Wilderness Tour and Brown Bear Search

★★★★★
★★★★★

Trip Highlights

  • Explore Chichagof Island in search of Coastal Brown Bears

  • Learn about the wildlife, culture, and native culture from your guide

Description

Chichagof Island, or Shee Kaax, is an island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Alaska Panhandle. At 75 miles long and 50 miles wide, it has a land area of 2,048.61 square miles, making it the fifth largest island in the United States. Chichagof Island has the highest population of bears per square mile of any place on Earth and its dense rain forests are some of the last grizzly strongholds!

The community of Hoonah, with a year-round population of approximately 750, is located in the northern part of Chichagof Island. The vast majority of the island is made up of pure, uninhabited Alaskan wilderness teeming with wildlife! The Ursus arctos, or brown bear, is the king of the forest, but Sitka black-tail deer, bald eagles, minks, martens, beavers, ducks, and seabirds thrive on the island and are sometimes spotted on this tour.

This Alaskan wilderness and bear search tour is only offered May through September because those are the months that afford the highest probability of bear sightings. In late April and May, the bears are coming out of hibernation and looking for food. In June, the bears are mating and eating grasses on the tidal flats. Older males fight each other for dominance and mating rights with the females, who at times are not receptive and force the male to give chase.

In July, the salmon start their migration from the ocean up the rivers and we find the bears feeding in coastal rivers and streams. In August and September, the salmon have made it further up the rivers to shallow streams where the bears chase them.

Depending on the month and the weather, the wildlife can be found in different locations throughout the island. Your guide spends a lot of time in the forest and knows where to look.

Join us as we search for these amazing creatures!

This tour is located on the Tongass National Forest under special use permit from the Forest Service, USDA.

Tour info

Duration
3 hours
Group Size
Up to 10
Price starts at
120 USD
Languages
English
Meeting Point

Icy Strait Point Excursion Hub

Why take this tour?

Chichagof Island has the highest population of bears per square mile of any place on Earth. Don’t miss the chance to see these animals in their natural habitat!

Included

  • Local Guide

  • USFS National Park Fee $6.13

  • Return to Ship Anytime Shuttle Pass

  • Round-trip transfers from Icy Strait Point

Excluded

  • Gratuities

  • Drinks/Snacks

Frequently asked questions

This tour is primarily a van based tour. If it is safe to get out of the van to observe wildlife your guide will get everyone who wishes to, out of the van. All in all there is very little walking and no "Hiking" persay involved with this tour.
We do not have the ability or space to transport or store, walkers, collapsible wheels chairs, scooters or strollers.
Summer weather time in Hoonah can range from 45 degrees and raining to 75 degrees and sunny. We tell guest to plan for 50s & 60s, to dress in layers with a light packable rain layer. It is best to check the 10 day forecast online and pack accordingly.
We used to provide each guest with a bottle of water. What we found was the vast majority of bottles were left on the van barely consumed and thousands of bottle per season were going to the dump to be burned. We made a company choice to stop this cycle so we no longer provide water. We encourage guests to bring a resusable water bottle on their cruise.
We always encouarge guests to bring binos on their Alaska cruise if they have some. While they are not a necessity on this particular tour, they may come in handy.
If your ship is docked at the Adventure Dock, proceed ashore to the Icy Strait Point Adventure Center. Once inside the Adventure Center walk through the building and exit through door number “2”. (This is clearly marked above the door). Once outside the door, look for the Excursion Hub Sign(s). Follow the signs on the gravel path to the Excursion Hub. The total walking time is 6-8 minutes, please allow extra time if you are not a fast walker. We ask that you check in for your tour 15 minutes early and we leave on time.
If your ship is docked at the Wilderness Dock, exit the ship and walk up the dock and to the right. Ride the Green Transporter Gondola(4 minute ride) to the Adventure Landing. Exit the Gondola and go left, follow the signs down the gravel path 4 minutes to the Excursion Hub. We ask that you check in for your tour 15 minutes early and we leave on time. While the Gondola transports up to 2K guests per hour, please account for longer lines when the ship first arrives.
Yes! The walk to town is beautiful! It is about 1.5 miles. If you decide to wak to town be sure and give yourself enough time. You will need to Check In at the tours desk inside, "The Shops by HTA"(See location on Google) in front of the Hoonah Harbormaster office. They will get you a wristlet and tell what time you need to be in front of the store to connect with your tour guide.

Things to know

Age

Under the age of 8 are not permitted on this tour unless it is a Private Tour. 

Under the age of 8 are not permitted on this tour unless it is a Private Tour. 

Cancellation Policy

To receive a full refund guests may cancel up to 24hrs before the date of the experience. If your cruise ship is scheduled to stop in Hoonah and does not make it to port, or we have to cancel due to weather, this would also be a 100% refund. Please make sure you are booking the correct port. If ...

To receive a full refund guests may cancel up to 24hrs before the date of the experience. If your cruise ship is scheduled to stop in Hoonah and does not make it to port, or we have to cancel due to weather, this would also be a 100% refund. Please make sure you are booking the correct port. If book the incorrect port and do give the required notice there will be no refund. No refund for cancelations less than 24hrs from the date of the tour. This policy does not apply to Private Charters, please email or call for details.

Participants

This tour has a minimum number of required participants. You will be given the opportunity to join another group if the minimum isn't met. This tour/activity will be limited to no more than 10 participants.

This tour has a minimum number of required participants. You will be given the opportunity to join another group if the minimum isn't met. This tour/activity will be limited to no more than 10 participants.

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