How you get there?
Located near the town of Haines, this State Park is accessible by road and is only a 15-minute ride from town.
Sometime in July brown bears show up at the Chilkoot River, which is a mile-long stretch of water connecting Chilkoot Lake to the saltwater fjords. Juvenile brown bears and brown bear mothers with cubs feed along the river. They can be seen during the day, but are more common in the evening. You can spot between one and five bears along this stretch of river, which is filled with pink and sockeye salmon between July and early September.
This place gets the crowds. It’s on the road and easily accessed. It’s visited by tour buses carrying cruise passengers, independent travelers, Canadian fishermen and locals. It’s a scene! You’ll see fishermen trying to reel in their catch before a brown bear gets too close, crazy tourists snapping cell-phone photos way too close to a bear and the road will be clogged with RVs, cars and tour buses. The State of Alaska and the city of Haines are looking at how to better regulate it, but for now it’s a free-for-all. That being said, if you spot a bear at the estuary, a little away from the road, or visit early in the morning, you may beat the crowds and have a prime bear viewing experience. Regardless, because of the road access, it’s a very easy and cheap place to spot bears, but not a wilderness experience. There’s also a campground along the lake, if you want to spend the night here.
July 15-Aug 28