Reasons to Visit
Alaska, the USA’s largest state, has to be some of the best bear watching territory anywhere in the world. Black and brown bears (sometimes known as grizzly bears) can be found, when they want to be, nearly everywhere in the state.
Alaska offers some truly spectacular cruising opportunities on a wide variety of ships. Some of the country’s most awe-inspiring scenery lies around its magnificent coastline; places such as Glacier Bay, Admiralty Island and Tracy Arm.
Famous for its salmon, fishing is a popular pastime in Alaska and there are many places in which to partake in the sport. If you are in Homer don’t miss the opportunity to land a prize-winning halibut in this self-proclaimed Halibut Fishing Capital of the World!
Along the coast of Alaska, some of North America’s highest mountains feed more than half the world’s glaciers, an epic sight as they carve icebergs into chill waters. Expedition cruises operate in these waters using zodiacs to discover breathtaking coastlines and a plethora of wildlife.
Home to magnificent glaciers, endless tundra and pristine fjords, as well as being the home of North America’s highest mountain, Mount Mckinley, Alaska’s scenery rivals that of New Zealand, except everything can be seen here on a larger scale.
In a state where moose outnumber humans, it’s no wonder Alaska is considered one of the world’s last true wildernesses. Here you can find entire ecosystems still intact and vast areas of land untouched by human hands.
One Alaskan animal you are likely to see a lot of are the delightful sea otters. These enchanting animals spend most of their lives floating on their backs, furry faces and paws in the air.
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Canada & Alaska
Katmai National Park has two of the best places in the world for bear viewing: Hallo Bay has wonderful coastal bear viewing, while Brooks Falls is the location for the famous salmon-fishing bears.
In June 1912 a violent eruption of the Novarupta Volcano turned a huge track of wilderness into a landscape of ash-covered mountains, smoking valleys and thousands of steam vents.
The valley floor became known as the Valley of 10,000 Smokes and subsequently became the national monument now known as Katmai National Park and Preserve.
This remote wilderness has a deserved reputation for its truly spectacular mountain scenery and for the richness and diversity of its wildlife. It has the world’s largest population - more than 2,000 - of protected grizzly bears. At Brooks Falls they congregate at the rivers edge to fish for salmon while at Hallo Bay they are frequently seen feeding on sedges along the shoreline.
Grizzly bear viewing in Alaska is renowned, but Hallo Bay offers a wonderful opportunity to get close to these magnificent creatures at any time of the summer season. Reached by a thrilling light aircraft flight from Homer, Hallo Bay is located on the wild, remote and volcanic Pacific coast of the Alaska Peninsula. There are no roads within nearly 500 kilometres of Hallo Bay which is surrounded by nearly 17,000 square kilometres of the pristine wilderness of Katmai National Park. The beaches here are stunning but it is the superb coastal bear viewing for which the area is renowned.
Hallo Bay offers a diversity of food habitats and has one of the highest concentrations of bears in Alaska. From May to early July they are engaged in complex and fascinating mating behaviour, digging clams in the inter-tidal areas and grazing on the coastal sedges. In mid-July the first of the salmon arrive, providing a feast and a change in diet.
Bear viewing takes place on foot in groups of four or five guests, with experienced naturalist guides making the experience highly personal and informative, as well as safe.
Accommodation here is in simple weather-port tents but hot showers are available and plenty of hearty nutritious food is included. Guests should be reasonably fit and prepared for some wilderness walking to make the most of a stay in this exceptional place.
Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park is world renowned for its large population of grizzly bears, attracted by the prolific numbers of salmon found in the Brooks River.
Special platforms overlooking the river offer guests superb independent bear viewing and park rangers are on hand to answer questions and ensure your safety.
Bears are typically seen from mid June until the end of the summer, apart from August when they forage for berries in the woods. They stand at the top of the falls to catch the leaping, spawning salmon whilst in September they gorge themselves on dead fish, fattening themselves up before winter hibernation.
Accommodation here is basic but the wildlife sightings are superb.
No visit to Alaska is complete without seeing either a grizzly or black bear. Use this guide to find out a few facts about both types, plus the best places to go bear watching in Alaska.
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Include a visit to Katmai National Park on your tailor-made trip around Alaska by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in AlaskaWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout AlaskaCountry Guides
Other countries in Canada & The USA:CanadaThe USA
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