. While both species are more commonly seen in late summer and fall when the creeks are full of spawning pink and chum salmon, there is a good chance of them during our trip.

Tour Synopsis:

Spend five days searching for specialties and rarities in two of southeast Alaska’s best locations: Hyder and Ketchikan.

Day 0: Plan your travels to arrive in Ketchikan the day before the tour begins. Alaska Airlines has regular service to Ketchikan from Anchorage, Juneau, and Seattle. Accommodations in Ketchikan are not included.

Day 1: Our trip begins this morning in Ketchikan. You’ll be picked up at your hotel in Ketchikan and we’ll spend the morning birding Ketchikan. We’ll focus on southeast Alaskan specialties, including Band-tailed Pigeon. From Ketchikan, we’ll take an afternoon flight by float plane to Hyder. Accommodations at a local hotel.

Days 2-4: We’ll rise early each morning and bird town and its limited road system. We’ll likely take multiple trips across the border to Stewart, Canada for meals, groceries, etc. For this reason, it is imperative that you have a valid passport with you on the trip! Breakfasts and dinners will be at local restaurants. Lunches will be picnic-style in the field.

Day 5: We’ve chartered a mid-day flight back to Ketchikan. For those interested in flying out of Ketchikan this evening, we are scheduled to make it back to Ketchikan in time to catch the last flights to Anchorage, Juneau, and Seattle.

The tour cost includes round trip airfare from Ketchikan to Hyder; lodging in Hyder; ground transportation and guiding in Ketchikan and Hyder; picnic lunches in Hyder. Not included: travel to and from Ketchikan; lodging in Ketchikan; breakfasts and dinners.

Click here for a full photo gallery from this exciting destination.

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Signs welcome birders to the sleepy streets of downtown Hyder. Photo Steve Heinl.