Southwest Kenai Locations:

Beluga Lake

Notable Species

  • Moose
  • Muskrat
  • Trumpeter swan
  • Red-necked grebe
  • Wilson’s snipe
  • Shorebirds
  • Aleutian tern
  • Songbirds

The Homer Airport Critical Habitat Area covers 280 acres of the Beluga wetlands and forest rimming Beluga Lake and Kachemak Bay wetlands. A viewing platform overlooks the area, offering a good vantage to scan lake, marsh, black spruce and forest at once. More than 100 species of birds visit the vicinity during spring migration or nest in summer, including shorebirds, waterfowl and songbirds such as golden-crowned and ruby-crowned kinglets. Aleutian terns sometimes raise young in the Beluga wetlands along Kachemak Drive. Owls, northern harriers and bald eagles take wing over the lake. Chickadees, kinglets and sparrows can be seen in the brush and forest. Many moose use this area, which offers important winter habitat.


The extensive wetlands here are bounded by willows and black spruce. Beluga Lake is a lowland lake with resident fish and nesting waterfowl such as red-necked grebes and trumpeter swans. Drier sites transition to spruce forest.

Recreation Connection

The area is a popular with local residents for berry picking, hiking, skiing and wildlife viewing.

Viewing Tip

Visit the Beluga Wetlands Wildlife Viewing Platform early in the morning or late in the day. Bring a spotting scope to view birds on the lake from the platform.

Helpful Hints

You’ll find additional access points from which to view the wetlands on the north side (accessible by a public foot trail across Kachemak Heritage Land Trust lands) and from the airport access road off Kachemak Bay Drive on the south side of the airport.

Accessible Facilities

A 100-foot long viewing deck is wheelchair accessible.

Getting There

Take the Sterling Highway south through Homer, cross the outflow of Beluga Lake and turn east on FAA Drive. The Beluga Wetlands Wildlife Viewing Platform is on the left, just across from the Homer Airport passenger terminal.