Surprise Cove State Marine Park

Quick Facts

Surprise Cove State Marine Park


(907) 262-5581

Map Directions

Things To Do


Surprise Cove State Marine Park is located on the western side of the mouth of Cochrane Bay. There are many recreational opportunities and it is one of the most popular anchorages. The park includes forested uplands and two large lakes draining into Surprise Cove. The uplands and muskeg throughout the park provide good exploratory hiking. Abundant tide pool life can be found at Point Cochrane during minus tides. There are about seven camping sites on various terrains. The two bights off the center of the cove provide excellent anchorages, protected from most storms. A less used anchorage is located in the bight behind the islands in the south part of the cove. The best passage is to go behind the big island clockwise staying center channel. There are no protected anchorages or campsites in the south arm of Surprise Cove. Weekends draw the most use, with eight or more boats in the cove while often only one may be found mid-week.

Map of Surprise Cove State Marine Park (AK)

Latitude, Longitude: 60.764190, -148.389587



  • Boating

    Kayaking is the most popular form of boating at this park.

  • Camping

    There are about seven camping sites on various terrains. The most popular site, which is protected from weather and on flat slate pebbles, is located above the gravel beach just inside the north entrance to the cove. Larger groups with kayaks or small motorboats often use the site, which has room for approximately 12 tents. Three tent platforms nest against the hillside here to offer scenic views and dryer camping pads. A small bear-proof locker and latrine are in the center of this beach.

    The second largest site is above the exposed beach just northeast of Point Cochrane. There is room for five tents but is only usable in fair weather due to beach surf. The other sites within the cove are single tent sites. Two are on relatively dry land by the northern bight, or bend, in the coast, and the others are on wetlands above the beach and on the islands. One of the northern bight sites is located on moss in the trees just west of the stream, the other is on the small rock promontory 150 feet southeast of the stream. One of these island sites has part of an old tent platform. Water can be collected at streams that feed the cove.

  • Fishing

    Follow Alaska fishing guidelines.

  • Hiking

    A short trail to North Lake can be found starting at the head of the northern bight (around the point westward of the largest camping beach). A small orange triangle with a black "T" will mark the trail head next to a small creek.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic areas are undeveloped.

  • RVing

    There is no road access to this park, making RV'ing difficult.


Open year-round.



Surprise Cove is located south of Whittier on the western side of the mouth of Cochrane Bay. Access is by boat only.

Phone Numbers


(907) 262-5581