Bear Viewing in Alaska

Observe and photograph Brown (Grizzly) Bear and Black Bear up close in the Alaskan wilderness.

Watch for black and brown bear throughout your trip. Along the shore line, on the rocky slopes in glacial fjords and along salmon streams. Discovery’s summer cruising schedule also includes some bear viewing tours to Pack Creek Bear Observatory and Anan Creek Bear Observatory but often the most unforgettable bear encounters are in our favorite bays.

We want all of our guests to see a bear.

On Discovery’s wildlife cruises we anchor (most evenings) in a beautiful and pristine bay. The spectacular scenery and solitude are not the only things that draw us here …..

  • Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof Islands are home to some of the highest concentrations of Brown Bear in the world.
  • In spring time Brown Bear forage on sedges and grasses in meadows and along the shoreline.
  • During the summer months Alaska’s salmon species return in large numbers and bear are drawn to the river mouths and salmon spawning streams.
  • We will go on short hikes to look for bear and watch quietly as they fish and go about their daily routine.
  • Often the best way to see a bear is from the skiff or kayaks. On a small ship cruise we can mobilize our group quickly so that no one misses out on the opportunity to see a brown bear.

Pack Creek Bear Observatory is situated on Admiralty Island only a short distance from Juneau, Alaska.

A visit to Pack Creek is a personal experience for Captains’ Ben and John Swanson. In the early 1980’s they were befriended by a man named Stan Price who had built a float cabin in the estuary at Pack Creek in 1945. Shortly thereafter Mr Price found an orphaned female cub on the beach and raised her to adulthood. In turn there were a reported 82 bear born at Pack Creek in the period until his death in 1989 who became accustom to human presence.

Today this area is designated the ‘Stan Price Wildlife Sanctuary’ and is a popular place to view brown bear in their natural surroundings.

  • The Viewing Spit – A short walk along the beach leads to a Viewing Spit that overlooks the Pack Creek watershed and tidal estuary where Brown bear come to fish for salmon, dig clams, forage and play.
  • The Tower – A beautiful, mile long hike through Alaska’s Tongass National Forest of towering Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock emerges beside a salmon stream where visitors climb the ladder to a tower situated above the creek.

Bear viewing at Pack Creek Bear Observatory

During peak season entry to Pack Creek is limited to only 24 visitors per day.

Bear Viewing tours at Anan Creek Bear Observatory

  • Walk through lush temperate rainforest.

  • The observation platform is set above Anan Creek.

    Anan creek bear observatory near wrangell alaska
  • Bear emerge from the forest to fish in the stream.

  • And sometime walk right past the viewing platform.

  • Spawning salmon return to the stream in large numbers.

  • Black bear sow and cub.

  • This is the boardwalk we came up on!

Located in Bradfield Canal, some 30 miles southeast of Wrangell, Anan Creek supports one of the largest Pink Salmon runs in Southeast Alaska.

  • Although primarily a Black bear habitat the Anan Creek drainage is home to both resident Black bears and Brown bears and is one the few areas in North America where it is possible to see both species on the same stream. The Black bear will give way to his cousin the Brown bear without hesitation.
  • The Observatory – A 1/2 mile boardwalk and forest trail winds through lush temperate rainforest to a viewing platform perched above a waterfall. Bear often pass right beside the platform on their way to and from the stream.
  • A photo blind is set up beside the stream to give visitors an eye level perspective of bear catching fish.
  • Anan lagoon is also home to curious Harbor Seals and Bald Eagle congregate in large numbers around the estuary to share in natures bounty.

Logo - Fish & GameLogo - Forest ServiceDiscovery Journeys/All Aboard Yacht Charters operates small ship cruises and private yacht charters in Southeast Alaska under special use permits issued by the US Forest Service.