PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS
Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!
Summer Trips To Alaska
Grizzlies & Glaciers Tour
Winter Trips To Alaska
See The Northern Lights
Summer Trips To Alaska
Denali Discovery Adventure
Where To See Bears Near Anchorage
If you are planning to go bear watching in Alaska, one of the best places to start your adventure is in Anchorage. This incredible city is located in Southcentral Alaska and sits at the foot of the Chugach Mountain range, between Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm. From moose that wander throughout the city to bears fishing in local waterways during the annual salmon runs, Anchorage is one of the best wildlife viewing destinations in the state. If you want to know where to see bears in Anchorage during your visit, keep reading to learn more!
Get Ready For A Bear-y Good Time in Anchorage
Alaska is the only U.S. state with three species of bear – black, brown, and polar. Anchorage is one of the few places where you can easily see all three species. The city and its surrounding environment are part of the natural habitat for black and brown bears, and the Alaska Zoo is home to several polar bears. If you’re short on time, one of the best places to go bear watching in Anchorage is the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. This facility guarantees each visitor a bear sighting during their visit!
Fun Facts About Alaska’s Bears
- There are 8 species of bears in the world. Three of these species live in Alaska!
- Bears can eat up to 15 percent of their body weight in one day.
- Bears gain up to 200 pounds between spring and fall, in preparation for their winter hibernation.
- An estimated 30,000 brown bears live in Alaska – that’s 98 percent of all the brown bears in America!
- Approximately 100,000 black bears live in Alaska.
Bear Viewing Hot Spots In Anchorage
If bear watching is on your Alaska vacation bucket list, you’re in luck! Popular bear viewing spots like Brook Falls, Lake Clark National Park, Redoubt Bay, and McNeil River are just a short float plane ride from the city. Anchorage has many tour operators who can fly you into these locations for half a day, a full day, or even longer. The trick, however, is picking the time of year that bears will be at a particular location. But don’t worry – if you know when and where the salmon runs take place, you will know where to see bears near Anchorage.
Follow The Fish For Seasonal Bear Sightings!
Seasoned tour operators will tell you that the best bear viewing depends on the time of year you visit a particular location. These times often coincide with salmon runs but are not the only reason bears will gather in a particular area. But for planning purposes, it’s a good idea to pick a spot to visit where the fish are running during your vacation.
- Chinitna Bay – from mid-May to mid-September, a visit to this location will yield a bear sighting! Bears are very active during this time, moving between the area’s rich food sources. Bears in this area feed on beach grasses, salmon, and shellfish as spring turns into summer and then into fall. Tour operators offer day tours or overnight stays, depending on the amount of time you want to spend bear watching!
- Redoubt Bay – located just outside Lake Clark National Park, this location sees the best bear activity from June through August. One of the most popular ways to see bears in this area is to watch them search for food on shore from the safety of a covered boat in the bay! Expert guides will offer insight into bear behavior as well as information about the bear’s habitat.
- Brooks Falls – Katmai National Park is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, places to see bears in Alaska. The height of the salmon run is in July, so that is the best time to visit the park to see bears. Visits are self-guided, with park service rangers on site to answer questions and keep things running smoothly.
- Crescent Lake – this bear-watching location is also located in Lake Clark National Park. From late July through the end of September, visitors can watch bears from an open boat as they feed, frolic, and nap on the shoreline.
- McNeil River State Game Sanctuary – this river is home to some epic salmon runs from June through August, which in turn attracts a large population of bears each year. However, the area is strictly controlled and only accessible by guided tour – if you are lucky enough to win a permit in the annual lottery.
The Best Bear Viewing Near Anchorage
The top two bear viewing locations in Anchorage, if not Alaska, are just a floatplane ride away from the city. Katmai National Park and Preserve is home to more than 2,000 brown bears – one of the largest brown bear populations in the world. If you ask a local where to see bears near Anchorage, it’s very possible they will say, Brooks Falls! Brook Falls is located within Katmai National Park and is synonymous with bear viewing. At Brooks Falls, brown bears gather to feed on sockeye salmon in the Brooks River. The location is equipped with several wildlife viewing platforms along the river that keep visitors safe while minimizing the impact on the bears and their surroundings. And, if you want to stay longer than a day, accommodations are available at Brooks Lodge. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to spot bears from your window.
Although Lake Clark National Park is easy to access by plane, it feels remote. Visitors can access the park from Anchorage’s Lake Hood. Day trips to Redoubt Bay Lodge and Bear Mountain Lodge are very popular, but guided tours of Crescent Lake, Chinitna Bay, and Silver Salmon Creek draw thousands of visitors each year, too. In addition, visitors to Lake Clark National Park can enjoy hiking, kayaking, and rafting with a guided tour.
Epic Bear Adventures In Alaska
For an epic adventure, start your bear watching trip in Anchorage. It’s easy to find a tour operator to take you on a bear viewing tour – the challenge will be deciding which tour you want to take, where to see bears near Anchorage, and how many days you want to spend watching these amazing creatures in their natural habitat!