Brad Josephs: Gray wolf and brown bears, mother and cubs, brown bear and snow
Fungai Katsande: Kodiak hiking
Marion Owen: Sea otters, whale tail, stellar sea lions
C. Friedman Scout: Grizzly ship
Dan Crandall: Katmai tidal flats Holly Glessner: Traveler in fireweed, guide with binoculars Suzanne Kiser: Zodiac, seated travelers with bear
Close Encounters With the Mighty Brown Bears of Katmai from Our Private Small Ship
Nature puts on few displays as arresting as Alaskan brown bears feeding on summer’s bounty. These bears—the largest coastal grizzlies in the world—gorge on spawning salmon as the fish swim up the rivers that pour onto these wild beaches. Our private chartered boat, the Natural Habitat Ursus, is ideally designed for our Alaska adventure cruise, offering an exclusive opportunity to follow the bears along the shoreline as they fish, dig for clams and amble along the beach. Ashore, we have an even closer vantage point as we watch on foot with our guide from a careful distance. The bears could not be more nonchalant about our presence! Here in Katmai National Park, experience this rarest of encounters with Ursus arctos in all its untamed majesty.
Get closer to giant brown bears—the world's biggest coastal grizzlies—in a wilder setting than anywhere else on Earth...safely on foot!
Cruising just offshore aboard our private chartered ship allows unparalleled access for bear watching, in the most intimate of contexts
View bears foraging on the beach as we walk ashore in the careful company of our naturalist Expedition Leader, whose bear expertise adds immeasurably to your experience
The World's Most Intimate Grizzly Encounter!
You’ve seen pictures of Alaska’s enormous brown bears lumbering over tide flats, feasting on salmon, nurturing frisky cubs. Many travelers come to Alaska expecting to see them. But the fact is, very few will. These coastal grizzlies live in the remote reaches of Katmai National Park, far from any cruise ship or tour bus route. Few visitors to Alaska are fortunate to get to the heart of brown bear country, and certainly not the way we do, on the ground in very small groups, as up close and personal as you'll ever safely get with wild bears! Click here to read about the "ebbs and flows" of a grizzly bear season—what sorts of behaviors and activities you can expect when. If you're looking for the ultimate Alaska bear experience, this is it:
A Maximum of Just 8 Travelers Because we travel aboard a privately chartered small ship, our group is limited to a maximum of eight guests. A very small group is essential to approach the bears safely without disturbing them. You won't find a more intimate and personal bear-viewing context! Nor will you find a better guide-to-guest ratio on any Alaskan tour.
An Exclusive Itinerary into the Heart of Coastal Grizzly Habitat
Our itinerary, which is offered solely by Natural Habitat Adventures, focuses exclusively on nature and bears—not busy ports and tourist towns. In fact, you can't get here by cruise ship or by road—we access this untouched wilderness by floatplane, then transfer to a private small ship to explore the coast. This is an experience you simply cannot get on a standard Alaska tour package.
Our Own Privately Chartered Ship We travel aboard our own chartered vessel, the Natural Habitat Ursus, where we are the sole guests. This converted research ship, comfortably retrofitted to accommodate tourists, is ideal for exploring the scenic wilderness waterways of Katmai National Park. Specially designed for shallow water navigation, the Ursus allows us to cruise close to shore, watching bears foraging in the meadows and clamming on the tideflats. And because we sleep aboard at night, our route can be flexible—we follow the bears!
Watch Bears on Foot—Just Yards Away! It seems impossible to fathom, standing at close range on the ground with Alaska's mighty brown bears. Yet that's exactly the amazing opportunity this unique adventure affords. When we step ashore among the bears, we are the only humans around—and they are completely nonchalant about our presence! It's the only experience of its kind available anywhere.
Explore Kodiak Island or Kachemak Bay by Chartered Boat Depending on which departure you select, your itinerary will include a private boat tour from Kodiak Island or Kachemak Bay off Homer. Kodiak is remote, well off the standard Alaska tour itinerary. Yet its rockbound coves, tidal pools and offshore seabird rookeries abound with wildlife. On a chartered dayboat cruise, we're likely to see sea lions, otters, puffins, bald eagles, and often whales. Our skippers are also gourmet cooks, and we enjoy the personal touch of a home-cooked lunch aboard the boat. The Kachemak Bay cruise is likewise an opportunity to witness abundant marine life including whales, porpoises, sea otters and sea lions, and we may glimpse moose, black bears or coyotes on shore, too.
The World's Finest Naturalist Guides The NHA Expedition Leaders who guide our grizzly adventures are professional naturalists and bear experts. We take pride in employing Alaska's most qualified, dedicated and passionate natural history guides, and our Alaska Expedition Leaders average more than 15 years’ experience each. They also receive additional training from leading WWF scientists. Our Expedition Leaders regale guests with their in-depth knowledge while remaining close at hand to ensure safety and comfort in every respect. See Expedition Leader bios and traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
A Commitment to Bears & Other Wildlife In support of our commitment to the conservation of Alaska's brown bears and other wildlife, we've created a special website, Bears & Beyond, managed and edited by NHA Expedition Leader and bear expert Brad Josephs. The site is a showcase for photos and stories about bears and other wild animals, including wolves. Take a look, and share the link with your friends, too!
Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Superior Alaska Bear Encounter Natural Habitat Adventures offers an exclusive guarantee, which clearly states that we will meet the lofty expectations established in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
Feel Good About the Way You Travel We care deeply about our planet, as we know you do. When you travel with us, the carbon emissions from your trip are 100-percent offset—Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company.
Natural Habitat is WWF's Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our adventures. World Wildlife Fund—the planet's leading environmental conservation organization—has named Natural Habitat as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
Longitude Books has created a custom comprehensive listing of Alaska travel books for this trip.
Avoid the crowds on an intimate small-group adventure to Alaska's best wildlife spots, including the brown bears of Katmai, Kenai Fjords and the backcountry wilderness of Denali National Park. 13 Days / Jun - Aug, From $10795
From our private small ship, step ashore for amazing close-ups of enormous Alaskan brown bears as they forage and fish for salmon on the beach. 8 Days / June - Sep, From $9295
Great Alaskan Grizzly Photo Adventure
Nature puts on few displays as arresting as Alaskan brown bears feeding on late-summer’s bounty. The bears of Kodiak Island—the largest grizzlies in the world—gorge on spawning salmon as they swim up the rivers that pour onto these wild beaches. Our private chartered boat offers an exclusive opportunity to follow and photogragh the bears along the shoreline as they fish, dig for clams and lope along the beach. Ashore, as we walk with our experienced guide, we have an even closer vantage point as we watch from a careful distance. Here in Katmai National Park, experience this rarest of encounters with Ursus arctos in all its untamed majesty!