Brooks Lodge offers their own bear viewing tours which are less expensive than most, and give you more time at Katmai National Park to watch bears feasting on sockeye salmon from several viewing platforms. A commercial flight from Anchorage takes you to King Salmon where you'll switch to a small float plane for a quick 20-minute flight to Brooks Camp. After a brief safety orientation, you can watch bears from several viewing platforms, join the Park Service for an interpretive program, or try your luck at rainbow trout fishing.
From Kodiak Island to the Katmai coast, Kingfisher Aviation will customize each trip, making for an intensely personal experience. Their most popular excursion includes a flight to a bear-viewing hotspot, where you can see 8 to 10 bears swiping at salmon swimming upstream. Kingfisher also offers shorter scenic flightseeing tours without the bear-viewing stop.
Alaska bear camp is magically hidden in a rare Critical Bear Habitat in the wilderness of Lake Clark National Park. Instead of hundreds, only 16 privileged guests observe the wonder of up to 50 brown Bears living out their daily drama. Due to the beauty of the location and the exceptional bear population, the deluxe camp, with en suite biffies, beds with mattresses and food flown in daily, was used as a base camp for the Disney movie Bears. Transfers available from Anchorage or Great Alaska Adventure Lodge in Sterling.
Trygg Air offers day trips for walrus viewing from Anchorage as well as King Salmon, in Southwest Alaska. Fly to King Salmon commercially from Anchorage, and then meet Trygg Air for a 90-minute scenic journey along the west side of the Alaska Peninsula to Cape Seniavin to view these 4,000 pound animals that haul out on the beach. Trygg can also fly you out to two other iconic places: Brooks Falls, to see grizzly bears swatting at salmon; and the dramatic, ash-filled Valley of the Ten Thousand Smokes.
June to September
Whether you’re looking for world class bear-viewing or want to experience a breathtaking flightseeing tour, Kodiak-based Island Air Service can make it happen. Start your bear-viewing tour in Kodiak, and you’ll have a shorter flight time compared to leaving from Anchorage. Even if you’re just here for a day while your cruise ship is in port, it’s easy to fly out and witness the majesty of these impressive creatures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just over the bridge, this park offers easy beach walking and great photo opportunities of Kodiak. Snap shots of the waterfront, have a picnic, or enjoy quiet beaches. The park is forested, with excellent spruce groves that are silent havens for birds and squirrels. There’s excellent bird watching at the end of the trail. Walk the mossy earth and head over to the pebble More...
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…
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!
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.
One of the area’s more popular hikes (or drives, as there’s a road to the top), Pillar Mountain offers a moderate, 2.5-mile climb to an alpine summit overlooking town. Your heart, lungs, and legs may burn, but you’ll have great views and see excellent wildflowers, as most of the trail is above treeline. You’ll recognize the peak, since it dominates the sky More...
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.
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.…
It’s not often that a person can upstage Alaska’s dramatic scenery, but Richard Beneville, the owner…
Brooks Falls is the classic destination for Alaska Bear Viewing! It's just 1.5 hours from Anchorage by plane and an…