Chichagof Island has been named "Bear Island" by National Geographic because it has the highest concentration of bears in the world at 1-2 brown bears per square mile. This Exclusive Wildlife and Bear Search small group tour will give you a flexible, up-close experience that the large group tours simply cannot offer.
There are many exciting things to see, such as a the scenic view of a muskeg, some of the ten varieties of edible berries found on the island, viewing an old growth forest, and potential sightings of the king of the island: brown bears.
Based on current bear movements, feeding habits, and daytime temperatures, there are short stops in key locations to scope out a magnificent view of these captivating creatures, and your wildlife guide knows them all. They will also share information about the area and the Tlingit Native population.
There is also a host of other wildlife that are quite frequently spotted during excursions, including mink, marten, red squirrels, otter, beaver, ducks, sea birds, Sitka black-tail deer, and plenty of bald eagles. So be sure to bring your camera.
Please note: Wildlife sightings can never be guaranteed. However, this tour can re-position quickly, and there is a much higher chance of sightings than with the slow moving, large tour groups.
Our guide, Luke, who lives on the island made the difference. He worked very hard to show us bears, eventually we saw a grizzly. He also educated us on plants, local lifestyle and saw bald eagles.
Reviewer: Matt B. Cincinnati
A 10 minute walk from the ship at 7:00AM, we met Luke, our guide and driver. Luke did a fine job of telling us what to expect, and spotting bears along the way. There were eight of us in a van that could hold ten people. We rode on gravel roads to the other side of the island. Along the way, we sighted a total of nine bears. The bears feed on vegetation in the woods and on the side of the road. They pretty much ignored us. We were able to get out of the van at times and take pictures as long as a reasonable distance was maintained. Luke took a "guide rifle" (short barrel 45 caliber), every time we got out of the van, just in case.The highlight of our trip was bear#9, who was so close to the van that my wife was able to shoot several portrait shots of him. I would say this excursion surpassed our expectations. Luke said that they usually spot five or six bears.
Reviewer: Mike Mahon
Our tour was better than one could expect. we saw 14 different bear doing everything from catching and eating salmon in the streams to blueberries in the thickets, We saw one guy resting on a hillside. We even had them walk in front of us on the road. Our guide Lucas Meyers made the excursion. So knowledgeable of the bears and their habitat.
Reviewer: Nigel & Liane
Setting aside the confusion created by our cruise line switching the order of port visits, we had a good excursion. Ironically, the fine weather let us down: it was too warm for the bears! We were lucky - Luke eventually found us two down in a shaded gorge (not ideal for catching that photo of a life-time). Others never saw a single bear on their tours. Luke was entertaining, informative and careful to maintain a high standard of safety at all times. He was great company and a good source of stories and information. Hearing a brown bear crunching on salmon is not something we will forget and the same goes for him looking directly at us across the water. At least the fine weather made for excellent scenery appreciation: the drive across the island was beautiful. A very enjoyable excursion, rounded off with a couple of beers (not bears) at the ISP brewery! But next time maybe we will book a few more clouds to keep the bears cool and encourage them out into the open...
Reviewer: Robert P Weissburg
We fully enjoyed this trip. We started by following a pod of whales along the shore from our ship to town and then crossed the peninsula to the Pacific coast looking for wildlife. We watched a large bear fishing for 20 minutes, or so, and saw salmon spawning inseveral streams. It's beautiful country, but our guide Luc was the best part. Great guy. We had lunch back in town with Luc, which was very nice and then he took us back.