Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary  

A Special Place in Bristol Bay

These seven islands in northern Bristol Bay are heavily used by walruses, sea lions and seals. Round Island, the biggest and best-known site, has hosted as many as 14,000 walruses at one time. It’s also a hot spot for nesting seabirds ­– nearly 250,000 will be there at peak season. 

Visitors can spend the day or camp on Round Island during the best viewing times, usually between May 1 and August 15, but a permit is required. Other parts of the sanctuary are open without a permit, including Black Rock, a great place to see harbor seals and cormorants.

Walrus Islands are a long way from Alaska’s popular visitor spots. The nearest large community is Dillingham, about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, and reaching the sanctuary from there requires chartering a boat or float plane. The waters of Bristol Bay are cold all summer, and rough weather – blowing rain, choppy seas, biting winds – is common. But if it were easier to reach, it wouldn’t be such a special place! Visit it now!

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