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Pack Creek Bears on Admiralty Island

The Pack Creek bear viewing area on Admiralty Island is permit-only between June 1 and September 10, and is located up near the top of Seymour Canal. The island is home to an estimated 1,500 brown bears — more than all the Lower 48 states combined. From Juneau via float plane, it’s probably only half an hour, but by (Slow)boat from Juneau, it’s about 74 nautical miles and takes two days. A permit will set you back $50 per person, and there are only 12 per day offered for those not on a private tour. We applied before we left Juneau, and managed to secure the last three spots open for Tuesday, July 18th.

Airship and Safe Harbour met and anchored in Windfall Harbor on Monday evening. In the morning, we dinghied up to the clothesline dinghy system on the gravel spit, about 3 miles from our anchorage.

Established in 1935, the Pack Creek area has been managed jointly since 1985 by the Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. We were met by Michelle on the beach, who explained the particulars to us and then gave us directions for walking to the viewing area, where we were to meet Melissa. Michelle instructed us to stay close together and not to dawdle or stop to take photos until we arrived at the designated viewing area.

However, when we were about halfway up the beach, a sow and two cubs emerged from the woods.

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