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Alaska Bear Viewing Tours

Alaska Bear Viewing Tours  (:51)

Strong, unbridled, and nomadic, bears are perhaps the ultimate symbol of the Alaskan wild. And seeing a Bear, if even for a fleeting moment, is a rare and magical experience. You may see bears in Denali National Park or elsewhere. But going bear viewing at Brooks River Falls, Wolverine Creek or Katmai National Park is an entirely different experience.

Go with one of our picks and you'll get a virtually guaranteed viewing of anywhere between 4 and 20 bears at once, much closer up than you would in Denali, and usually for hours at a time. And instead of just eating berries, bears on these trips will likely be fishing or splashing in the water. A fly-in trip is not cheap, but if seeing bears in Alaska is a must on your agenda, then one of these tours should be as well.

Skilled hunters and wild roamers, these creatures command our admiration, even as their sheer size and strength also evoke and stir our primal fear. More than 50,000 black bears and 35,000 brown bears range the state's untamed wilderness, lumbering through berry-covered hillsides and slapping at salmon-choked rivers. Unlike moose, you probably won't casually encounter bears on the road - you really have to go searching. One option is to visit Denali National Park, where your chances of seeing them, at least from a distance, improve. To see throngs of bears up close - belly - flopping into rivers, jaw-sparring for the best fishing grounds, or just napping in the sun - air - taxi operators can fly you to places with excellent viewing odds.

A 5- to 10-hour bear-viewing tour offers a unique insight into the creatures' culture - in fact, you may end up witnessing behaviors that even bear-viewing experts have never seen. Many bears have become so accustomed to human presence they tend to ignore visitors and carry on with their normal routines. And usually, getting to a bear-viewing spot is an experience in itself. You'll fly over glassy backcountry lakes, cragged mountain peaks, massive ice fields, pebble beaches, golden tundra, and a wealth of rugged wilderness.

You could also consider staying in a bear-viewing lodge. You can watch them more spontaneously, and have quiet times when all of the day bear watchers are gone. Plus, you're getting to stay out in the wilderness overnight.

Price Range

$250 walk-in tours, - $900 for remote fly-in

Best Time to Go

Mid-June to mid-August

Where to Go

Most bear-viewing tours leave out of these places:

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Homer View All

You'll fly over beaches and past volcanoes to more remote spots for bear viewing, along the Katmai Coast

Season: Jun 01 to Sep 10 $1000+ 8 hrs

See Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears in the wild on a float­plane trip to Kat­mai Nation­al Park. Vis­it Brooks Falls or join a guid­ed tour to oth­er remote loca­tions with­in the park. Both trips pro­vide 5 hours on the ground with the bears. Found­ed in 1991, Emer­ald Air Service’s mis­sion is to increase the under­stand­ing and appre­ci­a­tion of the unique ecosys­tem that sup­ports bears.

Season: May 24 to Aug 23 $4895+ per person 5 Days / 4 Nights

In the best way pos­si­ble. you’re out­num­bered by bears dur­ing your stay at this pri­vate fly-in wilder­ness camp. Fly by char­tered plane from Homer to Alas­ka Bear Camp on a 4‑night, 5‑day all-inclu­sive pack­age. This deluxe back­coun­try camp accom­mo­dates just 14 guests in some of the best bear habi­tat in the world. In con­trast to day trips cater­ing to dozens of vis­i­tors at a time, Bear Camp offers a rare and exclu­sive wilder­ness immersion.

Season: May 20 to Oct 31 $799 per person 4 - 8 hrs

For many Alaskan trav­el­ers, bears are the ulti­mate high­light. Pair a mag­nif­i­cent sight­ing with a gor­geous heli­copter flight­see­ing ride and you’ll have an unfor­get­table expe­ri­ence. On this unique tour from Homer, you’ll take a heli­copter ride out into one of Alaska’s gor­geous nation­al parks to wit­ness these spec­tac­u­lar crea­tures in the wild.

Season: About May 15 to Sep 15 $625+ 3 hrs -11 hrs

Spend sev­er­al hours or a full day watch­ing bears in the wild on a quin­tes­sen­tial Alaskan adven­ture with a fam­i­ly-run com­pa­ny. Start with a scenic flight out of Homer over Kachemak Bay and into Kat­mai or Lake Clark Nation­al Park. Once you land, your pilot/​guide will take you to an opti­mal spot to watch and pho­to­graph these mag­nif­i­cent crea­tures in their nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment, hunt­ing, play­ing, and relax­ing. Spend any­where from 1.5 to 9 hours on the  ...more

Season: Year Round $725 Bear Viewing, $245+ Flightseeing 45 min - 5 hrs

Watch bears dig­ging for clams, wan­der­ing the sedge grass, or nurs­ing their young – all in a short flight from Homer to Kat­mai or Lake Clark Nation­al Park. Smokey Bay’s bear tours last about five hours total — includ­ing flights and about three hours on the ground. On any giv­en day there will always be a morn­ing out­ing (leav­ing at 8 a.m. at the lat­est) and pos­si­bly one that leaves around 2 p.m.

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Kodiak View All

Bear viewing on Kodiak Island & the Katmai Coast

Season: June -  September $5,598+ 7 nights

Immerse your­self in a mul­ti-day Alaskan adven­ture that promis­es incred­i­ble views and jaw-drop­ping bear view­ing in Kat­mai Nation­al Park, along with a warm cama­raderie that only a small group expe­di­tion can cre­ate. Explore from your home base on the Island C, a research ves­sel that gets you close to the action while pro­vid­ing com­fort­able lodg­ing and deli­cious meals.

Season: Jul 21 to Jul 26 $5,500 per person 5 nights / 6 days

On this six-day, all-inclu­sive sum­mer­time expe­di­tion, you’ll head to gor­geous Kodi­ak Island with Dan M Lee and Jes­si­cal Hay­dahl, two pro­fes­sion­al pho­tog­ra­phers spe­cial­iz­ing in Alas­ka. Your small group tour includes two brown bear view­ing fly-outs and a marine wildlife tour. You’ll come away not only with bet­ter tech­ni­cal skills, but you’ll also learn how to think out­side the box in order to cap­ture the sto­ry behind the image, and how to document  ...more

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Fairbanks View All

View polar bears in the wild

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Ketchikan View All

Watch black bears fish for salmon

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Juneau View All

Very short flight leads you right into bear country

Season: May 15 to Sep 10 $849 per person 8 hrs

If you’ve dreamed of see­ing brown bears in the wild — in one of Alaska’s best spots for brown bear view­ing — as well as expe­ri­enc­ing flight­see­ing and kayak­ing, this trip is for you. You’ll fly from Juneau to a remote wilder­ness loca­tion, then kayak to Pack Creek Bear Sanc­tu­ary on Admi­ral­ty Island, home to more than 1,600 brown bears.

Season: May - September $739+ 4 - 7 hrs

Pack Creek Bear Tours offers ful­ly guid­ed adven­tures to Admi­ral­ty Island or Chichagof Island, each home to more than 1,500 brown bears! After a beau­ti­ful 20- or 25-minute float­plane ride, you’ll land on a remote beach. Take a short walk to the bear-view­ing area, where you can watch these mag­nif­i­cent crea­tures for hours in their nat­ur­al environment.

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Kenai / Soldotna View All

Natron Air, out of Soldotna, will take you into Lake Clark National Park. The advantage here is that you're closer to the park than other towns, so prices are often lower. You can also depart the area with Great Alaska Adventures to their remote Bear Camp, also in Lake Clark.

Season: May 25 to Sep 15 $450+ 2 to 3 hrs

Fly out of Sol­dot­na with Natron’s own­er and pilot, Tim. You’ll soar over the Cook Inlet towards Mt. Iliamna Vol­cano and land on a beach, right where the bears are. You’ll watch them play­ing and clam­ming and be close enough to take amaz­ing photos.

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Anchorage View All

You'll fly into Brooks Falls or Wolverine Creek, depending on month

Season: Jun 01 to Sep 30 $1045+ per person 6 - 12 hrs

View­ing brown bears in their nat­ur­al habi­tat is one of the most amaz­ing things you can do in Alas­ka. If it’s high on your list, book a flight-see­ing/ bear view­ing trip with Trail Ridge Air, know­ing that per­son­able pilots will take you to where bears splash and fish, and where vis­i­tors run out of words to describe their amazement.

Season: Jun 01 to Sep 18 $990 Day Trip | $1203+ all-inclusive packages Day trip & multi-day excursions

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  ...more

Season: May to Mid September $795+ 6 - 10 hrs

Take off by sea­plane for an all-day bear-view­ing expe­di­tion. Fly past glac­i­ers and vol­ca­noes to the brown-bear coun­try of south­west Alas­ka. Your Sea­plane Bear Safari will take you to Brooks Riv­er Falls in Kat­mai Nation­al Park, home of the world ’ s largest salmon run. You can also fly 70 miles south­west of Anchor­age to Lake Clark Wilder­ness Pre­serve for amaz­ing bear view­ing and lux­u­ri­ous accom­mo­da­tions at the Redoubt Bay Lodge. Rust’s, which has  ...more

Season: May 10th – Mid September $875+ 6.5 to 10 hrs

Hop aboard one of Regal Air’s planes depart­ing from Anchor­age and after a short, scenic flight you can be watch­ing enor­mous brown bears swat salmon from Alaska’s rush­ing waters. Tours vis­it one of two des­ti­na­tions: Lake Clark Nation­al Park or Brooks Falls in Kat­mai Nation­al Park.

Season: May 24 to Aug 23 $4895+ per person 5 Days / 4 Nights

In the best way pos­si­ble. you’re out­num­bered by bears dur­ing your stay at this pri­vate fly-in wilder­ness camp. Fly by char­tered plane from Homer to Alas­ka Bear Camp on a 4‑night, 5‑day all-inclu­sive pack­age. This deluxe back­coun­try camp accom­mo­dates just 14 guests in some of the best bear habi­tat in the world. In con­trast to day trips cater­ing to dozens of vis­i­tors at a time, Bear Camp offers a rare and exclu­sive wilder­ness immersion.

Season: May 22 to Sep 01 $795 per person 6-7 hrs

With Alas­ka Air Ser­vice you’ll fly from Anchor­age to Lake Clark Nation­al Park, where they’re a licensed park con­ces­sion­aire. On the 6- to 7‑hour expe­di­tion with an inti­mate group (there’s a 4‑to‑1 guest-to-guide ratio), you’ll start with a land­ing inside the park on a beach or in the grass­lands to watch bears. Then you’ll trav­el, unrushed, to oth­er spots in the park. Few oper­a­tors include mul­ti­ple loca­tions, but show­ing you as much of the park’s  ...more

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