Where and When to See Whales

The marine mammals you will see around The Whale Trail depend on where you are, what time of year it is, and how likely it is for that animal to be in those waters.

On this page, we’ve provided a guideline correlating marine mammals species with Whale Trail sites, and expected frequency of viewing – common, occasional, or rare.

Except for gray whales and orcas, there is little seasonality in the sightings frequency.

  • If an animal is commonly seen, like a harbor seal, it is commonly seen year round.
  • Some animals, like humpbacks or sea otters, are very rare in the inland waters of the Salish Sea, but occasionally or commonly seen at sites along the Pacific Coast.

These are only guidelines, and this is a work in progress. If you see an animal at a Whale Trail location that falls outside these guidelines, we’d love to hear about it!

Download as a pdf: Viewing Timeline

The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries