Are Alaska Bear Adventures Tours Worth It?

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Many Americans have a trip to Alaska on their bucket list. Part of this trip usually includes an adventure to see the amazing Alaskan brown bears in their natural habitats. Booking a trip with Alaska Bear Adventures is the best way to see these bears.

They provide top-notch, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to get up-close views of these magnificent creatures. Let’s learn more!

Types of Bears That Live in Alaska

If you want to catch a bear sighting, Alaska is one of the best places to visit. Both brown and black bears live in Alaska. Grizzly bears are a subspecies of brown bears, and you will find these in Alaska as well.

Brown bears are larger, with a prominent hump between their shoulders. Katmai is home to the coastal brown bear that enjoys congregating around salmon runs.

About 3,000 Grizzly bears live in Katmai National Park.

The massive Kodiak brown bears live on the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago. Many of these bears also live in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge near Frazer Lake.

But Kodiak Island is one of the most popular places to view these extraordinary creatures.

Black bears have shorter claws to help them climb trees. For this reason, they tend to stay closer to forests, although you can find them near coastal regions. 

The best time to view bears in Alaska is in spring and summer when the mammals are actively searching for food and preparing, yet again, for hibernation during the winter.

A young coastal brown bear that walked right by us.

The Best Places to View Alaskan Bears

The shoreline is a popular location to view Alaskan bears because they’re beachcombing for dead animals or foraging on shellfish.

Streams, where salmon spawn in late summer, are also prime locations to view bears.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, common bear sightings include Denali National Park, Katmai National Park, Lake Clark National Park, Kodiak Island, and the Mendenhall Glacier.

What Is Alaska Bear Adventures?

Based out of Homer, Alaska Bear Adventures strives to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for guests. With multiple trip options, they provide tours to suit all types of travelers who want to see the coastal brown bears of Alaska.

Alaska Bear Adventures has experienced pilots and a top-notch safety record. You’re in good hands when you book a trip with this locally-owned and operated company.

Pro Tip: If you are heading to Homer for a bear tour, use this guide to plan other epic places around it: Must Visit Towns on the Kenai Peninsula.

Tour Options Offered Through Alaska Bear Adventures

Depending on the amount of time you have, there are a few trip options with Alaska Bear Adventure.

Coastal Trips include options for four-, seven-, or 11-hour excursions. A trip to Brooks Falls lasts seven to eight hours, and the McNeil River Sanctuary Tour is a lottery-based trip.

Coastal Trips

The most popular tours through Alaska Bear Adventures are the coastal trips. The shortest option is a four-hour trip with one hour of viewing the bears at Lake Clark National Park.

Along the flight, you can view the spectacular scenery and  the infamous “Ring of Fire.” At the time of this article, this tour costs $685 per person plus a 7.25% fuel surcharge. This is the tour we took and we found an hour to be plenty of time to take in the bears.

The classic day trip lasts seven hours and can be booked as a private or public tour. Guests must be over the age of ten. It includes the same itinerary as the four-hour trip, but you can spend three hours on the ground viewing the bears.

The classic trip ranges from $885 to $935 for the public tour and $4,695 for up to five viewers on a private excursion.

Finally, the premium coastal trip is an 11-hour tour that includes over six hours of viewing the bears. It costs $8,250 for up to five viewers, plus a 7.25% fuel surcharge.

All the trips offered by Alaska Bear Adventures operate from mid-May through mid-September.

A male coastal brown bear snacking on sedge grass.

Brooks Falls Tour

Brown bears love catching salmon at Brooks Falls. This tour includes seven to eight hours of flying and viewing.

Once at Brooks Camp, it’s about 1.5 miles to the main viewing platforms. You’ll spend four hours on the ground in Katmai National Park.

Then, on the return trip, you’ll enjoy a “flightseeing” adventure over mountains, over glaciers, and around a volcano. This tour is suitable for almost anyone over the age of six. It costs $1,195 per person, plus a 7.25% fuel surcharge.

McNeil River Sanctuary Tour

The McNeil River Sanctuary Tour completely differs from the coastal and Brooks Falls tours. It requires an application process through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game because of the popularity of this area. People of all ages in good physical condition can apply to the lottery.

If selected, you’ll hike a 4-mile round-trip trail to the falls and spend six to eight hours on a viewing pad. Applications must be submitted online or received in the mail by March 1 each year.

Things to Bring on Your Alaska Bear Adventures Tour

Because the weather in Alaska is so fickle, always dress in layers. Pack for cool, wet, and warm weather. You’ll want to bring a raincoat.

Alaska Bear Adventures allows guests to bring up to ten pounds in a book bag. Bring water, lunch, snacks, and whatever else you need during the day.

It’s even recommended to bring a few days worth of your medication, just in case flying conditions change and you’re there longer than originally planned.

Is It Safe to Take an Alaska Bear Adventures Tour?

It’s important that you book a bear-viewing tour with a reputable outfitter. Alaska Bear Adventures has been giving tours for years. The trained guides know how to read bear behavior. They know how to place you and keep everyone safe.

We felt extremely safe during our tour. Our guides were extremely knowledgable in bear behavior and were constantly reminding us where we needed to be and how to act.

Even at Brooks Falls, which is a self-guided tour, there are park rangers to answer any questions and keep everyone safe. Plus, before you hike to the viewing areas, you must attend the safety orientation.

However, like with any type of outdoor recreational activity or wildlife viewing tour, there are inherent risks. Listen to the trained guides and follow their instructions.

Also, consider the age of your children before booking a tour. Can they follow instructions in order to stay safe as well?

Keep in Mind: Do you know What Being ‘Bear Aware’ Means? If not, you better click the link to read the article!

The Best Time to View Alaskan Bears

June through September offer the best times to view Alaskan bears. The tours provided by Alaska Bear Adventures don’t operate much in the shoulder season, so anytime you book a tour, you’ll likely have great opportunities to view these magnificent creatures. 

Book a trip after mid-July if you prefer to see the bears along the coast. This is when the salmon starts running. All summer long, brown bears are focused on food, so there’s a good chance you’ll find some where they like to eat.

A mama coastal brown bear and her two cubs.

What Customers Are Saying

Alaska Bear Adventures is rated 4.9 out of 5 stars on Google. The company is highly praised and recommended by almost everyone.

One man shared, “My wife and I were treated to one of the most amazing experiences ever with Alaska Bear Adventures. Communication was great from the start, and that continued throughout the entire process. Alex, our pilot/guide, was amazing. He was extremely friendly, professional, and knowledgeable. We felt 100% safe with him during the flights and around the bears.”

A happy father wrote, “What an absolute awesome experience! This was a dream Alaskan adventure my son and I have been planning for a long time, and it didn’t disappoint! Our bush pilot and expert bear guide, Adam, was terrific and made our experience all that more enjoyable.

To top it off, we finished our day with a flightseeing trip to remember, flying over the Iliamna Volcano! I wouldn’t think twice about booking another bear view trip with Alaskan Bear Adventures. They are true professionals and really did a great job making sure that everyone on the trip felt safe and had a great time!”

Keep in Mind: Should you be concerned about bears breaking into your RV? Let’s find out!

Our Experience With Alaska Bear Adventures

Similar to the rave reviews above, we had an amazing time on our bear tour. Originally, we booked the Brooks Falls Tour for late June. However, Alaska was having a late spring, and the salmon weren’t running yet.

Alaska Bear Tours called to let us know there weren’t many bears at Brook Falls and gave us two other tour options or a full refund.

Of course, we didn’t want to miss the bears, so we opted for their Coastal Trip to Lake Clark National Park.

It did not disappoint! We saw loads of bears and learned so much about them from our tour guides. Even though the weather was dreary, nothing could dampen the mood of seeing these gorgeous bears in their natural habitat.

The Alaska Bear Adventures Tour Is Totally Worth It

These excursions are expensive. But that’s why Alaska Bear Adventures seeks to make each trip memorable.

They realize this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most visitors. So, if you’re planning a trip to southern Alaska, consider booking a trip.

You’ll not only be awestruck by the brown bears but also be full of wonder on your flight as you witness the remote beauty of Alaska’s wilderness.

Will you book a trip with Alaska Bear Adventures?

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