Favorite thing: See Bear Glacier. You can see it from the highway before you reach Stewert and Hyder. This glacier calves its icebergs into a lake. At one time this glacier reached the other side of the valley and the old highway can be seen hundreds of feet above the present road.
Favorite thing: Spend a few days. The first time I arrived in Hyder it was just before it got dark. I searched out a spot where I was going to spend the night. I was sleeping in a 15 passenger van, so I really only had to find a spot to park. Once I found a spot, I took a drive to the bear viewing area, just to get an idea of the distance and I guess I was just really eager to see some bears. Well, I wasn't dissappointed! It was only a couple of minutes drive from town and I saw several bears running along-side the road. I was psyched! I could hardly wait for the next day. In September 1996 I was watching the bears with perhaps 20 other people. Five years later, things have certainly changed! Although there were lots of people, I still enjoyed the experience.
Favorite thing: Enjoy seeing these animals in their natural environment. Bears in Alaska only have a short season to bulk up for their winter hibernation. Salmon provide a lot of the nutrients they need and they also provide a lot of calories. Bears are omnivorous like people and eat everything from roots and berries to moose calves.
Favorite thing: Watch for bears! This was just so incredible to be able to observe these bears. I know that there is an awesome place in Katmai National Park where bears are fishing off waterfalls, but it is not that easy to get the chance to go. Twenty people are allowed at a time and they win their spots through a lottery system. You also have to fly there by waterplane. There are no roads to get there. Hyder is really the best opportunity that I know of to witness this if you want to get there without a fuss. Photo: Here's a grizzly bear looking for a meal.
Favorite thing: Observe the bears interact. When this grizzly arrived, the black bear that had been fishing here disappeared (quickly!). Grizzlies outrank the blacks and get the spots they want when it comes to fishing.
Fondest memory: Seeing these bears actually catching the salmon! This one is a grizzly named Nancy. You're able to get very close to the bears here. They are here to fish and they don't even pay attention to people because we aren't competing with them for the salmon. They look at us like they would seagulls. There were rangers here as well to keep an eye on things. The closest I got was probably about 10 feet (ca. 3 meters) and not always intentionally. One bear just walked by me in the parking lot and another was up in a tree which I just happened to stop at. They were all over the place and new ones arrived constantly! You really have to be smart here and not approach bears directly or attract attention to yourself. Just be quiet and observe. It's fantastic! New in 2001: They have just completed building a large viewing platform alongside the river to minimize bear - human encounters. There have been very close encounters here in the past. More and more people are coming here every year. One of the rangers told me that they have already had 500 people on the platform at one time with grizzlies fishing below in the creek. There are pros and cons to the platform but it really seems to be a necessity because of the many visitors who come here. Professional photographers were complaining because the wooden structure shook when people walked on it. There was little choice but to photograph from this platform. It's possible that this has been resolved since I was there.
Favorite thing: Go down to Fish Creek and watch the bears fishing if you are here in the right season. There are grizzlies and black bears here. It's not always that easy telling them apart because both species vary in color from light brown to black. This one is a black bear. The first time I came here was during the second week of September in 1996, and the 2nd and 3rd times in early June and late July, 2001. Of these 3 times late July was the best but August is really the best month to go.