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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: Year Round $690 Bear Viewing, $185+ 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.

Season: About May 15 to Sep 15 $595+ 3 hrs - Multi-Day

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: Jun 01 to Sep 10 $950+ 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 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.


Fairbanks View All

View polar bears in the wild

Season: Aug 25 to Sep 25 $1,989

Explore one of the last fron­tiers – the Arc­tic – by land, sea and air in a one-day expe­di­tion that offers an excel­lent chance of see­ing polar bears play­ing, eat­ing and snooz­ing in the wild.


Anchorage View All

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

Season: Jun 01 to Aug 31 $2195+ All-inclusive, multi-day Adventures

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.  ...more

Season: Summer $875+ per person 6-9 hrs

Take off on a spec­tac­u­lar flight, look­ing down on the vast Alaskan tun­dra as you make your way to one of three bear-view­ing spots, depend­ing on where you’ll see the most bears. Wit­ness these icon­ic crea­tures play­ing or fish­ing as you take pic­tures and learn more about their habits and habitat.

Season: Jun 01 to Sep 18 $895 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 22 to Sep 01 $745 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

Season: Jun 01 to Sep 30 $895+ 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: 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 $795+ 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.


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: Jun 01 to Aug 31 $2195+ All-inclusive, multi-day Adventures

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.  ...more

Season: May 25 to Sep 15 $410+ 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.


Juneau View All

Very short flight leads you right into bear country

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.


Ketchikan View All

Watch black bears fish for salmon

Season: Jul 07 to Sep 30 $215 3.25 hours

Ketchikan is black bear coun­try, and just out­side town you can see them in their favorite sum­mer­time activ­i­ty – fish­ing for pro­tein-rich Alas­ka salmon. A walk­ing tour through the lush foliage of the Alas­ka Rain­for­est Sanc­tu­ary reveals prime salmon habi­tat, a cer­tain attrac­tion for hun­gry bears. Wait and watch for this apex species in action – pounc­ing on fish, teach­ing cubs, and chas­ing each oth­er to the feast­ing grounds.

Season: Mid-July - September $389 3 hours

The lush green Ton­gass Nation­al For­est stretch­es out below as you take a clas­sic Alaskan float­plane ride to Neets Bay, one of the best places in South­east Alas­ka to see black bears fish­ing for salmon. This 3‑hour trip packs in spec­tac­u­lar flight­see­ing, a nature walk, and the chance to watch bears in their nat­ur­al habitat.

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Kodiak View All

Bear viewing on Kodiak Island & the Katmai Coast

Season: Apr 01 to Dec 31 $160+ 1+ hrs

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.

Season: June -  August $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.

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