Seeing a bear in person is a rare and magical experience. After all, these animals are known for their immense size and strength! Alaska is home to three kinds of bears: black bears, brown/grizzly bears, and polar bears. They can be seen all over the state’s untamed wilderness, lumbering through berry-covered hillsides and wading in salmon-choked rivers. If bear viewing in Alaska is a dream of yours, read on to find out some important tips for your trip.
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Where to Go Bear Viewing in Alaska
1. Katmai National Park
Katmai is one of the premier brown bear viewing areas of the world. About 2,200 bears inhabit the park, congregating in food-rich spots like the Pacific Coast, the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, and Brooks River. The park is fly-in only, and if a guided trip is out of your price range, you can watch the animals via webcam.
2. Lake Clark National Preserve
Another great option for world-class bear viewing is Lake Clark National Park & Preserve. It’s located on the Cook Inlet coast where brown bears congregate in high numbers to feed. Explore Chinitna Bay, Crescent Lake, or Silver Salmon Creek for a true taste of bear country.
Several licensed outfitters specialize in bear viewing trips to Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks. Contact one of these knowledgeable guides for details:
- Alaska Bear Adventures
- Rust’s Flying Service
- Smokey Bay Air
- Alaska Ultimate Safaris
- Regal Air Bear Viewing
3. Denali National Park
Unlike the fly-in bear viewing spots mentioned above, you’re less likely to see bears up close in Denali National Park. However, it’s worth noting that both grizzly and black bears have been spotted here from Park Road. Your best chance to see bears lies between mile 20 and 60, which is accessible via shuttle or private bus.
Tips for Your Trip
Bear viewing is not a dangerous activity when done correctly. Just be sure to follow these safety tips and stick with your tour guide. If you encounter a bear without a guide, here are some things you can do to prevent an attack.
Be loud. Bears often react defensively when they are surprised. That’s why it’s best to warn them of your approach. Always sing or talk loudly when you are on a trail and look carefully when coming around a bend or turn.
Stand Your Ground. If a bear approaches you, stand your ground. Running may encourage the bear to chase you. Black bears can be scared off if you lift your arms and make yourself as large and menacing as possible. However, with a grizzly, you will either need to play dead or back away slowly without turning your back to the bear.
Bring bear spray. In the unlikely chance that a bear exhibits aggressive behavior and begins to charge, use bear spray. This non-lethal deterrent uses a fine cloud of Capsicum (pepper) to temporarily reduce a bear’s ability to breathe, see, and smell, giving you time to leave the area.
Come Home to Alaska Garden Gate B&B and Cottages
After an incredible adventure in bear country, come home to our Palmer bed and breakfast and unwind. Our inn is located in the scenic Mat-Su Valley where beautiful landscapes and wildlife abound. You can choose from a wide range of accommodations, including cottages, apartments, and cozy guest rooms. We even provide a delicious complimentary breakfast each morning.
To make your reservations, check our availability online or give us a call at (907) 746-2333. We look forward to having you!