Travelers from all over the world flock to Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve to see the untamed beauty of a land formed by fire and ice. From the deep valleys and lakes carved out of the ground by glaciers to the towering peaks of active volcanoes, this park is a true wonder of the natural world. But its rugged landscape isn’t the only draw for adventurous travelers. It’s the home of the great Alaskan grizzly bear, the second largest species of bear in the world. With gentle eyes and powerful claws, these majestic creatures can be both fierce and endearing. Every year, when they wake from their winter hibernation, they gather in groups near the rivers to catch wild salmon. This is the best time to see them safely up close and in person on our Glaciers & Grizzlies Adventure.
The Grizzly Bears of Katmai National Park
Grizzly bears are one of the largest predators in North America. They’re second in size only to the polar bear, standing up to 7-feet tall and weighing over 1000 pounds at their heaviest. And while you can find grizzlies living in Europe or Asia, they tend to be smaller in size compared to the ones that live in Katmai National Park. These bears have a reputation for being fierce, but they are not actually aggressive unless threatened. The safest way to see these creatures is to travel with an experienced guide. That’s why we only employ the best! You can still have the thrilling experience of seeing these giant grizzlies up-close without any of the danger.
The Salmon Run at Katmai National Park
You may have seen images of Alaskan salmon fighting against river currents and leaping up waterfalls, but it’s an entirely different experience to see a salmon run in person. Salmon are born in the gravel beds of rivers. Once they reach adulthood, they travel down the river and out into the ocean. After several years, they return to their birthplace in order to spawn, often swimming hundreds of miles upstream against rapid currents. And while watching thousands of fish leap up the rapids is an amazing sight, seeing the grizzly bears—normally solitary creatures—gather in groups along the rivers to catch them is even more amazing!
The Best Grizzly Bear Viewing Area in Alaska’s National Parks
The world-famous Brooks Lodge has been operating in Katmai National Park since 1950. It overlooks the Brooks River, the first place grizzly bears come into contact with salmon as they make their trek upriver. Throughout the summer, lodge guests can walk a short trail to a viewing area where they can see dozens of bears playing in the waterfalls and catching fish. Guests are safe at this distance as long as they stick with their friendly, local guides and follow all of the rules of bear country. Want to see this amazing sight? It can be a challenge if you travel alone since the Brooks Lodge is so popular it can be fully booked years in advance. Luckily, Gondwana Ecotours has reservations at the lodge so that there is always space for travelers who plan ahead to join our Glaciers & Grizzlies Adventure.
Seeing Alaskan grizzly bears in the wild may seem like an experience reserved only for National Park Rangers or experienced wildlife photographers. But everyone can see these giant grizzlies in their natural habitat safely and comfortably with our Glaciers & Grizzlies Adventure. It includes 8 days packed full of the quintessential summer Alaskan experiences. From hiking and glaciers to scenic kayaking and viewing wildlife like whales, eagles, and grizzlies, you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable adventure with Gondwana Ecotours!