© 2019 Andrew Airways, Kodiak, Alaska

Here at Andrew Airways, we have a variety of Bear Viewing packages ranging from 4-5 hours to full-day experiences. Our bear viewing areas on Kodiak and Katmai National Park (the Alaskan mainland) are known for their dense populations of magnificent coastal Brown Bears. Scroll down for more details on our unique tours and to find the right one for you!

Tour Duration: 4 – 5 Hours

 

Includes:

  • Highly Experienced Pilot

  • Professional guide

  • Snacks

  • Drinks (water, coffee, soda)

  • Hip waders

What to Bring:

  • Binoculars

  • Warm clothing (include warm socks!)

  • Rain gear

  • Back pack for carrying water, gear, extra clothing

  • Camera

Sit back and enjoy, let our pilot take you on a spectacular aerial tour of the Kodiak archipelago and Katmai National Park, part of the Alaskan mainland. After landing, be prepared to get out into the field and walk with our guide for an up close and personal experience with the enormous coastal brown bears. ​ Both Kodiak and Katmai National Park are renowned for their dense bear populations, averaging one bear per square mile.

“Their tracks cross ours, entwining our footprints through time in the lavish dimensions of this land. Our timid hearts and twentieth century lives become irreversibly woven into this earthy tapestry of Katmai, whether or not we feel it. Whether or not we accept it. Perhaps Katmai means this: a chance to sense the threads that tie our world to the brown bears binding us together before we arrive in Katmai, and even after we leave.”

Katmai National Park and Preserve by Jean Bodeau

Our bear viewing season begins in late May and continues until the end of September. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect according to the timing of the short summer season:

May

We focus on the Katmai Coast during this part of the season, as it is easier to locate bears as they emerge from hibernation.  Predictably, male bears (boars) are the first to emerge around mid May, followed by sub adults (younger bears) and females (sows) with no cubs. This is an excellent opportunity to see large boars competing for available sows.

June

By early June bears are displaying full breeding behavior. The open intertidal areas along the Katmai coast become an arena of battling boars, boars pursuing sows and all manner of bear drama. Though there aren’t the numbers of bears seen later in the season, the quality of the viewing is spectacular! By late June, sows with cubs, boars and sub adults can be seen in small groups along the Katmai Coast feeding on clams, saltwater sedges and grasses.

July

July begins the great salmon migration into the coastal rivers of Alaska. Bears know this and are ready and waiting to apprehend them as they fight their way upriver to their natal spawning grounds. This is also prime time to see Kodiak bears as they are focusing their activities on local rivers and leave the thick brush and forests to forage more out in the open.

August/September

We return to Katmai during this time as the national park offers more variety and access to bears. You can observe bears catching salmon and feasting on the bounty of sedges, roots, berries and clams found along the coastal estuaries.  As the season turns to fall you can observe the incredible weight gain bears go through in preparation for hibernation.

Remember, Andrew Airways is happy to customize any of our packages. Give us a call and let us help you put together an experience of a lifetime.

Links

For more information on the coastal brown bear, bear viewing and Alaskan wildlife check out the following links:

https://www.nps.gov/katm/planyourvisit/bear-watching.htm

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=viewing.landmammals&species=bears#anchor

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=bearviewing.kodiak

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Kodiak/wildlife_and_habitat/bear.html

Tour Duration: 8 – 10 Hours

 

Includes:

  • Highly Experienced Pilot

  • Box lunch

  • Drinks (water, coffee, soda)

  • Hip waders

What to Bring:

  • Binoculars

  • Comfortable hiking boots

  • Warm clothing (include warm socks!)

  • Rain gear

  • Back pack for carrying water, gear, extra clothing

  • Camera

“Brooks Camp is nestled in the spruce and cottonwood forest between the pumice-lined shore of Naknek Lake and the marshy oxbow area of the Brooks River, world renowned for its resident brown bear population. From the bear viewing platform at Brooks Falls, visitors can watch bears fishing and interacting in their own environment. People quickly develop an awareness of bears in Katmai.” Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska by Jean Bodeau

 

During the peak of the red, or Sockeye salmon run, around mid July, as many as 12-15 bears may congregate at Brooks Falls and along the Brooks River. This area is closely monitored by the National Park Service to provide a safe environment for bear viewing. There is a half hour safety orientation at the ranger station prior to setting out on the trail.

 

Trails and walkways guide visitors to the two elevated viewing platforms. During the peak season, one might have to wait to access the upper platform at Brooks Falls. Expect 45 minutes to an hour of hiking time and additional time to access the viewing platforms.

 

Scenic Aerial Tour

During the 3-4 hour round trip flight to Brooks Camp from Kodiak you will fly over some of the most spectacular scenery in Alaska. From the emerald mountains of Kodiak Island to the glaciated volcanoes and the Valley of 10,000 smokes within Katmai National Park, there are an amazing array of ecosystems and geographic features. Designated a National Monument in 1918, due to its unique geology, the Valley of 10,000 Smokes later became what is now Katmai National Park. One hundred years later, the land continues to amaze and inspire visitors.

July and September

July and September are the best times for bear viewing at Brooks Camp. By mid July, spawning salmon numbers have peaked in the Brooks River. By September, the salmon are beginning to weaken and die, finishing their journey and making easy meals for bears. Before and between these months, bears are on the move, searching for easier meals of sedges, berries, and what the land provides.

 

Links

For more information about Brooks Camp, Katmai, or the Coastal Brown Bear check out the links below:

https://www.nps.gov/katm/planyourvisit/bear-watching.htm

https://www.nps.gov/katm/planyourvisit/brooks-camp.htm

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=brownbear.main