This is a definite must do! The only thing to bear in mind is the dates. To get a real bear experience and see them in action catching salmon at the falls you have to there when the salmon are running. These dates can vary from year to year but the National Park Service suggests that the peak times are July or September.
We flew in by floatplane from King Salmon.
After a quick bear induction video it’s off to see the bears. There are two main viewing points, one at the falls themselves and one just downstream.
The rangers ask you to restrict yourselves to 1 hour viewing at the falls at peak times in order to let as many people see the bears as possible.
A good tip would be to get there as early as possible; we are talking about flying out at 07:30am! Then you’ll have more of a chance to stay for longer than an hour on the main falls platform, as the larger tours that come into usually arrive in the afternoon.
We were lucky enough to spend most of the morning at the falls and even a fair bit of the afternoon before our names were called out to leave.
Don't forget to bring your cameras and you'll have some breath taking pictures to take home.
Check out my travelogue for more of the bear experience.
A flight from King Salmon on the float planes took you to Brooks Lodge.
There you can take the "Valley of 10,000 Smokes Tour"
This tour can be delayed as you are in bear country and the have all the rights of way!. You land on the beach and have to take the short walk to the tour bus. When we landed our path was blocked by a sleeping bear! The rangers were on hand to keep you safe and although it delayed us for a while we didn't really mind as we got a chance to see our first close up bears.
Eventually we managed to get to the bus after the bear had been woken up by another female bear who was keeping an eye on her cubs. We were given the right run-around by the bears!
The tour was a nice bus ride and after stopping for lunch we took a hike down into the valley which is now covered in volcanic debris after Novarupta Volcano exploded in 1912.
We walked down to the waterfall and then back up again.
The trip back was again delayed somewhat by a bear on the road. They have a toilet at one point in the road and I think the Spanish couple who came out of it got a bit of a surprise when they came out to see a bear! As she was rescued by the bus she was heard to cry out "Bear! Bear!"
7 Reviews and Opinions
1515 Pacific Ave,ste E Everett, Wa 98201, King Salmon, Alaska, United States
Good for: Solo
This place is a short walk from the King Salmon airport building. This means that if you flight is delayed, which happened to us, you can take advantage of the hospitality of this local place and get fed and watered.
We had a few beers, went back to the airport and found our flight further delayed. So we went back and had a quick meal.
Good local characters frequent this place. It has a decent bar and friendly staff who will try their best to get you your food before your flight takes off!
We had a break from bear watching for lunch and to warm up around the fire at the Lodge.
Lunch was self service, hot or cold meal with dessert. Nothing to write home about except that I went for the salad option and was merrily put on my plate various items from the salad bar including what I thought was mayonnaise…turned out to be custard! Oh well cumber and custard is the new food trend where I come from!
It also serves decent Alaskan Amber as well as a good coffee or hot chocolate...best drunk around the fire!
Take the drive down to Naknek, abot 15 miles down the road. Worth the drive, while in Naknek check out Fisherman's Bar a wonderful place. Bears roaming at night a must see.
Fondest memory: Playing darts at fisherman's and having the best time.