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Best independent "BEAR" excursion in Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Straight????

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Friends sailing with us in July just advised that they would like to see "Bears". I thought Whales would be their priority but they say"bears". So....which port...Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Straight is best for "bear viewing"? Which independent tour company? (I know bear sighting is not "guaranteed" by any company.)

 

Thanks in advance.

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There is no "best". Depends WHEN in July? Bears are "possible" out of each of your ports.

 

Anan, Neets "possible" from Ketchikan, non ship tours out of Hoonah, Pack Creek out of Juneau. first are blacks, other two locations are browns.

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I understand “no best” but not sure which independent tours have good reviews, etc. Our cruise begins on July 23, 2018. We went on a Bear tour thru NCL a few years ago in the middle of July and unfortunately didn’t see any bears. I realize it’s nature Andy can’t be planned like a zoo but I just want to better my odds. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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I highly recommend island wings for anan outside Ketchikan also. They only get a certain amount of permits so they should be contacting them soon.

 

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This Ketchikan web site has info on the primary viewing locations in ketchikan, as well as links to each location.

http://www.experienceketchikan.com/bear-viewing-in-alaska.html

 

Read over the details to learn about the trail, viewing time, travel time, permis, peak viewing period, etc.

 

The Alaska Fish & Game site is another good resource for viewing locations.

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If you limit yourself to one vendor for Anan, I'm pretty sure those permits are already gone.

 

I instead suggest- check all the possibilities, there are numerous - excellent- vendors to consider that are long term, well run companies.

 

In July- prior to the last week, the only tour, in my opinion is Anan. I would not consider anything else. It can be a big mistake to book a "random" ship tour (which are offered- general information). You want to KNOW the location where it's going. I'd suggest- never consider any other type of costly bear tour.

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It's a little off topic, but I'm wondering WHEN bears (black or brown) are more likely to be viewable. If we cruise at the end of May, are they normally expected to be out and about? If we cruise in August, are they back in the woods and not generally viewable?

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Hoonah Travel Adventures in Icy Strait Point is a good independent guide for bear viewing. The company is operated by Tlingit Indians. They are allowed further into the Tongass National Forest than other guides. They are highly recommended on these boards.

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It's a little off topic, but I'm wondering WHEN bears (black or brown) are more likely to be viewable. If we cruise at the end of May, are they normally expected to be out and about? If we cruise in August, are they back in the woods and not generally viewable?

 

 

Salmon is significant with successful bear tours. You need to be peak run for my preferences. I never do these tours off peak. So, No, May isn't going to have any bear tours running. A consistent area I have seen bears in May is from the Klondike Highway. With a rental car does offer you slightly more, but tours also have sightings. This is 50/50 chance.

 

Haines is an area I head to end of August into Sept. Good bear watching with a rental car.

 

I do a lot of fly in tours, with over nights, my minimum of 2 of Lake Clark, Katami mid July.

 

Denali Park is your bargain of bear tours, good sighting possibilities with road access. most of the cruise season. Need to allow at least 4 days mainland.

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Hoonah Travel Adventures in Icy Strait Point is a good independent guide for bear viewing. The company is operated by Tlingit Indians. They are allowed further into the Tongass National Forest than other guides. They are highly recommended on these boards.

 

We did Hoonah last year and were not pleased at all. We did see a bear (July) fairly close and a few others in the distance. However, no one on our tour liked the driver. There were 3 separate "groups" that booked independently and none of us were happy with the tour guide.

 

Salmon is significant with successful bear tours. You need to be peak run for my preferences. I never do these tours off peak. So, No, May isn't going to have any bear tours running. A consistent area I have seen bears in May is from the Klondike Highway. With a rental car does offer you slightly more, but tours also have sightings. This is 50/50 chance.

 

Haines is an area I head to end of August into Sept. Good bear watching with a rental car.

 

I do a lot of fly in tours, with over nights, my minimum of 2 of Lake Clark, Katami mid July.

 

Denali Park is your bargain of bear tours, good sighting possibilities with road access. most of the cruise season. Need to allow at least 4 days mainland.

 

Totally agree.

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What about Steep Creek in Juneau in July?

 

Don't count on it. No problem adding a look, if you are there.

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Don't count on it. No problem adding a look, if you are there.

 

I thought it was almost a sure thing!

 

How easy a walk is it from the glacier?

 

We will have a 5 and a 7 year old with us.

 

Thanks

 

P.S.

 

I remember the first time we went to Alaska 16 years ago, you were full of fabulous information.

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I thought it was almost a sure thing!

 

How easy a walk is it from the glacier?

 

We will have a 5 and a 7 year old with us.

 

Thanks

 

P.S.

 

 

 

I remember the first time we went to Alaska 16 years ago' date=' you were full of fabulous information.[/quote']

 

 

No hardly a "sure thing". Better chances in August. It's an easy trail off the parking lot, no where near the glacier, but nearer the Visitor Center. Take a look at the trail maps,

 

Not sure how recent you may have been there, but your first trip- Nugget Falls wasn't open, so you may also want to include that , if you haven't' already done that.

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3835583.pdf

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I thought it was almost a sure thing!

 

How easy a walk is it from the glacier?

 

We will have a 5 and a 7 year old with us.

 

Thanks

 

P.S.

 

I remember the first time we went to Alaska 16 years ago' date=' you were full of fabulous information.[/quote']

I was there in August & saw bears. They are there more when the salmon are running in the creek. Not sure when that starts.

 

When there are bears around, it's a very easy walk because only the flat boardwalk part of the trail is open.

 

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Hoonah Travel Adventures in Icy Strait Point is a good independent guide for bear viewing. The company is operated by Tlingit Indians. They are allowed further into the Tongass National Forest than other guides. They are highly recommended on these boards.

 

I'm giving them a try for my cruise at the end of August. It looks like we will have a better chance to see brown bear with them than with the excursions through the ship, which only go to a viewing platform.

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I'm giving them a try for my cruise at the end of August. It looks like we will have a better chance to see brown bear with them than with the excursions through the ship, which only go to a viewing platform.

 

Black bears are more commonly seen.

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Black bears are more commonly seen.

 

That's interesting. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports that black bears do not inhabit Chichagof Island.

 

"black bears occupy most islands with the exceptions of Admiralty, Baranof, Chichagof, and Kruzof; these are inhabited by brown bears."

 

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=blackbear.printerfriendly

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There are occasionally black bears along the road in Juneau heading north towards the Shrine of St. Therese in May.

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All help appreciated!!!! We are doing a week DIY before our Southbound Alaska cruise.

We want to see brown bears ( have seen many many black bears in the hills of TN). I have researched a fly in trip to Chinitna bay but I am used to seeing bears fairly close (50-100 yds) & from what I have seen of the bay you are pretty far away most times & of course bears sightings are not a guarantee in the bay.

The Brooks Falls trip is possible but it is an entire day & we are travelling with another couple that is not interested in doing it.

So now we are looking at Ketchikan an Anan. We will be there July 29th 10am-6pm on a Princess cruise. Is it too late in the month for Anan? I know Traitors Cove is a good option for bears but from what I have read that is black bears only.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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All help appreciated!!!! We are doing a week DIY before our Southbound Alaska cruise.

We want to see brown bears ( have seen many many black bears in the hills of TN). I have researched a fly in trip to Chinitna bay but I am used to seeing bears fairly close (50-100 yds) & from what I have seen of the bay you are pretty far away most times & of course bears sightings are not a guarantee in the bay.

The Brooks Falls trip is possible but it is an entire day & we are travelling with another couple that is not interested in doing it.

So now we are looking at Ketchikan an Anan. We will be there July 29th 10am-6pm on a Princess cruise. Is it too late in the month for Anan? I know Traitors Cove is a good option for bears but from what I have read that is black bears only.

Thanks for any suggestions.

 

You do know that Anan is also most often blacks as well??? Sure once in a while browns are seen, but better chances of not seeing any.

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You do know that Anan is also most often blacks as well??? Sure once in a while browns are seen, but better chances of not seeing any.

Yep, I know, but other then a chance encounter in Denali or something similiar it is our best chance of seeing any brown bears. Thanks though.

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For those who went through Hoonah travel adventures to Chicagof, how is it different than the ship tour to Chicagof? Someone said the ships only go to a viewing platform. Is that across all ships? We have the Chicagof Bear tour booked through RCI, but we are now looking for cheaper/better tours through private vendors where we can. Just don't want to go through hassle of canceling if it is the same tour. Thanks!

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For those who went through Hoonah travel adventures to Chicagof, how is it different than the ship tour to Chicagof? Someone said the ships only go to a viewing platform. Is that across all ships? We have the Chicagof Bear tour booked through RCI, but we are now looking for cheaper/better tours through private vendors where we can. Just don't want to go through hassle of canceling if it is the same tour. Thanks!

 

Yes all the ship tours go to the fixed platform. Bears can sometimes, be seen there, but, you have FAR more success, being on the move with a vendor who knows areas. This is never going to happen with anyone having larger than a van. Also it's significant- your timing, it's not a zoo and you need a salmon run.

 

Time and skill/knowledge is important. It's a mistake, in my opinion to book based on price. (since you mention this)

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Yep, I know, but other then a chance encounter in Denali or something similiar it is our best chance of seeing any brown bears. Thanks though.

 

My best friend is a driver on the Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali. In the past 10 years he has had maybe 10-12 days when they haven't seen a bear in the park. You just have to make sure you get all the way into the park on a shuttle bus to Eielson or the TWT. They will not all be close up, but the bears are frequently within a couple hundred feet of the road.

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All help appreciated!!!! We are doing a week DIY before our Southbound Alaska cruise.

We want to see brown bears ( have seen many many black bears in the hills of TN). I have researched a fly in trip to Chinitna bay but I am used to seeing bears fairly close (50-100 yds) & from what I have seen of the bay you are pretty far away most times & of course bears sightings are not a guarantee in the bay.

The Brooks Falls trip is possible but it is an entire day & we are travelling with another couple that is not interested in doing it.

So now we are looking at Ketchikan an Anan. We will be there July 29th 10am-6pm on a Princess cruise. Is it too late in the month for Anan? I know Traitors Cove is a good option for bears but from what I have read that is black bears only.

Thanks for any suggestions.

 

This is a late reply but why do you care what the other couple wants to do. Do what you want and let them do whatever they want. If I travel with someone else, I make this clear from the very beginning of the trip planning stage.

 

DON

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We did the Hoonah Travel Adventures Wilderness Tour and Brown Bear Search on August 30 and saw 6 brown bear--really close, lol. We stopped on a bridge and saw a younger male meandering along and fishing going in one direction, and then he turned around and came back by us and kept on going, because a few minutes later a very large male came down the river. Then we went to another site with an observation platform where we saw a mother and two cubs, and then another large male. The narrative was great too.

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This is a late reply but why do you care what the other couple wants to do. Do what you want and let them do whatever they want. If I travel with someone else, I make this clear from the very beginning of the trip planning stage.

 

DON

 

The all day fly in to Brooks falls from Anchorage means an extra day spent in Anchorage for them (& another night for all of us) which none of us want to do. We are prepared to do separate things during our week DIY land vacation but we only have 6 days and truthfully flying into Brooks for 4 hrs wouldn't be enough for us. We would like to do a package and stay at one of the back country camps for a few days at some point. It's our first trip to Alaska, and we already know we will be back. For our friends it's a one and done trip. Thanks for your reply.

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