Becharof National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Becharof National Wildlife Refuge


(907) 246-4250

Map Directions

Things To Do


Becharof National Wildlife Refuge is a land of contrasts. From its rugged coastline to the 4,835-foot summit of the Mt. Peulik volcano (the name is taken from an Alaska Native word meaning "smoking," or "smoking mountain"), it includes everything from tundra to braided, glacier-fed rivers to saw-toothed mountain ranges. But few would argue the assertion that the biological heart of the refuge is the lake that bears its name. Becharof Lake is huge at 35 miles long, 15 miles wide and as much as 600 feet deep, and is fed by two major rivers and numerous streams. The 300,000-acre lake serves as a nursery for the world's second largest run of sockeye salmon. It's estimated that Becharof Lake and its tributaries provide the Bristol Bay fishery alone with as many as six million adult salmon per year. When Becharof's salmon are spawning, they attract and feed one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in Alaska. Moose are also present on the refuge in moderate, and seemingly increasing, numbers. Caribou of the Northern Alaska Peninsula Herd migrate through, and winter upon, Becharof. Wolverine, fox, river otter and beaver round out the list of larger land animals; while harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters and whales are found offshore. Seabirds, as well as eagles and peregrine falcons, nest upon the refuge's coastal cliffs, and migratory waterfowl use the wetlands and coastal estuaries, both as nesting grounds and as staging areas on the way to and from their nest sites in the arctic.

The King Salmon Visitor Center is a great place to begin your visit to the refuge. The Center is located at the King Salmon Airport and is open year-round from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Visitor Center has an information/trip planning desk, exhibits and interactive programs, audio-visual room featuring wildlife films, and an outlet of the Alaska Geographic, a store offering educational books and numerous air/sea navigation charts and topographic maps`. Information about air charter services and fishing/hunting guides licensed to operate on public lands can be obtained at the Visitor Center.

Map of Becharof NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 57.968788, -156.390381



  • Boating

    Many boating opportunities are available, and the refuge itself is accessible by boat. Plan ahead and visit the King Salmon Visitor Center before heading out in order to plan accordingly.

  • Bird Watching

    Birds commonly seen include bald eagles, owls, falcons, ravens, ducks, geese, swans, seabirds, shorebirds, and passerines.

  • Fishing

    Follow Alaska and federal regulations. Sockeye Salmon is the most popular fish here.

  • Hiking

    There are no roads or maintained trails, so be careful and plan ahead when hiking the Refuge.

  • Hunting

    Follow Alaska regulations for hunting in the Refuge.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Becharof provides important habitat for many fish and wildlife species. The population includes brown bear, moose, caribou, wolf, wolverine, fox, river otter, and beaver; five species of Pacific salmon, Arctic grayling, dolly varden/char, rainbow and lake trout, northern pike, and burbot. Sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, and migratory whales use shores and offshore waters.


The weather on the Alaska Peninsula is characterized by cool temperatures, high winds, prolonged cloud cover and frequent precipitation. Severe storms can occur year-round, often with intense winds known as williwaws. Summer temperatures can range from 32° F to 80°F, with an average in the 50's. Precipitation varies with elevation and location. The Bristol Bay lowlands usually get less than 20 inches per year, while up to 160 inches fall on the Pacific coast. Most of the rain and fog occurs from July - October.



The refuge office is located approximately 1/8 mile across from the King Salmon Airport. Signs leading to the office complex are readily visible, and assistance can be obtained from the refuge visitor center which is adjacent to the airport terminal.


Regularly scheduled commercial flights are available between King Salmon and Anchorage.

Phone Numbers


(907) 246-4250