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Question about bear viewing options near Juneau

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McLean, Virginia
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Question about bear viewing options near Juneau

Hello! My wife and I are visiting Juneau in early June (we arrive June 5), and I was wondering if there are any bear viewing tours out there that don't require taking a float plane. The reason being my wife is really scared of flying and there is no way she will get on a float plane. :) I know early June is not the best season, and we are probably limiting ourselves a lot, but if you know of anything I would really appreciate your advise. We have a lot of flexibility in terms of time because we are not going on a cruise. Thanks for your help!

Juneau, Alaska
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1. Re: Question about bear viewing options near Juneau

Out of Juneau there probably isn't much really in the way of bear viewing, maybe out by the glacier, but that would be much later in the summer I think. You might stand a better chance going to one of the smaller communities in Southeast like Wrangell, Haines, or Hyder.

Wrangell has a hatchery on the mainland that I'm told has fantastic grizzly and black bear viewing. You can take a jet into Wrangell and then a boat tour to the hatchery.

I've heard that Haines has a good sized bear population, but don't know much more. Perhaps someone else can offer local advice on this.

A third option if you are taking the ferry or driving is Hyder, which you can access either by ferry or via Canada. They have an excellent bear viewing platform and area that doesn't get too much traffic since most people have no idea it is there.

If you really, really got to see grizzlies, then Admiralty Island is definitely the place. It's not too far from Juneau, so you might be able to charter a boat and take it over, or have a captain take you over, but the best viewing is at Pack Creek, which is inland a bit and requires a permit from USFS.

Adirondack, New York
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2. Re: Question about bear viewing options near Juneau

Beginning of June is not really a good season for bear watching in the southeast. You can see them in Denali NP in June but that's not anywhere near Juneau. Actually if you lucky you might see them here and there but if you’re paying for a tour make certain you go there in a high season and bear viewing is guaranteed.

<<A third option if you are taking the ferry or driving is Hyder, which you can access either by ferry or via Canada>>

There is no ferry going to Hyder. It stopped its weekly sailings in 2001. Besides, early June is about 7-8 weeks too early for bears at Fish Creek in Hyder. There were plenty of people waiting for bears in the end of July when we were there for four full days but bears never came. Fish Creek Observation Platform in Hyder is no longer unknown destination just less visited than other areas of AK since Hyder is accessible only by road through BC and still off the beaten path.

It is also too early for Anan Wildlife Observatory from Wrangell where a prime season for bears is about mid-July to mid-August. Noman, what hatchery on mainland in Wrangell? Wrangell is located on Wrangell Island.

I think it is too early for bears in Haines but only mombear of Haines can definitely provide more reliable information.

Unfortunately it is too early to see bears in the beginning of June in Pack Creek.

http://tinyurl.com/d9dmuk5

fs.fed.us/r10/…index.shtml

fs.fed.us/r10/…ananobservatory.shtml

Juneau, Alaska
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3. Re: Question about bear viewing options near Juneau

I'm perfectly aware that Wrangell is an island. Did you miss the part about a boat from Wrangell to the hatchery Places? Its on the Stikine River, which is across the straight on the mainland from Wrangell. But way to be friendly there.

Adirondack, New York
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4. Re: Question about bear viewing options near Juneau

Sorry Nome. This the hatchery you had in mind? I got it now. Thanks for clarifying. This year in the end of July we saw only one bear along Stikine Rive but many black bears and one brown bear at the Anan.

McLean, Virginia
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5. Re: Question about bear viewing options near Juneau

Thanks a lot for your help. :)

I guess in that case we will just stick to doing other type of activities (rather than paying for a bear watching tour), such as kayaking, and maybe we'll get lucky.

haines, alaska
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6. Re: Question about bear viewing options near Juneau

Dante

We do have quite a few brown (grizzly) bears here in Haines.......but you would need to come July-October to have the best chances of seeing them.....they come down to the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers to feed on salmon and when the salmon are not there, they are not either.......

One place you might see bears is just across the Canadian border from Haines.......no promises, but I have seen them a number of times just past Million Dollar Falls......they feed on the wild clover in the spring time and can sometimes be seen from the road.......

Ferry to Haines from Juneau, rent a car and drive to Haines Junction, YT and back would make a good day trip with excellent scenery and a chance (no promises) of seeing a bear.......bring your passport for the border crossing and binoculars.........

Juneau, Alaska
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7. Re: Question about bear viewing options near Juneau

If you take a boat tour to Tracy Arm you might get lucky with bear sightings too. Because the fjord is so narrow, the views of the shoreline are quite good the whole way up. Black bears often come down to the intertidal zone to scrape barnacles off the rocks during low tide, any time of the summer.

The basic message here (from all of us) is that the most "reliable" bear viewing areas are salmon streams during spawning season, and early June is too early for that... but... the bears are here, so you'll still have a chance of seeing them--just be looking carefully and let your guides know that's something you'd like to see!

8. Re: Question about bear viewing options near Juneau

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