Bird Point, Turnagain Arm

Bird Point, Turnagain Arm

by | Aug 27, 2022

Bird Point is on the north shore of Turnagain Arm in Cook Inlet, 4 miles (6.5 km) southwest of the community of Bird Creek, and 7.5 miles (13 km) west of Girdwood, Alaska. The local name was first reported in 1898 by Captain Edwin Glenn during explorations for the U.S. Army. Bird Point is a good place to watch for tidal bores, and occasionally the intrepid surfers that ride the bore wave.

A tidal bore is a natural phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a single wave of water that travels up a river or narrow bay. The word “bore” is derived from the Old Norse word “bára”, meaning “wave” or “swell”. Bores occur in relatively few locations worldwide, usually in areas with a large tidal range, like Cook Inlet where the tidal range can exceed 30 feet (9 m), and where incoming tides are funneled into long, shallow, and gradually narrowing bays like Turnagain Arm. A tidal bore takes place during the flood tide and never during the ebb tide. A bore induces strong turbulent mixing that can create a loud roar. The tidal bore in Turnagain Arm can exceed velocities of 24 miles per hour (38 km/h) and depend on conditions, the bore can be up to 6 feet (1.8 m) high.

Bird Point is the location of a scenic overlook on the Indian to Girdwood Trail, a 13 mile (20 km) paved bike path locally known as the Bird to Gird Trail. The trail follows a section of the old highway that hugs the steep slopes of Turnagain Arm. This section is prone to winter avalanches which often closed the old road and eventually prompted officials to rebuild the highway a safer distance from snow and rock slides. The old road was repurposed as a bike path with stunning scenery and the possibility of encountering wildlife as well as the fickle weather of Alaska mountains. Read more here and here. Explore more of Bird Point here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2022 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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