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Best area for bear viewing in early July

Texas
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Best area for bear viewing in early July

We are taking a Northbound glacier cruise which leaves Vancouver July 4, 2014. It will stop in Ketchikan on July 6th, Ice Strait on July 7th, Juneau the 8th and Skagway the 9th. We will then be in Anchorage for a couple of nights at the end of the cruise (July 11 and 12). My 8 yo's main request is for a bear viewing excursion and I want to make sure I choose the right place for that time of the year to maximize our chance of bear viewing. I would really like to take a floatplane tour out of Ketchikan to Anan Creek, but noted that the season opens on July 5th (the day before we get there). It makes me nervous that since that is the very beginning of the season that there may not be much bear activity. So, would anyone recommend that trip or would waiting and doing a trip out of Anchorage/Homer/Soldotna be better? I can not seem to find the peak times for viewing at Brooks Falls and that area. We did a trip to Wolverine Creek in the past with Talon Air but it was in early August and was not that active (although we did see several bears).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! TIA!

fti
MN
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1. Re: Best area for bear viewing in early July

Do you arrive into Seward on July 11th? When on July 13th do you depart from Anchorage?

You don't have much time, and some companies won't take 8 year old's on their trips.

Anan Creek could work but it is mostly black bears. Do you want to see those or brown/grizzly bears?

If you went from Soldotna or Homer, you almost certainly need to rent a car from Hertz in Seward and drop it off in Anchorage. My guess is that you are on the Celebrity Millenium. Figure $400 for a 2-day, one-way car rental. Maybe you could do something in Seward upon arrival (Sealife Center, Exit Glacier?) then pick the car up in the afternoon of July 11. Drive a couple of hours to Soldotna or even Anchorage and be read for your bear viewing flight the next day.

Brooks has peak bear viewing (brown bears) all of July, but you never know exactly when the true peak will be due to the salmon runs. But July 11/12 should be as good as you are going to get.

Lake Clark NP (Silver Salmon Creek Lodge for example) is another option for brown bears.

My problems with the day bear viewing trips are that they can be canceled due to weather, you really only get a short 2-3 hours of bear viewing, you spend a lot of time in transit, and the value for the money invested is relatively low. But it is a great experience.

If you can somehow manage an overnight trip it doesn't cost that much more than a day trip, and you will easily get double the bear viewing time. I think Silver Salmon Creek Lodge has overnight trips. Brooks does too, but their cabins usually sell out more than a year in advance, so unless you were willing to tent camp an overnight at Brooks is probably not possible.

Texas
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2. Re: Best area for bear viewing in early July

Thanks for the info. We are on the Millenium and will get in to Seward at 5am on the 11th and our flight doesn't leave Anchorage until 10pm on the 12th. We are planning to rent a car. I was looking at the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge overnight trip, but not sure if we could squeeze it in.

fti
MN
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3. Re: Best area for bear viewing in early July

Oh. You said you had a couple of nights (July 11/12) in your original post. That was incorrect, You only have one night. I based my advice on what you said, not what you meant :-).

In your case, you are really pushing it with any bear viewing fly-in after the cruise. In your case, I would never book a fly-in when you have just one night. These flights often get delayed. They are on small planes. Do the bear viewing from Ketchikan to Anan Creek.

Then rent the car on July 11 when you are in Seward. I would visit the Sealife Center and Exit Glacier. Also have the 8 year old do the jr. ranger program at Exit Glacier. Drive that afternoon to Girdwood.

Then on July 12 spend the day along Turnagain Arm. See the Top Questions about Girdwood for activities to do in this area. Aleyska Tram, Wildlife Conservation Center, Portage Glacier boat cruise, Byron Glacier, gold panning and more will easily fill your day on July 12. Drive from Girdwood to the airport about 6-7pm, arriving about 7.30-8pm for your 10pm departure.

haines, alaska
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4. Re: Best area for bear viewing in early July

Hi Dragonsmom......

You "might" be able to see wild grizzlies catching salmon that time of year........but if you definitely want to see the bears (and many other animals), I think your son would absolutely love a tour to Steve Kroschels Wildlife Center......You could add that as a back up to your Anan trip.........Check the tours that your ship offers while you are in port in Skagway to see it is available on that day...... http://www.kroschelfilms.com/

5. Re: Best area for bear viewing in early July

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