Bear-viewing here isn’t secluded, but it’s far from overrun. Visitors fly in from Anchorage (55 min.) or Homer (40 min.) and land on the beach, then hike the edge of giant sedge meadows in search of ranging grizzlies. On a good day you can see up to 40 of these magnificent creatures—females with cubs, adolescents, and even large males.
Brown bears are plentiful and people are few at these meadows, beaches, and rivers that are a 1-hour flight from Homer, King Salmon, or Kodiak. The bears here have learned to catch salmon in ocean surf, which makes for a highly unique bear viewing situation! The salmon, caught in tidal rollers, are tossed around by waves, while the bears dive in the shallows, seizing dinner.
Two bear viewing lodges operate near Silver Salmon Creek in the remote Lake Clark National Park. Get here by bush airplane from Anchorage, Homer, or Kodiak. You may see other groups covering the large area on ATVs with trailers, but crowds are nonexistent. Bears here are typically dispersed, and you’ll probably travel quite a bit to spot different animals during the day.
Wheeled airplanes land on the beach or floatplanes will drop you near the beach when you arrive from Anchorage, Homer, or Kodiak. You’ll find brown bears here, and plenty of them—from a handful up to 20 at a time. Starting in May, they gather here to graze on the protein-rich sedge grasses near the ocean and later in the summer begin fishing when the salmon arrive.
This area, just 40-minutes by floatplane from Kodiak, was recently re-opened to the public, and restrictions are strong. There is a four-day minimum stay and an 6-person limit for those hoping to access the amazing 1.5 mile stretch of river connecting Karluk and O’Malley Lakes. The river fills with sockeye salmon, attracting brown bears from miles around.
This area, just 40-minutes by floatplane from Kodiak, was recently re-opened to the public, and restrictions are strong. There…
A scenic 45-minute floatplane ride from Kodiak brings you to Uyak Bay in the remote southwest of Kodiak Island. The bears here aren’t congregated by a falls or river, but rather are spread out in the bay and among several spawning streams. The number of bears depends on the tides, ranging from a handful of bears to as many as 20.
Perhaps the crown jewel of Alaska bear viewing, McNeil River has only 13 permits available each day and requires a floatplane trip from Anchorage or Homer. This location is spectacular because getting a permit means the possibility of seeing up to 70 bears at a time, gathered around the falls fishing. Nearly 150 bears frequent the area throughout the summer!
The brown bears here feed on razor clams on the beach, and are consistently spotted all summer. There are males, females with cubs and juveniles, and they roam from grazing on sedges and beaches to fishing for salmon in the rivers. It is common to see a handful, and not unheard of to see 12.
Take a short floatplane ride from Kodiak to the destination lake of the island's second-largest sockeye run. You'll hike 3/4 of a mile to a viewing area overlooking the falls and fish ladder. The bears know there’s a feast to be had, so during peak times, it’s normal to see five to ten bears roaming around at a time.
Take a short floatplane ride from Kodiak to the destination lake of the island's second-largest sockeye run.…
From this bridge on Kodiak's Chiniak Highway it's possible to see spawning salmon in August and September. There’s also potential to see brown bears here during the late summer as they feast on salmon, especially around dawn or dusk. The road on the south side of the bridge leads to Bell’s Flats.
Brooks Falls is the classic destination for Alaska Bear Viewing! It's just 1.5 hours from Anchorage by plane and an…