High Adventure Air provides the best fly-in bear-viewing trip in Alaska. High Adventure Air is a small family-owned on Longmere Lake off the Sterling Highway. They provide fly-in bear viewing and fishing tours. The service was exceptional from the floatplane ride to the salmon lunch. It couldn’t have been better. As part of our dream Alaska RV vacation, a bear fly-in was our cornerstone event.
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It is important to note that while bear-viewing can be a breathtaking experience; it is essential to approach it with a responsible mindset. Respecting the animals’ space, following the guidelines set by the guides, and maintaining a safe distance are crucial for both the safety of the bears and the visitors.
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5 Tips to Know Before Bear-Viewing in Alaska
- Call your fly-in service first to verify per person weight limits and seek any advice they may have on preparing for your trip.
- There are no bathroom facilities, I recommend limiting your fluids before the trip (like coffee). You need to stay hydrated once you arrive.
- The weather can be a factor, so consider, having a waterproof rain jacket and rain pants-it is best to dress in layers. We had overcast skies at the beginning of our trip, sitting in the chilly wind before the sun appeared after two hours. You need to remember that sitting in the boat small boat you cannot take shelter from the rain or elements.
- Highly recommend you bring a refillable water bottle (with filter) or bring a thermos of coffee, and along with snacks too, because you’re in the boat for hours. However, the overcast weather did not take away from our visit. We relished the time we had viewed the bears.
- Before your trip, invest in some excellent binoculars and a telescopic lens for your camera. Remember sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
High Adventure Air- Bear-viewing Tours
For me, this was a dream come true. I always wished to see bears in the wild up-close. After a safety briefing, our pilot, Mark, loaded us into the DeHavilland Beaver floatplane for our 30-minute flight to Wolverine Creek. Our professional guide, Ben, accompanies us. The lake at take-off was smooth; not a breath of wind. As the floatplane skimmed across the surface of the lake, we could see Loons. The flight to Big Lake flies you over the town of Soldotna, the mouth of the Kenai River, and the open water of the Cook Inlet before landing on Big River Lake. From the air, we could see moose browsing in the tidal flats.
Once on the ground, a fleet of aluminum boats takes guests to the Wolverine Creek Falls. There were a bunch of other boats in the area, but they were there for salmon fishing. The boats follow an etiquette-they line up in the order of arrival. They each have an allotted time fishing by the pool in front of the falls. The salmon are congregated in a giant ball as they await, traversing the falls to spawn. Since we weren’t fishing, we could anchor close to the falls and have a great unobstructed view.
Wolverine Creek – Best Bear-Viewing
Joining us on the trip was an award-winning photographer, Lisa Langell, and one of her colleagues. Lisa does an annual Alaska photography adventure for novice photographers every June. My Mom and I enjoyed having her along on our journey-great conversation and photography tips. The trip duration is six-hours.
The best part of the bear-viewing trip in Alaska is seeing the bears. Our group spent most of the day watching Alaska Brown bears fishing, playing, and teaching their cubs the art of fishing. Alaska, which has the highest concentration of brown bears in the United States. The female bears with cubs come for the Sockeye Salmon that migrate up Wolverine Creek. They treated us to many brown bears and two Black bears today. You do not even hear them as they venture down the slope to catch salmon. This was the highlight of our trip to Alaska. We also saw lots of Eagles scavenging for leftover salmon.
Note: Bears are highly active along the shoreline. Be bear aware, carry bear spray. Our guide had bear spray at the ready.
Enjoy a Fresh Salmon Lunch
Our guide, Ben, was very informative and knowledgeable about the bears of Wolverine Creek. He fished for Salmon for our shore lunch. He used a small propane stove to cook us a fresh-caught salmon-simply delicious. A real treat was the s’mores for dessert.
High Adventure–Bears and more Bears!!
Just as we were about to leave, I looked over Ben’s shoulder to see a Black Bear not three feet away. Our eyes met, and it was a magical moment. His coat sparkled in the sunshine. The Black bear then turned and vanished into the underbrush.
On the return boat ride back to the floatplane, we stopped to photograph a smaller waterfall. Sadly, we had to embark on the floatplane for the journey back to Longmere lake. Our bear-viewing adventure in Alaska was ending.
On the return flight, expert pilot Mark flew over Double Glacier. Double Glacier is an 11 mi long glacier in the Kenai Peninsula. Mark banked the floatplane, giving us a magnificent view of the glacier. The look of the ice in the air is amazing. We stared out the window in awe. So contrasting colors, the bright white snow of the surface is a marked contrast to the deep rich blue inside a glacier and the green mountain slopes. The deep blue color in glaciers is the reflected light being scattered.
Final Thoughts on Bear-Viewing at Wolverine Creek in Alaska
Bear-viewing at Wolverine Creek in Alaska is an extraordinary and unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. It offers a unique opportunity to observe the majestic brown bears in their natural habitat. The abundance of salmon in the creek attracts numerous bears during the summer months, creating a captivating spectacle of nature’s cycle of life. Witnessing these powerful creatures in their element, as they fish, play, and interact with one another, is truly awe-inspiring.
Furthermore, the knowledgeable guides and operators in the area prioritize the safety and well-being of both the bears and visitors. They ensure that the viewing is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner, minimizing any disturbance to the animals and their habitat.
Mark was outstanding; landing smoothly on the lake to complete a perfect day!! Watching bears in their native habitat feeding on the salmon trying to get up Wolverine Creek to spawn was everything we hoped for. We highly recommend adding this adventure to your Alaska itinerary. Our next bucket list trip is to see bears the famous Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park.
Have you had an opportunity to view bears in Alaska? If so, how was your experience? If you were to take this trip, would you fly to see the bears? Share your thoughts’ comment below. We would love to know what you think!