This is not a normal year, of course. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start mapping out your next Alaskan adventure now. In fact, with 663,000 square miles to cover, you can’t start soon enough. If it’s wildlife you’re after, this place will deliver like no other. The only question is, what do you want to see? Depending on your answer, here’s a list of where exactly to go. And even though it might be a while before you’re actually on your way, many of these destinations maintain webcams so you can enjoy a virtual sneak peak in the interim.
Spotting a grizzly in the wild can be both exhilarating and terrifying depending on the circumstances. Either way, coming across the massive mammal while hiking the backcountry will certainly elevate your heart rate. So make sure you are well-versed in bear safety protocol, always stay calm, and remember that unprovoked bear attacks are actually quite rare. Over the past decade only four people have been killed by an Alaskan brown bear.
If you’re willing to meet them where they live, Brooks Fall in Katmai National Park and Preserve is where you need to be. Every July, like clockwork, hundreds of brown bears trek here to a narrow section of river, drawn by an exceptionally active salmon run. A viewing platform by the cascade allows visitors to see dozens of them at a time, lined up with mouths open as if they were at a Las Vegas buffet.
“Bears habituate to people and they are highly motivated to go to streams where the salmon are running,” explains Riley Woodford, information officer for Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game. “In July and August it is pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to find them in these places.”
Japhe, Brad. “How to See Whales, Bears, Eagles and More Incredible Wildlife in Alaska.” Travel + Leisure, 14 June 2020, www.travelandleisure.com/animals/how-to-see-whales-bears-eagles-wildlife-in-alaska.