Brown Bears & Calving Glaciers
Explore a wildlife rich slice of Alaska, set in the scenic wilderness settings of Lake Clark National Park, and the Chugach National Forest Wilderness of Prince William Sound. Get off the beaten path, without crowds, and experience unparalleled photographic and wildlife viewing opportunities, while part of a small group. Begin the journey with an exploration of the remote corners of Prince William Sound on a five-day voyage, observing marine and terrestrial wildlife such as black bear, sea otters, harbor seals, whales, sea lions and puffins, amidst a spectacular blend of mountain, forest, and glacial scenery.
Next take a scenic bush flight to one of the most remote and road less national Parks in Alaska; Lake Clark. Stay in a comfortable lodge, for 3 days of intimate bear viewing, where you are on the ground with coastal brown bears, as they feed, nurse, mate and play in the lush green, flower filled meadows of the Cook Inlet coast. Take home countless memories and photographs under the expert guidance of Alaska resident, naturalist, and professional photographer Hugh Rose.
With over 25 years of experience conducting small group photo and natural history tours we have gotten to know our subjects and places better than anyone. This allows us to better predict wildlife behavior and have you ready and in position when the action begins and to have minimal impact on the wildlife we are observing and photographing. In addition we include everything in the tour price, no hidden costs. The only extras on this trip are gratuities on the boat and at the bear lodge and one meal in Anchorage.
|Day 1||Arrive in Anchorage||Susitna Place B&B||D|
|Day 2 - 4||Drive to Whittier to board the Discovery for a five-day voyage on Prince William Sound.||M/V Discovery||B, L, D|
|Day 5||Spend the morning on Prince William Sound then disembark and return to Anchorage late afternoon.||Susitna Place B&B||B, L|
|Day 6 - 8||Scenic flight from Anchorage to Silver Salmon Creek Lodge, photograph Brown Bears and other wildlife in Lake Clark National Park.||Silver Salmon Creek Lodge||B, L, D|
|Day 9||Enjoy more wildlife action then fly back to Anchorage for a farewell dinner.||Susitna Place B&B||B, L, D|
|Day 10||Fly home from Anchorage, Alaska.|
Sail Aboard the Discovery
Our five-day voyage on Prince William Sound will be aboard the Discovery, meticulously fitted to combine comfort and utility with an atmosphere of charm and style. The lower deck includes sleeping accommodations for up to twelve guests in six cabins, plus crew quarters, two bathrooms with hot showers, and storage space. Guests can readily view and photograph panoramic scenery and marine life from the ship’s complete walk-around deck and expansive windows. Unlike the cumbersome cruise ship giants, the Discovery’s size enables access to Alaska’s lesser-traveled, more intimate inside passages.
Day 1: Arrive in Anchorage, Alaska
Arrive in Anchorage, Alaska. Lodging on this night is included for you at Susitna Place Bed and Breakfast near downtown. We will have a welcome dinner at 7:00pm for a brief introduction and orientation to the trip.
Day 2 - 4: Prince William Sound aboard the Discovery
You’ll travel to the small port town of Whittier on the western side of Prince William Sound to rendezvous with the Discovery and begin your five-day voyage through breathtaking glacial scenery, blue icebergs, and spectacular marine life in the Nellie-Juan College Fjord Wilderness of the Chugach National Forest in Prince William Sound. On land, lush vegetation drapes the hillsides in green, as streaming waterfalls cascade down the rocky cliffs, while in the water marine life abounds. Harbor seals hauled out on ice floes and bald eagles perched atop trees, watch as the Discovery navigates quietly past in turquoise waters. You’ll search for marine mammals such as sea otters, often seen sunbathing on icebergs or carrying young on their bellies and humpback whales which frequent the Sound in summer to feed on juvenile salmon and herring. Listen to the cracks, pops, and thunderous roars of calving glaciers while the Discovery drifts by these active rivers of ice and paddle your kayak through icebergs as curious harbor seals check you out!
Prince William Sound is surrounded by the northern-most temperate rainforest in the world and many land mammals and birds can be found such as black bear, river otters and countless songbirds. You’ll spend time walking on shore among the wildflowers and magical moss draped old growth forest. Kayaking affords a water-level opportunity to view and photograph the wonders of the sound from seabirds to sea lions and no experience is necessary!
Day 5: Prince William Sound to Anchorage
The last morning on board the Discovery, you will wake to some of the world’s most spectacular scenery with sprawling glaciers and a panoramic skyline of mountain grandeur. After a morning adventure we will navigate back to Whittier for a late afternoon disembarkation and return van trip to Anchorage. While driving along the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet, be sure to keep an eye out for dall sheep on the cliffs above and beluga whales in the waters of the Arm. You will overnight at the Susitna Place B&B and have an evening on your own to relax and explore the many fine restaurants within walking distance in downtown Anchorage.
Day 6 - 8: Silver Salmon Creek Lodge for Brown Bears and other wildlife
From Anchorage, you’ll take a one-hour flight to Silver Salmon Creek Lodge, situated on the coast of Cook Inlet within Lake Clark National Park. The scenic flight, will take you along the north coast of Cook Inlet at the foot of towering glacier draped active volcanoes of the Alaska Range!
During the flight, photograph spectacular volcanoes towering to over 10,000 feet with verdant meadows and forest as a foreground. The flight will end with landing on the beach in front of the lodge. Silver Salmon Creek Lodge is on 40 acres of private land within the coastal region of the expansive park, offering views of the coast and towering volcanic peaks.
The opportunity to observe concentrations of coastal brown bears in their natural habitat is the primary attraction of this remote wilderness area. Due to their high-protein salmon diet, coastal brown bears are significantly larger than the interior grizzly bears (both are subspecies of brown bear, Ursus arctos). Most of the time spent here will be observing and photographing the phenomenal bear activity, sometimes even from the deck of your cabin. You’ll look for mothers with cubs as well as larger male bears as they dig for clams at low tide and forage for grass in the meadows. Abundant wildflowers in early July, such as lupine, wild geranium, and wild celery (Angelica) will add a splash of color to your photos. As you move into the habitat of the bear, you may witness seldom-seen behaviors, such as courting, mating, and nursing. Keep your eye out for wolves and other wildlife that inhabit the park as well.
Birding around Silver Salmon Creek Lodge is excellent with an abundance of shorebirds, songbirds, and birds of prey such as peregrine falcons and northern harriers. Nearby, small islands, host nesting pelagic birds such as horned and tufted puffins, parakeet auklets, murres, and common eiders. If time and weather permits, you will make a half day boat voyage to “Bird Island,” a major nesting ground for horned and tufted puffins and common murres with excellent photography opportunities.
Day 9: Wildlife viewing and scenic flight to Anchorage
You will have the morning for one last bear viewing opportunity and to take in the wildlife and scenery around Silver Salmon Creek before departing for the flight back to Anchorage. Tonight you’ll enjoy a farewell dinner together at a local restaurant.
Day 10: Fly home from Anchorage
Included in the price:
- All activities, leaders, transport, park entry and user fees, landing fees and permits unless described as optional.
- Accommodations for the nights of June 25 through July 4.
- Meals from dinner on June 25 through breakfast on July 5 except dinner on June 30 in Anchorage
- Round-trip flights between Anchorage and Silver Salmon Creek Lodge.
- Group airport transfer on July 1 and 4 in Anchorage.
- Complimentary beverages (wine, beer, spirits, sodas, juice) aboard the Discovery.
- Beer while staying at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge.
- Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.
- Rubber boots, rain gear, and kayaks available for use aboard the Discovery.
Not included in the price:
- All Airfare (except flights listed as included), airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees.
- Dinner on June 30 in Anchorage.
- Airport transfers in Anchorage at the beginning and end of the trip.
- Gratuities for the crew of the Discovery: tipping is, of course, discretionary, however we suggest budgeting a total of $200–$260 per participant to be distributed among the three Discovery crewmembers.
- Gratuities for the guide and staff at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge: tipping is, of course, discretionary. It is customary to tip about $60–$70 per participant for our guide and about $50–$60 per participant to be split among the lodge staff.
- Additional night(s) and meals in Anchorage or Silver Salmon Creek Lodge if weather delays the flight to or from SSCL.
- Emergency medical and evacuation insurance and trip cancellation insurance.
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages (except on the Discovery), items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation/Release Form.
Payment, Reservation & Cancellations:
Payments will be due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule and cancellation policy as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.
- Deposit, due at time of reservation – $1000
- Second Payment, August 15th – $2500
- Final Payment, January 15th – Remaining Balance
Until the Second Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date, unless we can fill the space(s) you have reserved.
We visit South Central and South East Alaska on this tour, where we can expect a wide range of temperature, weather, and wind conditions during the summer months. Daytime temperatures usually range from 45–75°F with nights typically in the 50’s. Remember part of this trip visits the coastal temperate rainforest so rain is possible, as are warm, sunny days.
No part of this tour requires participants to be in excellent physical condition, however, we do walk and spend hours photographing and observing wildlife. Our voyage in Prince William Sound will include landings and opportunities to hike on shore, typically no more than a mile or two on varying terrain. Walks and hikes are generally at a slow pace with stops for observation and photography and may be skipped by anyone that is not interested or able. Kayaking is also an option, but no experience is necessary. You must be able to climb up and down a steep, narrow staircase on the boat. At Silver Salmon Creek Lodge, we may walk over a mile each day on flat terrain at a slow pace. We are transported at Silver Salmon Creek in a trailer behind a 4-wheeler, which can be bouncy. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging.
Spend five days and four nights aboard the cozy and comfortable, twelve-passenger Discovery. Up to six additional Discovery guests may join our group for the Prince William Sound portion of our trip on the Discovery. Transfer from Anchorage to Whittier (where we board the Discovery) is by private van along the scenic shores of Turnagain Arm and through the Chugach Mountains by way of a 2.5 mile long, WW II era tunnel.
Take a scenic round-trip flight in a small aircraft between Anchorage and Silver Salmon Creek Lodge. On this flight you will fly the coastline of Cook Inlet, past the towering, glacier draped, active, volcanoes of the Alaska Range.
Lodging throughout the trip is very comfortable albeit basic at times. Since we are traveling in remote locations, options are limited, but we have found excellent choices in all locations and will enjoy the rustic Alaskan feel and remoteness of our lodge and boat. Rooms at SSCL have private baths, however, while on board the Discovery you will have shared baths. Each of the Discovery cabins has bunk beds, a small clothing closet, and drawers for your personal belongings; the two shared bathrooms provide complete facilities including hot showers. See the Discovery, website for more information including photos www.discoveryvoyages.com.