Meet the Mighty Brown Bears of Katmai Up Close 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 clams, mussels, sedges and spawning salmon as the fish swim up the glacial-fed rivers that pour onto these wild beaches. Our private chartered small ship, the Natural Habitat Ursus, is ideally designed for our Alaska wilderness expedition, offering an exclusive opportunity to follow the bears along the wild shoreline as they fish, forage and amble along the beach. Ashore, we have an even closer vantage point as we watch safely on foot with our Expedition Leader, a naturalist bear expert who knows these magnificent animals intimately. The grizzlies 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.
- Extraordinary Close EncountersYou won't believe how close you'll get to giant brown bears—the world's biggest coastal grizzlies—in a wilder setting than anywhere else on Earth...safely on foot!
- A Private Ship for Exclusive AccessCruising just offshore on our private chartered ship allows unparalleled access for bear viewing, in the most remote and intimate of contexts
- Guided by Expert Bear NaturalistsWatch bears foraging on the beach as we walk ashore in the careful company of our Expedition Leader, whose bear expertise adds immeasurably to your experience
A Day in the Life of an Alaska Grizzly Guide
Katmai National Park & Preserve, Alaska
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 our Alaska adventure cruise takes place aboard a privately chartered vessel, 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 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, originally a crab fishing boat that has been retrofitted to comfortably accommodate guests, is ideal for exploring the scenic bays of Katmai National Park. Ursus cruises close to the coastline, allowing us to watch bears foraging in the meadows and clamming on the tide flats, then traveling ashore by skiff to view them on foot. And because we sleep aboard at night, our route can be flexible—we follow the bears!
- Watch Bears on Foot—Sometimes Just Feet Away!
It seems impossible to fathom that we can stand on the ground at close range with Alaska's mighty brown bears. Yet that's exactly the opportunity this unique adventure affords. When we step ashore among the bears, we are generally the only humans around—and the bears are completely nonchalant about our presence! They often wander past in such proximity that you won't even need your telephoto lens!
- Explore the Shores & Bays of Kodiak Island by Chartered Boat
Our itinerary includes a private boat tour from Kodiak Island. Kodiak is remote, well off the standard Alaska tour itinerary, and its rockbound coves and tidal pools abound with wildlife. On a chartered day cruise, we're likely to see sea lions, otters, puffins, bald eagles, and often whales. 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!