10 recommended wildlife locations. The species listed below are just a selection of those you may see.

Baranof Island

Although Baranof Island’s capital, Sitka, was the seat of the Russian administration and an important trading centre, it retains few traces of its past. Indigenous peoples had occupied Alaska for thousands of years, but in the 18th century European powers started to consider the region ripe for exploitation.

  • Where: Southeast Alaska
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown bear, Bald eagle, Steller’s sealion, Sea otter, Tufted puffin
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Bear watching, Whale watching

Chatham Strait

Chatham Strait is a deep 240 kilometre-long strait in the Alexander Archipelago, in southwest Alaska. It was once the home of explorers and fur-trappers, many of whom – in the days when Alaska was controlled by Russia rather than the United States – came from as far afield as Siberia, across the Bering Strait.

  • Where: Southeast Alaska
  • Ideal for viewing: Humpback whale, Steller’s sealion, Sea otter, Tufted puffin, Rhinoceros auklet
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Dolphin watching

Denali National Park

One of the world’s greatest wildernesses, Denali lies around North America’s highest peak, Mount McKinley. Famed for its wildlife which includes 39 species of mammal and 167 birds, spring sees bears stirring from hibernation and birds returning, whilst late summer sees bears feasting on the salmon run.

  • Where: Alaska interior
  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, Brown bear, Caribou, Moose, Wolf
  • Excellent for: Bear watching, Birdwatching

Frederick Sound

Surrounded by the majestic snow-covered mountains of the Coast Range, rising 3,000 metres, the abundant krill and herring of this body of glacial fed waters make it one of the premier places to observe feeding humpback whales who migrate here from Hawaii to feed on its super nutrient rich waters.

  • Where: Southeast Alaska
  • Ideal for viewing: Dall’s porpoise, Steller’s sealion, Humpback whale, Orca, Sea otter
  • Excellent for: Whale watching, Birdwatching

Glacier Bay National Park

This coastal wilderness near Juneau has stunning vistas of glaciers, mountains, islands and deep fjords. Each summer orca, humpback and minke whales feed in the channels, and it is not unusual to see moose and bears swimming across the picturesque bay. You can only reach Glacier Bay by floatplane or boat.

  • Where: Gulf of Alaska
  • Ideal for viewing: Dall’s porpoise, Humpback whale, Minke whale, Orca, Dall sheep
  • Excellent for: Whale watching

Juneau

Alaska’s state capital stands on the Gastineau Channel in the panhandle. Its stunning location between soaring snowcaps and cobalt-blue inlets makes it a popular stop for summer cruises. Apart from the wildlife, attractions include Mendenhall Glacier, and opportunities to hike, bike, river raft, kayak and dog-sled.

  • Where: Southeast Alaska
  • Ideal for viewing: Dall’s porpoise, Humpback whale, Minke whale, Orca, Bald eagle
  • Excellent for: Whale watching

Katmai National Park

Katmai has two spectacular attractions – brown bears and volcanoes. Bears can be seen in huge numbers during the Sockeye salmon run in July, late August and September, whilst in August they can be spotted feeding on the shorelines. The Valley of 10,000 Smokes is lined with active volcanoes.

  • Where: Alaska peninsula, southern Alaska
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown bear, Moose, Caribou, Pine marten, Orca
  • Excellent for:

Kenai Fjords

Day cruises along the fjord depart from Seward, some 160 kilometres south of Anchorage. Towering glaciers drop into the sea and you can hear the constant cracks and rumblings of calving icebergs. There are good opportunities for whale watching, and the surrounding park has a variety of wildlife.

  • Where: Southcentral Alaska
  • Ideal for viewing: Humpback whale, Mountain goat, Orca, Sea otter, Tufted puffin
  • Excellent for: Whale watching

Kodiak Island

The largest island in the Gulf of Alaska is rich in wildlife. The Kodiak bear has lived here for 12,000 years, and 3,000 live in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge which is also an important staging post for seabirds and wintering wildfowl. Summer attracts migrant birds to nest and feed on the plentiful food supply.

  • Where: Southwest Alaska
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown bear, Humpback whale, Orca, Sea otter, Bald eagle
  • Excellent for: Bear watching, Whale watching

Tongass National Forest

The 8.5 million hectare Tongass National Forest is the earth’s largest remaining temperate rainforest and an area of rare natural beauty. Covering much of the Inside Passage it is home to bears grown fat on salmon, eagles soaring the endless skies and 500-year-old trees standing silently over a rich and verdant land.

  • Where: Southeast Alaska
  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, Brown bear, Bald eagle, Humpback whale, Orca
  • Excellent for: Bear watching, Whale watching, Birdwatching

2 recommended locations for extending your wildlife trip.

Anchorage

This major port and rail terminus lies in the coastal lowland beside a fjord, but extends up the Chugach Mountains – bear and moose are often sighted even in urban areas. The city has excellent birdwatching, over 200kms of trails and mountain views, and several fine museums.

Fairbanks

Alaska’s largest inland city is the gateway to Denali National Park. Its museums house interesting exhibits on Alaska’s cultural and natural history, as well as native crafts. In summer, daylight lasts forever, and in winter you can dog-sled, watch the spectacular Aurora Borealis, and see life-sized ice sculptures.

5 recommended trips. All our trip ideas are offered to inspire you, but our strength is in tailoring your itinerary.

Bubble-net Bonanza

Experience bubble-netting humpbacks aboard the 12-berth Snow Goose, exclusively chartered by Wildlife Worldwide. The trip is designed to be at the ultimate time to see the whales bubble-netting.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 9 days

Bears & Whales in South East Alaska

Take an unforgettable voyage to witness bears gorging on salmon, a majestic glacier spawning icebergs and humpback whales bubble-net feeding.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 14 days

Brown Bears of Kodiak

View the grizzlies of Kodiak Island (the largest in the world) gorge on salmon that swim up the rivers to spawn.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 8 days

Wilderness Adventure

Embark this outstanding ‘Access All Areas’ itinerary to visit Alaska’s national parks, by car, boat, plane, train and bus.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 15 days

Alaska Bear Odyssey

Combine two prime locations for seeing grizzly bears, in an areas of phenomenal natural beauty.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 11 days

When to go

Visit from May to September, when the days are long and the weather welcoming. Late May and June are warm with bright, sunny skies; summer and fall tend to be wetter.

Seasons

  • Winter

    Nov to Apr: A full-on experience – not a time to travel!
  • Spring

    May to May: Short and sweet season
  • Summer

    Jun to Aug: The season of plenty, with burgeoning wildlife plus midnight sun
  • Fall

    Sep to Oct: The transition to winter happens swiftly

Wildlife events

  • May to Jul: Brown (grizzly) bear mating season
  • Jun to Jul: Salmon return to rivers to spawn
  • Jul: Bears start fishing for salmon in Brooks River
  • Jul to Aug: Bald eagle chicks fledge
  • Sep to Oct: Moose migrate from the mountains to low-lying land

3 recommended wildlife cruise vessels.

Island Odyssey

Island Odyssey is a 21-metre ketch-rigged yacht, designed specifically for cruising the coastline of British Columbia and licensed by the Canadian Ministry of Transport as a passenger vessel.

Island Roamer

Island Roamer is a 21-metre ketch-rigged yacht, designed specifically for cruising the coastline of British Columbia and licensed by the Canadian Ministry of Transport as a passenger vessel.

Snow Goose

This comfortable and roomy 20-metre steel-hulled motor-vessel was built in Ketchikan, Alaska in 1973 as a private yacht, and makes an ideal vessel for an expedition cruising in Alaskan waters.

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