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Black Bear & Wildlife Exploration

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If you're looking for a bear viewing excursion in Ketchikan that is easily accessible and affordable, the Black Bear & Wildlife Exploration is the tour for you! Like many bear tours in Southeast Alaska, this excursion only operates from late-July to late-September. During these prime bear viewing months, the salmon run brings bears to Herring Creek to hunt for their favorite meal, while you watch from the safety of a raised boardwalk! A limited number of guests allowed at the viewing area provides an intimate experience with these beautiful wild black bears.

Your bear watching tour begins with pick up at the cruise docks and a scenic narrated drive along the coast to the 40-acre reserve at Herring Cove. This is the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, home to a few different excursions but your exclusive tour takes you to a private area reserved for bear viewing. Your naturalist guide leads you on a nature walk through the rainforest, sharing knowledge of the local flora and fauna, before arriving at the raised boardwalk that overlooks the salmon-filled creek. Besides black bears, you're likely to see Bald eagles and seals along the nearby tidal estuary! Make sure your camera is ready to capture the stunning Alaskan wildlife!

Next, you'll have the opportunity to visit the Alaska Raptor Center! This sanctuary provides rescue and rehabilitation for these incredible birds of prey, and you'll be able to see them up close and personal. Additionally, explore the historic Herring Bay Lumber Company Sawmill, Tsimshian totem pole park, and the general store for unique Alaskan souvenirs. This is all included in your 3 hour Black Bear & Wildlife Exploration! With return transportation back to the cruise ship docks, you'll be left with time in your day to partake in other excursions Ketchikan offers or check out the sights downtown.

What's Included

Dock-to-dock transportation is included with this tour. A guide will meet you and provide a narration of the 16 mile round trip coastal drive to the reserve. A rain poncho will be provided if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the walking path/elevated boardwalk like?
The half-mile long trail is over relatively flat terrain on a well-maintained, compact gravel path and includes elevated bridges, boardwalks, and viewing decks. The wooden boardwalk sits along a protected estuary that follows Eagle Creek. These are safe, raised boardwalks that can be as high as 15 feet off the ground.
What if our cruise ship's schedule is canceled or delayed?
We will try our best to work with you to reschedule the tour to a later time. If that is not a possibility or your ship doesn't make it into port, then you will receive a refund, less any non-refundable fees.
Where does this tour meet?
Dock-to-dock transportation is included with this tour. Detailed meeting instructions are provided with your tour voucher. The guide provides a narration of the 8-mile coastal drive to the reserve.
Are we guaranteed to see bears?
Although the chances for seeing bears are excellent, wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. This tour only operates from late-July to late-September, when the river is filled with salmon. The elevated boardwalk overlooks Eagle Creek, where large numbers of black bears gather to feed. Your guide may change the order of the tour or time spent in any one area to give you the best chance to see bears.
What should I wear?
This tour operates in all weather conditions. Comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing, and waterproof jacket are recommended. A rain poncho can be provided if you need one. Don’t forget your sunglasses and camera!
How much time is dedicated to viewing bears?
The focus of this tour is on viewing black bears in their natural habitat. Your guide may change the order of the tour or time spent in any one area to give you the best chance to see bears. The bear viewing time is approximately 60 minutes.

Quick Facts


3h 00min

The minimum age for participants is 12 years old.

Cancel up to 14-days before the tour for a refund. No refund is available if canceled within 14-days of the tour. If for any reason your tour is canceled, or if your cruise ship’s schedule changes, you will receive a refund. Refunds do not include any non-refundable fees.


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