Brown bear reflection during low tide in Lake Clark National Park.

Bear Viewing Tours

Travel by float plane to observe Alaska’s coastal brown bears in their natural habitat.

Cub balances on its mother's back while she crosses the water in Lake Clark National Park.

Bear Viewing Tours

Travel by float plane to observe Alaska’s coastal brown bears in their natural habitat.

Grizzly bathes in the waters of Katmai National Park.

Bear Viewing Tours

Travel by float plane to observe Alaska’s coastal brown bears in their natural habitat.

Mother bear walks along the water's edge with her two cubs.

Bear Viewing Tours

Travel by float plane to observe Alaska’s coastal brown bears in their natural habitat.

Alaska Bear Viewing Tours

For many visitors, seeing bears in the wild tops their Alaska bucket list. While Alaska is home to black, brown, and polar bears, it's the brown bear that generates most of the interest from visitors and residents alike. Often living in coastal areas of the state, brown bears grow to enormous sizes on a rich diet of salmon and can reach 1,500 pounds when fully grown. Brown bears must add several hundred pounds of fat during the months between May and October, so their prime activities are centered around feeding.

There are several ways to view bears while on a visit to Alaska, the most popular being a fly-in experience across Cook Inlet to places like McNeil River, Katmai National Park, Kodiak Island, or Lake Clark National Park. Many bear-viewing trips consist of day excursions from Anchorage, making it convenient for travelers.

The Chinitna Bay Bear Viewing Tour is a six-hour adventure from Anchorage's Lake Hood Seaplane Base, over scenic Cook Inlet, and past Mt. Redoubt. Your plane will land on the beach at Bear Mountain Lodge where you'll hop into modified buses for the short drive to viewing areas around Chinitna Bay. Here you can watch bears feed on clams, sedge grass, and fish among the waving meadow grasses and sandy wetlands.

Redoubt Bay is another excellent location to view coastal brown bears, this time from the shelter of a covered pontoon boat. This excursion also departs from Lake Hood and provides a roundtrip flight, viewing opportunities, a dedicated naturalist guide, and a homemade lunch served at Redoubt Bay Lodge, a rustic retreat for fishermen and bear enthusiasts.

The Lake Clark National Park full-day tour departs from Anchorage's Lake Hood in the morning and travels 70 minutes by air into the heart of this remote national park. Here you'll land on Crescent Lake near Redoubt Mountain Lodge for several hours of unrushed bear viewing by boat. Enjoy a hearty lunch before watching bears a bit more and flying back to Anchorage. This is an all-day experience in a very remote location. Reachable by a slightly longer flight is Katmai National Park, home to the famous Brooks Falls bears. A full-day Katmai trip includes a roundtrip floatplane flight and several self-guided hours observing nearby bears from the park's riverside viewing platforms.

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Each bear viewing tour has a season based on when salmon and other food sources are abundant at that location. Alaska Tour & Travel can help direct you to the best tour to take depending on when you will be in Alaska. Generally, Chinitna Bay runs June through August, Redoubt Bay runs June through mid-August, and the Lake Clark trip runs August through mid-September. Katmai is best visited in July.

If you don't have the time or budget for a fly-in opportunity to view bears, consider a trip to Denali National Park to observe grizzly bears (the term for inland brown bears) from the comfort of a Denali bus tour. Plan to spend at least two nights in the greater Denali Park area to have the best chance to see bears during your visit. Visit the Denali National Park Lodging page for accommodation options.

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Bear Viewing Tours