PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS
Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!
Where Is The Best Place In Alaska To See Bears?
Alaska is the only U.S. state with three species of bear: black, brown, and polar! And Anchorage is one of the only places in Alaska where you can see all three. Anchorage is part of the natural range for black and brown bears, and the Alaska Zoo is home to several polar bears. If bear viewing is on your Alaskan bucket list, Anchorage bear tours may be the perfect adventure for you.
The Best Places To See Bears In Anchorage
In Anchorage, Alaska, bear viewing is one of the top tourist activities. Journey deep into bear territory with a wildlife-viewing charter to Brook Falls of Katmai National Park. Or, you can opt for a fly-in adventure from Anchorage to Denali National Park, Redoubt Bay, and McNeil River. But if you don’t want to travel far and prefer to stick close to Anchorage for bear-viewing opportunities, there’s good news – bears live in the nearby Chugach Mountains, too!
Anchorage’s Top 5 Bear Viewing Hot Spots
Chugach National Park is home to black and brown bears, while Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks are prime brown bear viewing destinations. The parks are famous for views of bears fishing for salmon, snacking on sedges, or even digging for shellfish. Keep reading if you want to learn more about the most popular Anchorage, Alaska bear viewing locations.
Anchorage Area Bear Viewing Spot #1 – Chugach National Park
Chugach State Park trailheads are a 20-minute drive from downtown Anchorage. Both brown and black bears can be found in the park – just scan the subalpine mountain slopes in the spring and fall for them. An estimated 250 black bears live in the Anchorage area, including Chugach State Park. Approximately one-third of these bears spend at least part of the summer in or adjacent to residential areas in the Anchorage Bowl, Eagle River/Chugiak, or Girdwood. Black bears prefer forested habitats, including steam corridors, like those found in Chugach National Park. There are significantly fewer brown bears in the Anchorage/Girdwood area than black bears. Approximately 60 brown bears live in the Anchorage area, near the Chugach Mountains. Most brown bears avoid humans and human environments, but the confluence of California and Glacier Creek draws them out during the salmon spawning season. If you want to see bears near Anchorage, a DIY Anchorage bear viewing tour of Chugach National Park is perfect for you. Choose one of the many trailheads leading into the park, like Glen Alps or O’Malley Road – and get ready for adventure.
Anchorage Area Bear Viewing Spot #2 – Katmai National Park
Katmai National Park is home to more than 2,000 brown bears, who feast on sedges and shellfish along the coast and fish for salmon in the Brooks River during the annual salmon run. Anchorage bear tour charters from Anchorage are popular tourist attractions, with visitors flying in for a day at Brooks Falls. Brooks Falls is located near Brooks Camp on the Brooks River, where conveniently placed bear viewing platforms are available for guests to watch bears in their natural habitat. Every day, dozens of brown bears congregate at the falls along Brooks River to snap up salmon jumping upstream on the way to spawn. It’s no surprise that Brooks Falls is the most popular part of the park, drawing visitors on day excursions from May to September. The best time to visit Katmai National Park to see bears at Brooks Falls is between July and September,
Anchorage Area Bear Viewing Spot #3 – Lake Clark National Park
Located on the western edge of Cook Inlet, Lake Clark National Park is an easy flight from Anchorage, Alaska for bear viewing. Although the park is easily accessible by float plane, it gives visitors a taste of Alaska’s remote wilderness! Lake Clark National Park is widely considered to have some of the most legendary Anchorage bear viewing opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts in Alaska. The salmon runs in Crescent Lake, Chinitna Bay, and Silver Salmon Creek draw brown bears and bear watchers alike. Opt for a day trip or multi-day trip, and stay at Redoubt Bay Lodge or Bear Mountain Lodge for a truly unique Alaskan bear-watching adventure.
Anchorage Area Bear Viewing Spot #4 – The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC)
The AWCC is located in Portage Valley, deep in the heart of the Chugach Mountain Range on the Turnagain Arm Inlet. Visitors can reach this non-profit sanctuary by taking the Seward Highway from Anchorage. AWCC is dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education, research, and specialized animal care. The center takes in orphaned and injured animals year-round and provides them with homes for the duration of their lives. Resident animals have more than 200 acres of spacious habitat to roam and for visitors to explore. If you are interested in this Anchorage bear tour, take a self-guided walk around the sanctuary’s scenic 1.5-mile trail to learn all about the resident wildlife – including the bears!
Anchorage Area Bear Viewing Spot #5 – The Alaska Zoo
For guaranteed Anchorage bear viewing in Alaska, stop at the Alaska Zoo. The zoo is the only zoo in Alaska and provides homes for orphaned and injured Arctic and sub-arctic species and cold climate animals from other zoos. If you visit the Alaska Zoo, you will see brown bears, eagles, Amur tigers, polar bears, wolves, moose, harbor seals, and more. The zoo is located 15 minutes south of downtown Anchorage in the foothills of the beautiful Chugach Mountains and has natural trails winding through 20 acres of wooded grounds and a creek running through the back of the property.
Anchorage is an amazing place to start your Anchorage adventure. There is something for everyone, from museums and cultural sights to epic outdoor adventures. Get started planning your trip today – but don’t forget to include Anchorage bear tours on your list of must-do items.