Bear Viewing Alaska

Are you ready to experience the best Alaska bear viewing tour in the entire state? Alaska Ocean Pros will take you on the adventure of a lifetime as you get up close and personal with wild coastal brown bears weighing over half a ton.

Your Alaska bear viewing tour begins in Homer where we take you by boat across Kachemak Bay to Chinitna Bay in beautiful Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Once there, you will safely watch Alaska brown bears from a viewing platform along with an experienced guide.

Chinitna Bay boasts one of the densest populations of brown bears in the world and it’s not uncommon to see more than 20 bears while standing in one spot.

Your single-day excursion will immerse you in the Alaskan wilderness where you’ll be surrounded by glaciers, volcanoes, wildlife, and endless mountain peaks as far as the eye can see. There are few tours in Alaska where you can see humpback whales, orcas, and brown bears in a single day, which is why our Alaska bear viewing tours are truly unique.

If you’re visiting Alaska, what are you waiting for? We cater to travelers staying in Homer for the day, a week, or the entire summer season. Bear viewing in Chinitna Bay, Alaska is good throughout the season, so contact us today and book your tour.

Bear viewing Alaska - Breaking down your bear viewing tour from start to finish

You’re probably wondering what to expect when you embark on your bear viewing tour in Alaska. We entertain guests from all over the planet who are looking for an authentic Alaskan experience. When you Alaska in advertisements, television shows, or travel brochures, you always see a picture of a mighty brown bear. This is the tour you need to do to turn that picture into your reality.

What follows is a breakdown of every part of your Alaska bear viewing tour.

Arrive at the harbor (8:00 am) - Alaska Ocean Pros is located on the famous Homer Spit in Homer Harbor. We will provide you with the slip number so you can meet us at the boat ready for your day’s adventure.

Safety briefing (8:00 to 8:15)  - ALL passengers are required to attend this safety briefing. We will outline boat safety and how to remain safe in bear country. It’s very possible you will be in close proximity to multiple bears weighing over 1,000 pounds, so safety is paramount. We pride ourselves on offering a safe bear viewing experience, which is why we require all guests to attend this briefing.

Depart Homer Harbor (8:15 to 8:30) - As we cruise out of the harbor into Kachemak Bay, you will marvel at the scenery that unfolds. You are entering pristine marine wilderness where surprises await. Take some time to enjoy the quiet morning hours where charter and commercial fishing boats cruise into Cook Inlet to ply the waters for some of the planet’s finest seafood.

Travel through Kachemak Bay and across Cook Inlet (8:30 to 11:00) - You are entering waters abundant with wildlife. Many marine and land animals overwinter in Kachemak Bay because it is rich with nutrients and food. There is so much food in the Lower Cook Inlet that it is home to more than 90% of the regional waterfoul and seabirds.

History, geology, wildlife, geography discussion (8:30-11:00) - As we keep an eye out for wildlife and indulge in the unspoiled scenery in every direction, your guide will host a fascinating discussion where you can learn all about this amazing region. Every visitor is eager to see bears but it’s common during this part of the trip to see Humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, sea otters, dolphins, eagles, and many varieties of seabirds.

Other highlights include Gull Island, Seldovia, Port Graham, Snow Fields, Glaciers, Mt. Augustine, Mt. Redoubt, Mt.Illiamna, Mt. Douglas, and Four Peaks Glacier. You will also learn about the history of this region including native culture and Western influence. This is a quality presentation that will keep you enthralled and participation is encourages. Meanwhile, your captain and crew will be on the lookout for wildlife and immediately inform you when sightings are made so keep your camera handy.

Arrive at Chinitina Bay (11:00) - This is where your Alaska bear viewing adventure truly begins. You will be escorted by a knowledgable guide to the viewing platforms where bears congregate. Photography is encouraged throughout your stay. Take a video while watching the bear’s playful antics.

The viewing platforms offer some of the best bird watching in the world. If you’re a bird enthusiast, this is a fantastic time to add some difficult-to-spot birds to your list. You have four hours to enjoy the viewing platforms so make the most of your adventure. You never know what you will see on your particular excursion but we guarantee it will be the highlight of your Alaska vacation.

Depart Chinitna Bay (3:00 pm) - You will be escorted back to the boat in time for our 3 pm departure. Kick back and relax for the ride home or keep your eyes peeled for more wildlife sighting opportunities. Share your experiences with others on the boat. Eat a snack or even take a nap.

Arrive/return to Homer Harbor (between 5:30 and 6:00) - That’s it. You’re one of the few adventurous souls to see these amazing bruins in their natural habitat. After your Alaska bear viewing adventure, you will have memories to share for a lifetime.

A few other things to note:

  • Restrooms are available on the boat and onshore at Chinitna Bay.
  • Bring your own lunch and snacks.
  • Make sure to layer and be prepared for any weather conditions.
  • Don’t forget your camera and binoculars.
  • Bring along any medication you need.
  • If you’re even slightly prone to motion sickness, take seasick medication.
  • Follow all safety instructions when in bear country.
  • Always do exactly what your guide says to do.

Stay with the group. Don’t get distracted and fall behind.

Alaska Bear Viewing

If you’re visiting Alaska, you probably want to know the best bear viewing Alaska locations. Chinitna Bay ranks at the top of the list because of its accessibility, remoteness, and the size and concentration of brown bears. It is also unspoiled in every way, with no roads or developments to compromise the quality of the trip.

Some of the other top Alaska bear viewing locations include:

Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park - This is one of the most well-known bear viewing locations in Alaska. Almost everyone has seen an image or video of brown bears feeding on salmon in Brooks River where a platform extends right above the location where bears feed in the rapids and falls. Bears also can be spotted in Hallo Bay, which is also in Katmai. Here, bears feed on clams and protein-rich sedge grasses just as they do in Chinitna Bay.

Anan Wildlife Observatory - This is the best bear viewing Alaska destination in Southeast Alaska. The observatory is located in the Tongass National Forest, which is the largest in the U.S. The bear viewing platforms are connected to the mouth of Anan Lagoon by a half-mile long boardwalk. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the observatory (unless you cross paths with a bear, which happens frequently). Anan boasts one of the largest pink salmon run in Alaska and that’s what attracts all the bears. What makes Anan truly unique is that both black and brown bears feed side by side. Permits to explore Anan Creek are limited and it’s accessed from Wrangell or Ketchikan.

Admiralty Island - Located near Juneau, this Alaska bear viewing location is also called Fortress of the Bears. There are a lot of bears in this area but you are required to explore on your own. Salmon filled Pack Creek is a popular spot for bear viewing when they feed on salmon but you have to keep a safe distance. Brown bears will also feed on clams at the mouth of the estuaries. It’s best to reach Admiralty Island by floatplane.

Sable Pass in Denali National Park - While every other bear viewing location on this list is located on or near the coast, Denali offers a good chance of seeing an inland grizzly bear. A grizzly is the same as a brown bear but its habits are very different because of its diet and lifestyle. Bears on Sable Pass live in the high alpine, so they feed on big game animals like mountain goats and caribou instead of clams and salmon. Seeing a bear in Denali is amazing but it’s far from a guarantee.

Bear viewing Alaska - Seeing a bear is Number-One on most visitors' lists

Most visitors to Alaska list seeing a bear as the Number-One thing they want to experience. However, seeing a bear from a tour bus on the side of the road and seeing coastal brown bears feed in their natural habitat are two very different experiences.

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is unspoiled, pristine wilderness. Bears in this region have little to no human interaction and because bear viewing is only done from platforms, this human interaction is natural. The bears have little regard for humans as long as they stay safely on the viewing platforms.

You will not be viewing bears sho are scared or timid or aggressive because of negative human interaction. You will watch bears lumbering, playing, eating and sleeping just as they do every day throughout the season. What you’re seeing is nature in action as it plays out in Chinitna Bay in real time.

This kind of experience is sublime yet thrilling. You may watch a mother brown bear sit patiently while her cubs play all around her. You may see a bear sleeping and snoring with its feet pointing straight up in the air. You may see two bears fight over a food source or dominance. You may see anything at any given moment and that’s what makes Alaska bear viewing truly special.

Along the way, you may see whales breach, sea lions feeding on salmon, or majestic bald eagles patrolling the skies. Natural wonders like glaciers and active volcanoes provide a backdrop like something out of a storybook or movie. This is the real Alaska and it’s one you will never forget.

We love our Alaska home and we never get tired of seeing these amazing sights. We are eager for every guest to share in this experience as it was intended and we go out of our way to ensure you have a great time.

Bear viewing Alaska - Book your tour today

If you’re traveling to Alaska by ship, car, or airplane, you should be sure and reserve your spot on our bear viewing tour. If you have any special needs, please let us know so that we can address them. While you’re in Homer, be sure and take some time to check out some of the other sights and book a tour on one of our incredible halibut and salmon fishing charters.

Alaska is truly America’s last frontier and the mighty brown bear dominates the wilderness. This is your chance to experience that wilderness in a sustainable and responsible way. Contact us today to book your bear viewing tour and make your friends and family jealous when you show them the photos.