When you make the trip to Alaska, wildlife is everywhere. All you have to do to get a good look at Alaska wildlife is take a look outside. Alaska, the final frontier, is one of the last places in America where nature and humans meet and mingle every single day.
But there are a few places in Alaska where you can get up close and personal with Alaskan wildlife like nowhere else. And if you’re planning a trip to this gorgeous wildlife hotspot, you have to keep reading. We’ve got all the insider info about where to truly experience Alaska wildlife, and we’re breaking it all down for you.
Denali National Park
Denali should be your first stop for all things wildlife when you visit Alaska. In fact, we’ll go so far as to say that you haven’t actually visited Alaska if you haven’t checked this place out. Denali is a massive spread of wildland full of places for you to hike, sightsee, and, best of all, see the wildlife that Alaska has to offer. This is one of the many areas of Alaska that doesn’t have a ton of human interference, so the animal life can run as rampant as nature intended. While you’re in Denali, check out Winder Lake by bus and then take a solo trek to Savage River early in the morning to catch sight of some moose friends.
Kenai Fjords National Park
If you’re in the mood to take a boat trip to see some more beautiful Alaska wildlife, Kenai Fjords needs to go on your itinerary.
On your trip to the Fjords and beyond, you’ll be able to catch sight of puffins and whales. And while you’re taking a look at the wildlife, you’ll be amazed at the glaciers that flow out of the Harding Icefield. While you’re at the national park, you can go hiking along the Harding Icefield trail, take a boat tour, or go on a tour with a Ranger.
If you’re looking for a place with a rich history and lush wildlife, add Sitka to your list of places to visit in Alaska. Sitka is a fine place to see humpbacks later in the season after most of them have left other parts of Alaska. If you’re in the mood to bird watch, or at the least see an impressive flock of birds, you need to check Saint Lazaria Island out. Some other wildlife you can expect to see here are sea lions, otters, gray whales, killer whales, and minke whales.
Point Woronzof Park
Point Woronzof Park is an expanse of over 191 acres in Anchorage. This is another place in Alaska where you can spot some whales, which is a highlight of the area. However, you can also go hunting for bald eagle nests just south of Point Woronzof. If you’re there in the summer, you might get lucky and see some of the mature eagles in the trees.
Ravens are another staple of Point Woronzof Park and are active in December all the way through March.
Another great staple of this national park is the glorious moose. One of the best places in all of Alaska to reliably see a moose is in this park, and you might be able to catch them eating or getting ready for a little rest.
Kincaid Park is a great place to walk, hike, run, or ride a bike through the gorgeous Alaskan wilds. It’s a safe place to fish and paddle, practice archery, hunt, or ride motocross. There’s no shortage of wonderful things you can do in this park as far as sports go. However, that says nothing for the gorgeous wildlife that Alaska has to offer here. There are a ton of moose in Kincaid Park as well as black bears and bald eagles. Kincaid Park has both open glades and rough terrain, making it the perfect place for all of the forest animals in Alaska to roam. And, during high tide between Kincaid beach and Fire Island, you might be able to spot a beluga whale or two.
Potter Marsh boasts a 1,5000-foot boardwalk that stretches across the marsh, making a great spot to stop and watch the birds that decide to perch there. If you like birds, this is the place to visit. You can see any number of birds from Canadian geese to red-necked phalaropes. This is a popular place for eagles to make their nests as well. In other seasons, you might see some beautiful birds like yellowlegs or swans. Potter Marsh isn’t just good for bird watchers. If you’re interested in spotting some more of Alaska’s moose population, you have to stop here.
Eagle River Nature Center
Eagle River Nature Center is home to a hiker’s paradise. There are both short trails for less experienced hikers and longer trails for those who like to disappear for a little while. This is a great place to see all of the great wildlife that Alaska has to offer. And if you’ve got little ones in your group who want to get in on the sight-seeing action, this is the place for you. Eagle River Nature Center is good for viewing beaver, schools of salmon, bears, moose, foxes, and a whole host of other popular Alaska wildlife.
Add Seeing Alaska Wildlife to Your Bucket List
If being in the middle of nature surrounded by gorgeous wildlife is your idea of a good time, you need to book a trip to Alaska. There is a rich culture there surrounded by kind people and even more beautiful Alaska wildlife.
There’s no shortage of beautiful places to visit if you’ve got the time and the patience to get out there and look around for a while.
For more information about visiting Alaskan wildlife, contact us today!
Covering a whopping area of 663,000 square miles, Alaska is no doubt the biggest U.S. state. That's about two and a half times as huge as Texas. You can fit California into it four times, and still have thousands of square miles to spare. How about on foot? Say you'll go around its perimeter with the average human walking pace of 3.1 miles per hour. That means it'll take you about 2,296.45 hours, or almost 96 days!
Very impressive, right? But that's not all.
The long list of majestic wildlife and animals in Alaska is what makes it even more so. After all, the state's average population density is only 1.2 people per square mile. With that sparse a population, you can expect to see more magnificent flora and fauna than humans.
There are too many stunning creatures to list down, but here's eight you may encounter during your visit!
Ask anyone, "what animals live in Alaska?", and for sure the first answer you'll get is the same: bears. With Alaska being a "bear country," it's only natural to start this list with none other than these mammals.
The state bears (sorry) this title because all three North American bear species call it home. From black bears to brown (the grizzly included!) to polar bears, The Last Frontier is where you may see all them.
You can start your bear-viewing experience at the Katmai National Park. It's one of the state's national monuments and preservation grounds. That said, it's home to thousands of brown bears that you may even see feasting on salmon!
2. Red Foxes
Handsome is the most apt way to describe these wild animals in Alaska. They get their name from their reddish coat, with some even boasting a deep auburn red. Their colors go through certain phases though, so you may catch some donned in a silver coat!
The primary characteristic that distinguishes them from other foxes is their white-tipped tail. They have this distinct marking regardless of their coat's current color phase.
They're always on the hunt throughout the vast tundra of Alaska. Their diets comprise mostly of birds and rodents.
3. Dall Sheep
The Dall sheep, in all their white glory, only thrive in one other place aside from Alaska: Western Canada. These beautiful white-furred creatures have adapted to these areas' wind-swept, alpine conditions. To stay comfortable in the winter, these North American sheep grow their coats up to two inches thick. Both male and female Dall sheep have horns. The males (rams) have more prominent ones though, as theirs are massive and curled. Female Dall sheep (ewes) have shorter, slender horns that only have a slight curve. About 40% of the Dall sheep in Alaska live in the state's national parks. The National Park Service protects and monitors these Alaskan animals.
Although these aren't animals that live in Alaska alone, 750,000 of them roam the state's tundra, even in the middle of Alaska's largest city, Anchorage! The largest of the deer family, these awesome creatures can have antlers that span up to 5 feet and weigh over 65 pounds. T
5. Sitka Black-Tailed Deer
The Sitka black-tailed deer call both Alaska and British Columbia home. As their name suggests, their main distinctive characteristic is their black-tipped tail. They also have light reddish-brown summer coats, which turn darker brown in the winter.
Like their caribou cousins, the Sitka are also famous for their antlers. Granted, they have smaller antlers than other deer species, but they're still a sight to behold.
6. Black Oystercatchers
Large bodies, fiery orange to red bills, and flame-like yellow eyes make these birds not that hard to spot. Unfortunately, black oystercatchers are now considered a high-concern species. Their population has dropped to a low 11,000, making them one of North America's rarest shorebirds.
If you'll head to Kodiak Island and Katmai, you may catch these birds in swooping action. In fact, it's in Alaska that you have the highest chances of witnessing them. Two-thirds of their entire population is in Alaska.
7. Kodiak River Otter
The Kodiak River Otters are wild animals in Alaska you'll find in only one place in the state. As their name suggests, that area is the Kodiak Archipelago. The main difference they have with the North American River Otters is their smaller size. They also have slight differences when it comes to skull shape. But like their other river otter cousins, they can live both on land and in water.
Adventurous enough to brave Alaska's waters? If so, then get yourself on a charter vessel! It's one of the best ways to experience Alaska's diverse wildlife and ecology. This'll give you the chance to witness marine life, including various species of whales.
There are the dark-grey, sleek-bodied fin whales, for starters. If you're lucky enough, you may see them not only in pairs but in groups of six up to 10! These are some of the fastest great whale species, boasting up to 23 miles per hour of swimming speed.
If you spot a short, sleek, black-bodied whale with a pointed head, you may be looking at a minke whale. They may be smaller than other whales, but they're still large, with females measuring up to 8 meters. They're curious enough that they may approach your ship!
Whether your excursion is in the spring, summer, or fall, you may encounter humpback whales. If lady luck is on your side, you may see them in groups of up to 20, showing off their acrobatic skills to a lone female. The males are well-known for their eerie yet oddly-comforting songs, which can go on for 20 minutes.
Plan Your Trip for the Best Sightings of the Most Majestic Animals in Alaska
Again, there are too many amazing animals in Alaska to list down. After all, Alaska accounts for more than 17% of the entire land area of the United States. But the eight listed above should already give you an idea of what your excursion would be and feel like.
So, as early as now, start planning for your adventure to The Great Land! Check out our 2019 expedition list of professionally-guided immersion experiences and expeditions.
Katmai National Park is one of those places in Alaska that you have to visit. Read on to learn about the top things to do in Katmai National Park.
In 2016, almost 38,000 visitors spent over 58 million dollars in Katmai National Park. This wild and rugged place has numerous things for you to enjoy. But plan ahead, because the spending comes out to roughly $1500 a person. To put that in perspective, a few days in Las Vegas can set you back more than $1200. However, Katmai won't give you a pampering experience. It will tax your body and emotions sometimes. There will be many stressors unlike those found anywhere else. But at the end of the trip, you will grow in your knowledge of the outdoors. And you will come back more physically fit than when you left.
What all can you do while there? Keep reading to find out.
Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
Well, 1 of 3 isn't so bad anyway. Katmai is a very popular place to see and watch bears. But, give them a wide berth. In July, you can find even more bears than usual. Wherever the salmon and other tasty fish are, the bears gather there too. Bears catching fish in their mouth holds its place as one of nature's most spectacular sights.
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes
For the geographer, the curious and the outdoorsy types, this valley cannot be missed. Built by natural and destructive causes. The explosion which created it was 30 times more powerful than Mt. Saint Helens. For many years the valley looked like the setting of a post-apocalyptic world. Fumaroles spewed volcanic steam into the air. Many believed it would develop geysers to rival Yellowstone. But things cooled off, and today, a prismatic wash of colors paint the earth where a mountain once stood. You won't see any smoke there today, but you will enjoy sights unlike any you have seen before.
This is a very popular place to see bears. Salmon make their way upstream to the spawning pools in Brooks Lake.
For the salmon, this is the most perilous part of the journey. Not only do they have to travel up the falls, but also must do so while bears wait to eat them. If you plan your trip around the highest concentration of bears, look at mid to late summer. Bears come out in droves during this time. But that's not to say you can't see bears at other times of the year too.
Camping Here, There and Everywhere
Katmai National Park contains a huge amount of land. It covers more square feet than all of Connecticut. But unlike the New England area, the land is wild and untamed. You won't have the option of driving around much. But you will have plenty of places to camp.
Make sure you take a look at leave no trace rules. These aren't laws so much as guidelines. But part of enjoying nature means leaving it for future generations of enjoyment. In general, try not to camp too close to other people or running water. If you can, set up your camp where others have camped before.
If roughing it for a few days or a week sounds like your bag, Katmai is your place. No matter what, bring a few extra days worth of food and fuel. And you will be in violation of the law if you do not have bear boxes for food. Along with bear boxes to keep food safe, most recommend having an electric fence. This will deter bears from entering your site. As always, please don't try to feed the bears.
Hiking in Katmai National Park
Again, this is a wild and untamed piece of land. With that in mind, Katmai has very few miles of maintained trails. Brooks Camp is one of the most popular places to visit. This may be largely due to its proximity to Brooks Falls. But it sits as the trailhead for many hikes in Katmai. When hiking, try to stick to areas which appear to have been disturbed before. If you cannot stay to areas trod by humans, look for game trails next. When neither is available, proceed with care.
Yes, we know it sounds like a name a toddler made up but this site begs to be seen. It is the largest lake in the US to be found with its entire volume inside one park. The acres and acres of water urge you to take an early kayak trip. If mornings aren't your thing, have a mid-afternoon canoe ride. Either way, drop on by to these still waters framed by mountains.
But if you aren't interested in the tranquility of a still lake. A wild adventure summons you and you answer the call. Katmai has several rapids popular with rafters. Among them, American Creek and Funnel Creek stand out. These trips won't finish in an hour and a half. Rather, these trips tend to last 3-6 days. Also, you will go thru spots of tranquil water and stretches of rushing rapids. Make sure to bring a heavy-duty sleeping bag rated to 0° F. And store it in a water-tight container. Otherwise, you will have several uncomfortable nights.
Katmai's landscape has so much variation largely due to the many mountains. Maybe you want some time to hike to the top of one and take in the scenery. Broken Mountain, Baked Mountain and Falling Mountain all invite you to climb them. Once there, take in the unique and majestic scenery.
Start Planning Your Trip
Remember, Katmai Nation park won't mimic the state parks near you. Rather this land is wild and untamed. Respect it and fear it when necessary. But admire the beauty of it from safe distances. Alaskan trips will awaken your soul in a way nothing else can. Contact us to start planning your trip to the wild lands of Alaska. Our experienced team will guide you every step of the way.
The Ultimate Alaska Packing List (Including Camera Gear)Alaska is like no where else in the world, so you need an Alaska packing list to start your trip off strong. Here's everything you need including camera gear.
Keyword(s): alaska packing list
Are you ready for the most fantastic experience of your life? Do you love photography, nature, and adventure?
Alaska is a wild frontier that attracts more than 1.8 million visitors each summer. Cruise ships are a popular way to see the state, but custom adventure tours offer an up-close and personal view of wildlife.
If you're planning on going to Alaska, this article's for you. We'll help you plan the perfect Alaska packing list and help you get started on finding a wildlife tour.
Layer, Layer, Layer!
Every vacation packing list must include light, warm layers. Summertime in Alaska can be surprisingly warm, peaking in the mid-70s or even getting up to 80 degrees. You'll need to bring shorts, t-shirts, and a bathing suit. You might have the chance to take an invigorating swim out in nature, so don't forget to pack summertime basics. In addition to light clothing, you'll want to bring long-sleeved shirts and pants. If you're going to Alaska in the summertime, you can skip the -30-degree parka. You should definitely bring a medium-heavy coat to wear at night, though.
If you're planning on going on a wilderness adventure, make sure that you bring quick-drying layers. You can find them in hiking and fishing catalogs. It's important to make sure that you stay healthy, even if you're sloshing through the mud. Finally, pack some lightweight thermal underwear. You'll be able to stay warm, even if you're spending hours in one spot watching the bears.
Shoes and Boots
When you're going on an Alaska vacation, it's important to pack several types of shoes. You should pack waterproof hiking boots for walking and hiking, but you should also include sandals for your hotel.
Rain boots are also a good choice because you never know if you're going to be splashing through puddles. If you've got a tour company lined up, check with them about the kinds of shoes you'll need.
In addition to hiking boots and rain boots, try to bring one pair of walking shoes. You may need to walk from your hotel to your cruise pick-up zone.
If you can find a pair of walking shoes that is also good for hiking, just bring one pair.
If you're going to waterproof your shoes, try to do it at least one week in advance of your trip. That way, you can put on a few coats of waterproofing and let them dry in between. Another pro tip is to break in your hiking boots a few months before your trip. You don't want to end up with blisters on the first day of your vacation.
At the very top of your Alaska cruise packing list should be camera equipment. Before you invest in a camera, talk to your cruise company about the kinds of sightseeing you'll be doing. Will you get up close or will you primarily be shooting from the deck of a ship? If you're just going to be taking landscape shots from a distance, you can stick with a low-aperture lens with a focal length up to 100mm. Make sure you invest in a tripod to get those action shots without blurring them. If you're going to be shooting pictures of wildlife from a closer vantage point, try to get a teleconverter lens. It'll help you get those candid shots, even from your cruise ship's observation deck.
In addition to the basics, make sure that you bring enough media cards and batteries. You should have a camera backpack or bag that will allow you to be mobile, and a remote picture release. If you can, try to bring your laptop along. You can leave it at the hotel, but it'll let you download your pictures every day. Finally, remember to bring some camera lens cleaning solution and rags.
When you're making your packing list for your Alaska cruise, make sure that you're bringing charging cables for your laptop and phone.
Bring your binoculars, but pack them in your carry-on luggage to make sure they don't get broken.
If you can, try to get a small first aid kit. Your tour company will have medical supplies on hand, but it's always nice to have a few band-aids handy. If you take medication, make sure that you've brought enough for your entire trip. In fact, it's a good idea to bring a few extra days' worth, just in case of an unexpected delay. Make sure you pack some insect repellent but try to get one that's hand pumped rather than an aerosol container. You can bring aerosol cans on flights, but they have to be smaller than 3.4 ounces.
As you start packing, give your tour company a call to see what they recommend. They might want you to include a raincoat, a winter hat, and a pair of gloves. Ask them if they have laundry service on the cruise ship. If they don't, just pack extra clothing and socks.
Get a Head Start on Your Alaska Packing List
You can start buying clothing for your Alaska packing list a few months before your trip. If you're ordering from catalogs, make sure you leave enough time for the packages to arrive. It's a good idea to start packing your luggage a few days in advance of your trip. You don't want to rush the packing process because that's how most people forget essential items. To save space, try packing phone cords and other small items into your shoes. Put them in a plastic bag and tuck them inside. Always put the shoes in their own plastic bags so that they won't ruin the rest of your clothing on the way home. We offer custom tours to people who love photography and nature. Our ship is safety-rated to Coast Guard standards, and we can take you on an immersive trip into the heart of bear country.
Check out our website and send us an email for more information. We're looking forward to meeting you and going on a true adventure with you.
Identifying Alaskan Bears: Make the Most of Your Visit to Alaska
Are you planning to visit Alaska? Do you want to make the most of your trip? If so, use this guide on how to identify Alaskan bears.
Alaska is one of the most unique states in the entire country. It's home to beautiful mountain ranges, tundras, and unique wildlife.
Among the Alaskan wildlife are bears, which many tourists and photographers seek out during their visit to the state.
If you're looking for help in identifying the many types of bears Alaska is home to, we've got you covered.
Let's take a look at how you can tell Alaskan bears apart from each other.
A Word of CautionWhile it may be tempting to get close to the bears you encounter, it's important to remember that bears are wild animals and could potentially pose a threat to individuals who encroach on their territory. This is especially true if you get too close to a mother bear and her cubs.
Also, don't be fooled by their large size: grizzly bears can reach top speeds of approximately 35 mph. Therefore, if you put yourself in danger, there's a good chance you're not getting back out of it.
Thus, guided tours conducted by professionals are the best option for viewing bears during your visit.
Now that that's settled, we can move on to...
During your trip to Alaska, you're almost guaranteed to see a few Grizzlies along your journey. Also known simply as "brown bears," Grizzly bears are easily recognizable by their large size and brown coat of fur. But, it's best to use more than fur as an identifying factor, since some grizzly bears can be black, and some black bears can be brown. Grizzly bears have a large hump on their back of their neck that black bears do not. There are also differences in toes and claws between the two. But, it's not safe to get close enough to see which is which.
If you're looking to make a bear sighting on your own, rivers and streams give you the highest chance of catching them in their natural habitat. In fact, if you stumble upon one of these locations while bears are hunting for salmon, there's a solid chance you'll get to witness a large congregation of them as they feed. Rivers aren't the only place you'll find Grizzlies, though. If you improperly store food while camping or cook too close to your camp, you may encounter unwelcome guests in the form of scavenging grizzly bears.
Grizzly bears also have a tendency to get into trash, so it's important to store your garbage in bear-proof garbage cans or dumpsters to prevent them from becoming a nuisance.
As previously mentioned, there are occasionally black bears with brown coats. Thus, the absence of the telltale hump on the back of their neck can allow you to quickly discern between the two. These bears are often seen searching for or eating fruit. They also have a strong affinity for honey, a trait which inspired character Winnie The Pooh's love for it. As you may be able to tell from their less-imposing appearance, black bears are less likely to be aggressive than grizzly bears, and often immediately retreat when they encounter danger. That being said, bears, in general, are often shy and will not attack humans.
Like grizzly bears, black bears are notorious for rummaging through trash and following scents back to a campsite. To eliminate this issue entirely, you should store your food in a scent-proof container at least 100 feet from your campsite. If you have the opportunity, you can also hang your food from a tree using a food bag to prevent bears from getting into your belongings. You can encounter a black bear at any hour of the day. But, they tend to be most active at night, so be wary of where you're traveling after dark since they can be difficult to see.
If you're staying in a cabin, you may also find that curious black bears occasionally approach your doorstep. Making loud noises to scare them or simply leaving them alone until they lose interest are options to handle this situation.
As their name suggests, polar bears live and hunt on ice, particularly by the shore. Thus, you're highly unlikely to see them near black bears or grizzly bears. You won't see them on a GMX Tour! If you're fishing at sea, there's even a chance you may find them on sea ice located miles and miles from the shore.
Regardless of their location, polar bears are immediately recognizable by their snow-white fur coat. If you happen to encounter one, chances are you'll find it hunting for (or already consuming) seals, their main choice of meal. Since polar bears are the largest bears on Earth, they're very difficult to scare off if you happen to scare or anger one. A guided tour is once again the safest option for seeing one in the wild. You should exercise extreme caution when camping or fishing in or near their habitat, especially since there aren't many places to hide in those areas. If you do find yourself in a situation where a polar bear is showing aggression toward you, bear spray is your best option due to its ability ward off an angry bear.
Alaskan Bears Are Unique Wildlife ExperiencesBut, they're still wildlife, so it's important to exercise caution.
With the right safety measures taken, viewing Alaskan bears can be a rewarding experience that you won't find anywhere else.
Interested in going on a tour to make the most out of your trip to Alaska? Feel free to get in touch with us and see what we can do for you.