Best time to travel to Alaska

Bear Watching in Alaska 2024

It’s impossible to imagine Alaska without wild bears. Come and see these strong animals in their natural habitat!

Best time: June–August

Bear Watching
Bear Watching
Bear Watching
Bear Watching
Bear Watching
Bear Watching

Perhaps, you’ve seen bears in zoos or circuses. But viewing them in their natural habitat is a completely different experience. These animals that live in the wild are strong, fast, smart and extremely beautiful. Brown bears are the most active in the summer, from June to August. During this period, ​they hunt, play and do lots of different things.

An especially interesting experience is to watch them catch salmon in rapid rivers. Though you can find bears almost everywhere in Alaska, the best spots to watch them are at Kenai National Park, Brooks River Falls, or Wolverine Creek. There are many tours that offer bear observing, for safety reasons it’s definitely better to make your discovery trip with an experienced guide.​

In Alaska, you can see not only brown bears but also black bears. A unique black bear subspecies reside in the area are known as blue or glacier bears (Ursus americanus emmonsii). It is one of the rarest in the world, which can be spotted in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve or Tongass National Forest. They mostly feed on roots, berries, and fish. Mating season is in the summer while winters are for hibernation and birthing.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Alaska for bear watching?

The abundant salmon run from June to August in Alaska, providing the ideal time to view bears. Bear sightings are rare in other months due to hibernation or scavenging habits. Show more

Where are the best spots to watch bears in Alaska?

Alaska has several prime locations for observing bears, including Kenai National Park, Brooks River Falls, and Wolverine Creek for brown bears. For the rare subspecies of black bears, visit Glacier Bay National Park and Tongass National Forest for a unique experience. Bear watching tours, guided by experts, ensure safety at all times. Show more

What are the most unique types of bears to observe in Alaska?

In addition to brown bears, Alaska is home to the world's rarest subspecies of black bears, known as blue or glacier bears. These bears primarily feed on roots, berries, and fish. They mate during summer and hibernate and give birth in winter. Show more

What safety measures should be taken when observing bears in Alaska?

Bear watching tours with experienced guides provide safety during the trip. Tour operators give safety guidelines, such as keeping a distance from the bears to avoid unexpected attacks. During tours, it's crucial to carry bear spray, a non-lethal deterrent, and avoid eating or carrying strong-smelling items while exploring bear habitats. Show more

What other wildlife can be found in Kenai National Park and Glacier Bay National Park, besides bears?

Kenai National Park is an excellent location for observing other animals such as moose, bald eagles, coyotes, and harbor seals. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve offer a diverse concentration of wildlife, including whales, sea otters, Pacific white-sided dolphins, orcas, and humpback whales, among others, making it a must-visit spot for nature lovers. Show more

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