This bear viewing tour brings you up-close with bears on massive Prince of Wales island, the third-largest island in the United States. This exciting Ketchikan cruise tour, combining forest flightseeing with a wildlife encounter, is offered August through mid-September.
Departing from the harbor in your quintessential Alaska bush plane, the legendary Dehavilland Beaver, you will fly westward out of Ketchikan toward big Prince of Wales Island. The aircraft seats up to 6 passengers with each passenger having a window seat. On the 20-minute flight, you see the islands and waterways that make up this section of the Inside Passage. You touch down on Polk Inlet, a long finger of saltwater where Dog Salmon Creek meets the sea. Four species of salmon come home to spawn in this creek, drawing the black bears we're here to observe.
You're met at the dock by an experienced and knowledgeable guide and walk about an eighth of a mile to the viewing area. On the way, your guide provides a natural-history course on the plants and animals in this lush rain forest ecosystem, from berries to bears. You watch for bald eagles and ravens and scan for the bears we sometimes see in transit to and from Dog Salmon Creek. At the creek side viewing platform maintained by the U.S. Forest Service, you safely witness bears and salmon in nature's vital contest: salmon running a gantlet of waterfalls and predators to spawn upstream, bears feasting and fattening before their long winter of hibernation. This is one of the most popular bear viewing sites on Prince of Wales, with good chances to spot a bear when the salmon run is high.
Your naturalist guide can answer your questions about the wildlife and flora of this rich temperate rain forest.
This exciting tour is offered through a permit with the U.S. Forest Service and opportunities to visit Dog Salmon Creek are limited. Please book your seat as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Reviewer: James B Wacaster
We had a delay because of fog and could not fly when previously scheduled however the office kept us informed of the weather and eventually flew us to an alternate site where we did see bears. The flight was amazing. Comfortable sea plane with lots of windows so our group of 6 each had great views. We were not rushed when we were watching a bear at the salmon ladder feeding on several fish. Very relaxed excursion with no cattle car feel. Excellent excursion.