Firsthand Grizzly Bear Stories, News, and Updates From Alaska

Our Bear Stories Give You A Sense of What It’s Like On Our Tours

The great thing about working in bear country is that we collect a lot of firsthand grizzly bear stories. While they’re all entertaining, some of them really convey the amazing feelings that our guests experience on our eco-tours. Because we know our prospective guests want to know “what it’s really like to experience a wilderness bear viewing tour”, we’ve collected some of them here for you.

Check Back Often for the Latest Bear Stories

Check back here often for new firsthand grizzly bear stories from Admiralty Island, Alaska, so you can be sure not to miss out! Also, don’t miss this amazing video that does a great job capturing the magic of Pack Creek Bear Tours.


Bears and Humans Wait for Salmon I went out fishing before work. Rumors abound, there are fish around. I didn't catch anything, but I saw fish jumping. They are coming in! From their long pelagic sojourn, returning home. There has already been plenty of lyrical writing about wild salmon. I don't have much to add but this: Every year, it is a miracle. Every year it is a pulse of life that wakes everything in Alaska. They lift the sea. The tide lifts them. The bears are waiting for the fish. The people are waiting for the fish. It's about to begin!   Continue Reading
Happy Birthday Jane This is such a classic story. An intense, committed young scientist, charismatic wildlife, a captivating narrator (Orson Welles!) and one of the great stories of meeting the "other." This is a well-trod narrative now, but worth watching to see how this genre started before watching Our Planet on Netflix. Observing Wildlife and Science While I am not a scientist, the personal study and of wildlife is still richly rewarding. I have great respect for the students of biology, evolution and ecology that slog away long hours gathering and analyzing data to answer questions about genetics or modeling in R. This documentary celebrates the value of field work. It's a good reminder to all of us to be observant out of doors. Meeting Animals and Seeing Ourselves Jane Goodall also balances the strange intersection of data collection and the experience of meeting another being that lives on our planet. The more I observe bears, the more comparisons to human behavior… Continue Reading
A Small Piece of Ken Leghorn’s Legacy Ken was guiding in Alaska before I was born. So I can't say much about his early years up here. I'll leave that to friends and family. They explored the wildest rivers in Alaska, chased bears in Russia and found perfect snow while backcountry skiing in Juneau. For me, Ken was the always-enthusiastic force that got me away from my desk and back out into the Wilderness. He was the kind of person you always wanted to say yes to. When I showed mild interest, he had me leading trips to Pack Creek. I was a few years past my days as a Wilderness Ranger with the Forest Service, still up on all my certifications, but firmly behind a desk. When a chance would come to fly out to Pack Creek on a sunny afternoon, I'd happily closed my laptop and head for the airport. When I would return home from a trip, well past dinner but the summer sun… Continue Reading
Chris Morgan, Jeff Bridges and the Grizzly Ecologist Chris Morgan made this lovely piece with Legend Jeff Bridges. I've been lucky enough to get to know Chris a little bit through my work in conservation. Chris is the real deal, one of the few people presenting natural history today with real bear skills. He's got passion too. I've never met Mr. Bridges, but if I do I'll thank him for his work with grizzlies. This video reminds me that we're so lucky to have places like Alaska. Alaska still has the wild places that allow bears to thrive. I'm excited for Chris's work in the North Cascades. Living around grizzlies is not easy but I can confidently report that it's worth it. Continue Reading
A Good Bear Encounter This past summer, I had a great bear encounter with a small group of guests. The bear was relaxed and walked by, maybe 10 or 12 yards away. Brown bears, or coastal grizzlies, are dangerous animals. While we can never say that bears are "safe," we can manage the risk and have really outstanding viewing. We purposefully go looking for bear encounters. At Pack Creek Bear Tours, we have years of experience reading brown bear behavior and body language. We've learned subtle ways of moving through bear country that increase the safety of every trip. A good encounter with a coastal grizzly might sound like a contradiction, but here's what it looks like to me. A good bear encounter starts with happy, wild bears surrounded by vast wilderness. A bear paradise, vast oceans with healthy oceans and abundant wild salmon. These are well-fed bears, with room to roam. We have to go to them, so it starts with a float… Continue Reading
July and August filling fast Hi folks, Early July has only a few seats left for Pack Creek. We have a scattering of availability in late July. Waterfall Creek presents some great opportunities starting late July, so check that out if your preferred dates are full at Pack Creek. August should be great at either Pack Creek or Waterfall, so take a look at both options. Feel free to call if you want to talk about the details of either trip. Hope everyone is enjoying a great winter! Continue Reading
The zen of watching bears. A Conversation with Northwest Navigation I spent some time chatting about bears and the Pack Creek experience with our friends at Northwest Navigation Co. (Home of the M/V David B). We team up with them for a few trips each year. Here we talk about the zen of wildlife watching and more. Hope you enjoy!       Continue Reading
Brown Bear Viewing Guidelines Close encounters are thrilling. Having a bear walk by at close range makes my heart pound every time. When we go into bear country we find that our guests often have very high expectations for bear encounters. These expectations might come from seeing photos taken with powerful telephoto lenses and film footage of bears at extremely close range. Sometimes bears come close, other times their business may have them farther away. We bring scopes and binoculars so that we can all enjoy a close look. That being said, your guide will share tips and techniques to set you up for success and the best chance of seeing bears up close. I thought that some of you might be interested in looking at some of the guidelines that professional guides and biologists have developed. These guidelines are an excellent overview of many of the things I think about in the field and when planning a trip. It's a fairly nerdy deep-dive… Continue Reading
The Old Girl Lives There is a famous bear at Pack Creek. A matriarch of the meadow who has been there for decades. No one is sure how old she is. But we can confirm that as of yesterday, she is still here! One of these winters will likely be her last. Throughout this past winter we all wondered and speculated. She had ended the summer looking thin and ragged. There was very lis ittle snow pack to insulate the dens. She must already be so old. Yesterday was my first day on the ground at Pack Creek this year. We saw a few other bears before she hobbled out onto the mud flats. She broke her leg years ago, a compound fracture that somehow healed. Like most female bears, she has a small home range and tends to stick close to Pack Creek. Some speculate that she was a cub born in 1984, but FS Manager John Neary is skeptical. Bears in the… Continue Reading
The Grandeur of the Fortress of the Bears This video captures the spirit of everything I love about a day at Pack Creek. Taylor has bottled the feel of a trip to Pack Creek. He captures warm smiles and the grandeur of the land. Of course, there are bears. Pack Creek is in a protected Wilderness. Thanks to the efforts of previous generations, the land will take its own course without our efforts to improve it. That's the way we want it. It's also a special place where we get walk among brown bears. Have you ever seen a bear? Have you ever had to chance to linger and watch it relax in its wilderness home? You can see more of his work at Continue Reading