After disembarking your cruise ship in Haines, your small group will meet your expert naturalist guide for a drive to Chilkoot Lake State Park.
This park has it all: a turquoise lake surrounded by snowy mountain peaks, a salmon-filled river flowing into the sea, and important Tlingit cultural sights. Bald eagles, harbor seals, and brown bears are often seen here.
In May, June and July, the wildflowers are at their peak and bald eagles are busy caring for their young on the nest.
Beginning in late July, the river fills with migrating salmon, while brown bears come down to the river's edge to feed. As the number of salmon in the river increases, the likelihood of seeing bears down along the river increases, with a good probability of bear sightings from mid-August through late September.
As you drive through the park, your guide knows the best places to stop for scenery and the possibility of wildlife spotting. Your guide is equipped with a powerful spotting scope to bring the wildlife in close, and your guide will help interpret the behavior of the various wildlife and explain how the animals fit into the Chilkoot's complex ecosystem. Make sure you bring your camera to take advantage of the numerous photo opportunities.
My wife and I were the only ones on the tour, so we really did get special treatment. In the short period with our guide, we saw bear, salmon, eagles and a glacier. Our guide was very knowledgeable and very laid back and very intent on making sure we got the best from our tour. At the same time, she was very keen to not interfere with nature. Though we did get very close to some bear, we did so in such a way that we did not impact their normal activities or give them any cause for alarm. A VERY enjoyable day!
Reviewer: Bonnie Marcus
This was a nice tour. We saw bear, salmon, eagles and beautiful scenery. They provided a box lunch of a good sandwich, apple and cookie and a bottle of water. Our guide was very knowledgeable.
Reviewer: E. Fleming
Our tour was wonderful! Our driver/narrator/naturalist was Carolyn, a gentle and appealing woman who had a flexible agenda for the 16 of us on her little bus. The 3 kids gradually began to stick right near her, and she was happy to answer questions and point out wild flowers and the many bald eagles fishing or sitting in the trees. We all loved this tour.