Our goal is for you to experience bear country
Our goal is for you to explore the world-famous wilderness defined by bears and salmon. Our Alaskan guides bring knowledge, experience and stories to make this a trip-of-a-lifetime. Pack Creek Bear Tours was founded by Ken Leghorn, a pioneer of wilderness conservation and adventure tourism. We remain committed to sharing Ken’s passion for the places he’s helped to protect for us to enjoy. We offer personalized, guided bear viewing day trips from Juneau, Alaska to Pack Creek and other locations in Southeast Alaska.
About Pack Creek
Pack Creek is in the Admiralty Island National Monument and Kootznoowoo Wilderness, within the Tongass National Forest.
The Tlingit word “Kootznoowoo,” is interpreted as “Fortress of the Bear(s),” referring to the iconic brown bear. It is home to one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in Alaska or Canada, with an estimated 1,600 brown bears roaming Admiralty’s forests, beaches and alpine slopes. People have come to Pack Creek to see bears since the 1930s. Over generations, many bears have learned to tolerate human presence. The area is cooperatively managed by the USDA Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Pack Creek Bear Tours was awarded the top level of guided permits for Pack Creek by the US Forest Service.
We really think you’ll really enjoy spending time with our guides. Every guide at Pack Creek Bear Tours has years if not decades of experience leading trips into the Alaska wilderness, so each brings unique perspective to the experience of seeing wild bears. All are certified in Advances Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder.
Your guide’s knowledge, experience, and training enhances the safety and enjoyment of a bear encounter. Guides also carry first aid equipment, radio, and satellite communication devices. They’ll give instructions to help you enjoy your time in bear country and share their stories from years in the wilderness.
Bjorn Dihle, Lead Guide
Bjorn is a life long Alaskan, who first fell in love with Admiralty Island when he was four during a family camping trip. He works as a writer, guide and instructor of outdoor recreation courses when he wants to bump up his lifestyle. Otherwise, you’ll find him with the bears in the rain forest, following caribou in the Arctic or hiking around the Juneau area with his golden retriever Fenrir. You can follow him @bjorndihle.
Jess Skiba, Guide
Jess took an AmeriCorps position in Juneau, AK in the spring of 2011 as a crew leader and field educator for a conservation corps and has since never really officially left Juneau. She has worked in the outdoor field since then in SE AK and she spent three life-changing seasons with the Forest Service on Admiralty Island; two as a ranger at Pack Creek Brown Bear Viewing Area. In her off time she enjoys travelling to anywhere and pursuing her love for music and theater through performance. This is her favorite place in the world.
Bill Hanson, Guide
Bill Hanson is an Alaskan writer based in Juneau who lives, loves, and eats landscapes. Although he remains elusive, with a bit of luck he can be found rummaging through rainforests and salty water Archipelagos in search of wild foods, microhabitat coolness, and photos to nourish his @bhfootloose Instagram feed and Alaska Billy Blog at www.hansonalaska.com. Bill moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1977 where he worked as a Fire Ecologist for the Bureau of Land Management. Since 1981, he has made the rainforests and salty water channels of Southeast Alaska his home. He has worked as a forester, seafood cold storage manager, new product developer (salmon), and biologist. From 1997-2014, he supervised Southeast Alaska regional offices of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Ken Leghorn, Founder
Ken moved to Juneau in 1978 with his back pack, a degree in Biology, and a love of wilderness and wildlife. He spent the next 25 years as a guide, including his first visit to Pack Creek in 1980. Ken also became manager and co-owner of Alaska Discovery, the state’s oldest and largest wilderness guiding company, which was sold to Mountain Travel Sobek in 2000. He helped found and then managed Pack Creek Bear Tours, assembling and training our current crew. Ken passed away in 2017. His focus was on getting people “out there,” and helping them create their own experience. In addition to his long legacy as a guide, he was loved by his family, friends and community. Ken is remembered as a force in philanthropy and the conservation of Alaska’s wild places.
Hannah Wilson, Guide
Hannah was born and raised exploring the wilderness of Southeast Alaska by boat and foot and visited the Pack Creek bears for the first time as a toddler riding on her dad’s shoulders. When she’s not flying out to look at bears she guides expedition kayak trips in Glacier Bay, takes Juneau kids out and about in the rain forest for hands-on nature education, and manages water quality data for a local conservation organization. Her days off usually include working on her houseboat and running around the Juneau area looking for snow, wild animals and blueberries, with the main goal always being to tire out her dog, Rio.
Maia Wolf, Guide and Logistics Manager
Maia grew up in the Pacific Northwest and is at home in rainy Juneau. In addition to guiding bear viewing trips to Pack Creek, she is a wilderness kayak guide in Glacier Bay and a Wilderness EMT.
Dan Kirkwood, Guide and General Manager
Dan has worked in the wilderness with wildlife since he moved to Juneau in 2009. In addition to guiding, he was a wilderness ranger with the U.S. Forest Service in the glacial fjords of the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. After receiving a M.S. in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland, he managed the Alaska Wilderness League’s Rainforest Program. After several seasons guiding, Dan took over as General Manager in 2017, and works with the team to continue the company’s commitment to responsible wildlife viewing and wilderness ethics. Dan is also a musician in several bands.
Brock Tabor, Guide
With a background in geosciences, environmental policy and education, he is an avid outdoor enthusiast and professional naturalist. He has been a guide for more than 20 years.
Teresa Whipple, Guide
It was love at first breath of rain forest air for Teresa, a Tennessean by birth, when she landed in the Pacific Northwest 15 years ago. With her Captain’s license in hand, she has explored the Inside Passage waterways since, always on the lookout for wildlife. Teresa is a Naturalist specializing in the bear species of North America: black, brown and white. She is thrilled to join the Pack Creek team this year to continue sharing her passion for bears and an untamed world with other wilderness enthusiasts, and is delighted to have the opportunity to share the brown bears of Alaska that captured her own heart.
Alaska’s wild places are deeply important to all of us. There are lots of conservation groups doing good work in Alaska.
Wilderness conservation was a driving motivation for Ken. In addition to his constant advocacy for the old growth forests of Admiralty Island, he served on the board of Audubon Alaska, as the Chair of the Alaska Conservation Foundation and co-founded the Juneau Community Foundation and Discovery Southeast. This Juneau non-profit strives to provide every Juneau child a foundation in the outdoors, and a sense of comfort and curiosity in nature. We donate spots on our trips to raise money for Discovery Southeast, and many of our staff serve as board members or naturalists. We encourage you to make a donation so that Juneau kids can get outside and explore too!
As Alaska guides, we are also active participants in management of our public lands here in the Tongass National Forest. We advocate to ensure that there is Wilderness and wild places for all of us to explore. It’s our hope that you will too!
Pack Creek Bear Tours is operated by Fortress of the Bears LLC. Fortress of the Bears LLC is a partnership between Kootzoowoo Inc., the Alaska Native Village Corporation for the town of Angoon, on Admiralty Island, and Alaska Seaplanes, Juneau’s largest air taxi service for scheduled and chartered small plane service throughout the northern Inside Passage. Pack Creek Bear Tours is an equal opportunity service provider (per Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended). We operate our eco-tours under special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service Tongass National Forest or Alaska State Parks.