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 Go Alaska Bear And Salmon Viewing?
Two of the most iconic species of animals can generally be found in the same area of Alaska and at the same time – that is, bear and salmon! Alaska bear and salmon viewing go hand in hand because the annual salmon run attracts the bears as they emerge from their winter hibernation. The salmon runs provide Alaska’s native bear species with the food they need to prepare for the coming cold season, but they also provide tourists with the opportunity to see both creatures in their native habitat.
If you are interested in seeing Alaska bear and salmon, read on for two prime viewing and tour locations!
Tour Location #1 – Silver Salmon Creek
Silver Salmon Creek is located along the western shores of Cook Inlet in south-central Alaska, just one hour (by small plane) from Anchorage. The creek is part of Lake Clark National Park and has been dubbed “one of the 10 great places for a modern-day safari” by USA Today. Silver Salmon Creek runs through prairie land and is loaded with Silver Salmon all summer long. This attracts brown bears to the region, making it a top destination for visitors who want to plan Alaska bear and salmon viewing adventures.
How to get to Silver Salmon Creek:
- Most visitors arrive by small bush plane and land along the creek’s shore for Silver Salmon Creek bear viewing excursions. Flights to this location depart from Homer, Kenai, or Anchorage and last less than an hour.
- Other visitors opt to travel across Cook Inlet in a boat, although the seas are often rough (so this method of transportation is not for those with weak stomachs). A one-way trip from Homer Harbor is about 50 miles, and from Anchor Point it is 30 miles. The trip can last two to four hours, depending on ocean conditions.
Where to stay at Silver Salmon Creek:
If you are traveling to Silver Salmon Creek for bear viewing, plan to stay at least seven days! The Silver Salmon Creek Lodge offers bear viewing in addition to opportunities to see other wildlife that is native to the area. The towering mountains near the lodge, along with the tidal marshes, streams, and salt-water bay offer visitors a true sense of the Alaska wilderness.
What you can see at Silver Salmon Creek:
Silver Salmon Creek is one of the premier sites for Alaska bear and salmon viewing. Visitors can spot coastal brown bears in their natural habitat foraging in the local meadows for sedge grasses, digging for razor clams at low tide, or chasing salmon during the annual summer salmon run. Unlike other bear viewing locations, Silver Salmon Creek Lodge does not provide visitors with viewing platforms to watch the resident bears; instead, the free-ranging omnivores wander in and out of the premise. This allows guests to see behaviors not commonly seen, including nursing, courting, and mating activities. The lodge also employs guides, who are always present and help visitors find the best location for Silver Salmon Creek bear viewing during their stay. These services are offered to guests from June through mid-September.
Tour Locations #2 – Katmai National Park and Preserve
Katmai National Park and Preserve is located on the northern Alaska Peninsula. The park is northwest of Kodiak Island and southwest of Homer, Alaska. The park’s landscape spans tundra, forests, lakes, and mountains and is home to the many brown bears that fish for salmon in Brooks Falls during the salmon run. The best time to take Katmai National Park tours for bear viewing is from late June until September. It’s likely you’ll see a large number of bears during this time period because the salmon run dates in Brooks falls are in late June, July, and September.
How To Get To Katmai National Park And Preserve:
- Katmai National Park (and Brooks Falls) are now accessible by water taxi service. The taxi runs from June 1 – September 25 and departs from King Salmon, Alaska. The water taxi leaves the dock every hour during tourist season, and returns from Brooks camp on the hour, too. The ride from the dock to Brooks Falls takes approximately 45 minutes.
- Guests can also travel to Brooks Fall by floatplane, which departs from both Anchorage and King Salmon. Many tour operators offer air service to Katmai National Park and are available to transport visitors to Brooks Lodge.
Where To Stay At Katmai National Park:
Brooks Lodge is the only full-service lodge in the park and is located within walking distance of Brooks Falls. The bear-friendly location also offers visitors access to superb fishing and the chance to watch the bears fish at the legendary Brooks Falls during the summer months. The first thing you have to do, however, after arriving in Katmai is to participate in the park’s required bear safety orientation. Park rangers will discuss bear behavior and go over the regulations that have been put in place to keep both bears and visitors safe! All Katmai National Park tours must undergo this safety orientation before being allowed access to the many bear-viewing platforms located along the Brooks River.
What you can see at Katmai National Park:
In the early summer, the salmon burst from the northern Pacific Ocean into the park waters. Sockeye salmon return from the ocean to the headwater gravel beds of their birth to spawn. The salmon arrive in mid-June, but by the end of July, more than a million fish may have moved from Bristol Bay into the Naknek system of lakes and waters. The salmon stop feeding once they enter the freshwater, and physiological changes during this period cause the distinctive red color, humped back, and elongated jaw to develop before they spawn.
Once the salmon enter the Brooks River, they swim upstream to Brooks Falls seeking their spawning ground. This attracts a plethora of bears all summer long, who demonstrate their fishing skills to captivated visitors who watch from the safety of the shoreline. The number of bears that congregate at this site attracts photographers, nature enthusiasts, and casual tourists all summer long on Katmai National Park Tours.
Alaska Bear And Salmon Viewing Trips
Whether you visit Silver Salmon Creek or Katmai National Park, there are many guided tours that will help you get the most out of your time in Alaska. As long as you follow the fish, you will be sure to find coastal brown bears for your wildlife viewing pleasure!