Grizzly bears feeding on salmon in Alaska

Why Do Grizzly Bears Feed on Salmon?

The Best National Parks in Alaska to see Grizzly Bears Feed on Salmon

bears catching salmon alaskaThere are certain sights in nature that are iconic; whales breaching the surface of the oceans, eagles soaring over mountains, and grizzly bears feeding on salmon. It may seem too good to be true that all of these sites can be seen in a single state — but Alaska has all of these wonders (and more!).

Why do grizzly bears feed on salmon?

Grizzly bears are a subspecies of North American Brown bears. They are omnivores; they’ll eat anything from berries to birds, and yes, salmon.¹ From June – September each year, the salmon swim upriver to get to their spawning sites. This is when grizzly bears gather to feed on them. This event is known as the salmon run and it offers incredible opportunities to see this spectacle for yourself, up close. Towards the beginning of the season, you may even see mother bears with their cubs, but if you travel towards the end of the season then grizzlies start preparing for hibernation, so you might miss them. But you might catch beautiful Fall Colors and less crowds.

grizzlies vacation trip
Bear season and the salmon run in Alaska lines up with the summer tourist season. If incredible activities like hiking, whale watching, kayaking, and deep-sea fishing sounds like your kind of summer, then visiting Alaska from June – September is the best time for you.

Where can I see grizzly bears feed on salmon in Alaska?

To witness grizzly bears feeding on salmon in Alaska, head to places like Katmai National Park and Preserve, particularly Brooks Falls, where grizzlies gather during the summer salmon run. Another option is Admiralty Island National Monument, known as the “Fortress of the Bears,” where brown bears roam the forests and streams in search of salmon. These locations offer incredible opportunities to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, engaging in their annual feeding frenzy.

For a truly immersive experience with grizzly bears in Alaska, consider joining a guided wildlife tour led by knowledgeable experts. These tours can provide valuable insights into bear behavior, ecology, and conservation efforts while ensuring a safe and respectful viewing experience for both visitors and the bears. Additionally, participating in a wildlife tour offers the chance to learn more about the unique ecosystems and landscapes that support these magnificent animals, adding depth to your wildlife-watching adventure in the Last Frontier.

Katmai National Park in King Salmon, Alaska

Katmai National Park is home to Brooks Lodge, the world famous site for viewing grizzly bears feeding on salmon. Guests at the lodge can walk to a viewing area where they see bears playing in the waterfall, and catching salmon.

On the Glaciers & Grizzlies Adventure tour with Gondwana Ecotours our travellers board a chartered flight to Katmai National Park and Brooks Falls for a day of bear viewing. The views from the plane are stunning, but the views of the bears are even better! We spend several hours watching the bears feed on salmon, play and mingle at Brooks Falls.

As you can imagine, this is a very popular experience! Brooks Lodge and Falls is never truly exclusive, there are always other guests and campers around, which is why we take our visitors to another spot as well. Following an exhilarating day at Brooks Falls, immersed in the natural habitat of grizzlies, our adventurers are in for an exclusive experience away from the hustle and bustle. Our expedition delves further into the untamed expanses of Katmai National Park, guiding guests off the conventional routes to uncover hidden treasures for a more intimate bear-watching encounter. Here, amid the serenity of nature, visitors can observe these majestic creatures in their element, uninterrupted by human interference. This secluded rendezvous fosters a profound connection with wildlife and a heightened admiration for the diverse ecosystem of Katmai.

Lake Clark National Park in Port Alsworth, Alaska

alaskan-brown-bear-ursus-horribilis-in-lake-clarBrooks Falls has lots of bears, but this makes it very popular with tourists. Lake Clark National Park is less well-known, but equally as loved for bear viewing. Lake Clark has less crowds and is a bit wilder than Brooks Lodge. Chinitna Bay is one of the most popular bear viewing spots in Lake Clark National Park. Rather than seeing grizzly bears feeding on salmon, you’ll see them digging for clams along the shore. It’s a different experience than Brooks Falls, and just as special.

It’s a tough decision, right? Well, fortunately, if you travel on the Glaciers & Grizzlies Adventure tour with Gondwana Ecotours on our we visit both locations. The day after visiting Brooks Falls, we fly to a remote beach in either Katmai or Lake Clark National Park (depending upon weather and bear activity) for a more remote, quieter bear viewing experience, with hardly anyone else around for many miles.

Online Bear Camera Viewing: Brooks Falls Bear Cam (Brooks Falls, Alaska)

If you can’t wait until you get there in person, the Brooks Falls Live Bear Cam could give you the bear-fix you’re craving. The Bear Cam has been running 24/7 each summer season since June 2012. It’s fixed in the perfect spot to see grizzly bears feeding on salmon because the waterfalls slow the salmon down and the hungry bears seize the opportunity. During the off-season, watching the highlights from the previous year’s footage is a great way to see some bears.

The Brooks Falls Bear Cam is an amazing way to get a taste for what you would see on a bear tour to Alaska, but it’s no substitute for the real thing! Gondwana Ecotours Glaciers & Grizzlies Adventure tour is an incredible way to see grizzly bears feeding on salmon, as well as seeing the world-famous Exit Glacier, taking a boat ride through the Kenai Fjords National Park and more. Find out how to book your adventure here!

Alaska adventure tours offer thrill-seekers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the Last Frontier’s untamed wilderness and rugged landscapes. From exhilarating glacier hikes to adrenaline-pumping wildlife safaris, these tours cater to every adventurer’s passion and curiosity. Immerse yourself in the heart of Alaska’s natural wonders, guided by experienced professionals who ensure an unforgettable and safe experience for all.

¹”Photo Arc: Grizzly Bear” National Geographic.

grizzlies vacation trip

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