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 Can You See Wildlife In Juneau, Alaska?
Juneau is Alaska’s capital city, but it is not the largest or the most accessible one in the state. Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of travelers make their way to Juneau each year, the city can only be reached by air or by sea – there are no roads connecting it to other parts of Alaska! Juneau is a popular destination for almost all Inside Passage cruises and is also a great jumping-off point for travelers seeking solo adventure within Southeast Alaska. One of the highlights of visiting Juneau, Alaska is wildlife - and the town has plenty of it.
Surrounded by water on one side and mountains on the other, Juneau is a nature lover’s paradise. The city and its surrounding environment are home to a wide variety of wildlife, which can be seen throughout the year. If you are visiting to see the wildlife in Juneau, Alaska, keep your eyes open for the following animals!
- Bald eagles: these majestic birds can be seen perched in trees just outside the city or flying overhead, and their distinctive calls can be heard far and wide. You can also spot the eagles nesting along the Mendenhall Glacier.
- Humpback whales: from May through September, visitors flock to Juneau to see humpback whales in the water surrounding the city. Boat tours allow the adventurous tourist to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures. If you’re lucky, you may even see a whale breach the water near your boat.
- Sea otters: no creature is more popular in Juneau, Alaska wildlife circles than the sea otter. These adorable creatures can be found near the city’s shoreline and water, floating on their backs or using rocks to crack open shellfish.
- Orcas: often referred to as killer whales, these powerful animals hunt in the waters just outside of Juneau and can often be spotted in large groups.
- Sea lions: the distinctive bark of the sea lion announces their presence long before you can see them. Sea lions can be seen lounging on rocks along the city’s shoreline, or swimming and playing in the harbor.
- Porpoises: small and playful, porpoises can be seen swimming in Juneau’s Gastineau Channel.
- Mountain goats: these sure-footed creatures live in the mountains outside of Juneau. You may need binoculars to spot them, but they are worth it! Known for their agility, they most often inhabit the high alpine regions.
- Black-tailed deer: known for their distinctive tail (black with a fuzzy white underside), these graceful animals can be seen grazing in the meadows and forests surrounding Juneau.
- Marmots: these large ground squirrels make their home near the Mendenhall Glacier. They are known for their loud, whistling calls and can be seen basking in the sun on rocky outcroppings on warm days.
With such a diverse ecosystem, Juneau is a great destination for wildlife viewing. Visitors can enjoy exploring the area to discover the native species that call it home. You may have noticed, however, that one animal is missing from the list above – bears! Juneau is home to two of the three bear species you can find in Alaska. But where is the best place to see bears in Juneau? Keep reading to find out more!
Top 3 Bear Viewing Locations In Juneau
Juneau is home to both black bears and brown (or grizzly) bears. These magnificent creatures can be seen foraging for food along local beaches or in the nearby forests. However, because bears are wild and can be unpredictable, visitors should always arrange bear-viewing expeditions through a guide who knows the area and is an expert in bear behavior. A list of the top three bear-viewing destinations near Juneau is below:
- Pack Creek – the Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area is located on Admirality Island, just 15 miles outside of Juneau by plane, and is home to the largest population of brown bears in North America. Most visitors to Pack Creek arrive on float planes from Juneau just for the day. Upon arrival, they are met by a ranger and then hike a mile-long trail to an observation tower from which they can watch brown bears feed on spawning salmon or foraging along the shoreline. If you are planning a trip to Pack Creek to see wildlife in Juneau, Alaska, you’re in luck! The island also boasts the world's greatest concentration of nesting bald eagles. More than 5,000 eagles live on Admiralty Island and average a nest every mile along the coastline of Seymour Canal. The island's bays are home to harbor seals, porpoises, and sea lions, while humpback whales can be spotted in nearby canals. A trip to Pack Creek to see bears is definitely worth your while, but you will have the added bonus of seeing other native wildlife as well.
- The Fortress of the Bears: located in Sitka, Alaska, this preserve focuses on providing protection and care to orphaned bears in an enriching, educational environment. Sitka is a short plane trip away from Juneau, so plan to spend an entire day at the preserve and in the nearby town. Many tour guides combine a day trip to the Fortress of the Bears with a kayak adventure near Windfall Island. Spend the morning exploring the area’s waters, then head to the main viewing tower to watch the preserve’s bears as they go about their day!
- Waterfall Creek: this relatively unknown, remote wilderness location, is on Chichagof Island near Juneau. It provides incredible brown bear viewing and is best visited during the peak of the area’s salmon run, in late July or early August. Adventurers will take a short floatplane ride from Juneau, walk along a rock shore, and make their way to a viewing location. Your guide will help you find the best spots for bear viewing and photography, to capture the bears as they engage in their natural behaviors – like chasing salmon in the creek!
These three locations are considered some of the best places to see bears in Juneau, but there are many more! An experienced tour operator and bear guide can help recommend the type of trip that best suits your group, and will help you make the most out of your time in bear country. Depending on where you go, you may even see bears mating, foraging, browsing, or fishing for salmon.
The Best Wildlife Viewing In Alaska
If you want to see animals in their natural habitat, wildlife viewing in Juneau, Alaska should be at the top of your bucket list. The city is a mecca for tourists, who flock to Juneau for outdoor adventures and wildlife viewing opportunities. From bears to whales, and mountain goats to bald eagles, the wildlife in Alaska is calling!