Pack Creek Bear Viewing
The US Forest Service and Alaska Department of Fish & Game co-manage the Pack Creek area and protect the serenity of the area by limiting the number of visitors. Permits to visit between June 1st and September 10th are required. The area is staffed during “high season” which is from July 5th to August 25th.
Pack Creek Wildlife Viewing Area is just a short 30 minute float plane ride from Juneau, Alaska. Enter the bear’s world and view these magnificent creatures in their natural setting fishing for salmon, playing with siblings, sleeping and roaming.
At the center of southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is Admiralty Island. At over a million acres, its gentle mountain slopes and steady precipitation create a lush temperate rain forest and ubiquitous salmon spawning habitat which makes it an ideal home for the Alaskan brown bear. The island boasts one of the healthiest bear populations in the world with approximately one bear per square mile, and is home to 1,500 bears as well as the highest concentration of bald eagles in the world.
The Tlingit people called this area “Kootznoowoo” meaning “fortress of the bears” from which Admiralty Island gets its name. At the island’s center is the Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area. Established in 1935, it has been actively managed since 1985 by the Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. After many generations, the bears have become accustomed to the presence of people and spend their time fattening up on salmon and rearing their young.
Upon arrival, you will disembark the plane into 8-12 inches of water on the beach. Boots are recommended and available to rent near our office for $20. A ranger will greet you and provide an orientation including rules and important information to be followed while visiting Pack Creek. You can then walk the beach to the viewing spit or hike about one mile to the observation tower and spend the day enjoying the wilderness.
No humans or bears have ever been harmed at Pack Creek. In order to maintain this record, all visitors must strictly follow the rules. This will ensure a safe and stress free environment for the bears that make Pack Creek their home.
Facilities and Permits
The Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area is within a Wilderness Area. This means there are no facilities on site: no bathrooms, no shelter from the elements, and no cell phone service.
Bear-proof lockers are available for storing all food and gear. Food is allowed at Pack Creek, but it is restricted to the entrance site.
Camping is one of best ways to make the most of your trip. Although camping is not allowed in the immediate Pack Creek area, camping is permitted on nearby Windfall Island as well as on Swan Island and in Windfall Harbor.
When you have purchased your permits contact us and we will reserve your flight. We will do all the flying and you will do all the touring. The typical visitor to Pack Creek spends between 4 and 6 hours there. Visitors can arrive as early as 9:00am with our latest pick-up being 6:30pm. Your permits and more information can be found at Recreation.gov.
In 2018 our aircraft, loads, limits and prices to Pack Creek are as follows:
- Cessna 180 | up to 750lbs | up to 3 passengers | $624.00
- Cessna 185 | up to 550lbs | up to 3 passengers | $660.00 *amphibious
- Cessna 206 | up to 800lbs | up to 4 passengers | $684.00
- DeHavilland Beaver | up to 1200lbs | up to 6 passengers | $1,120.00
- DeHavilland Otter | up to 2400lbs | up to 10 passengers | $2,064.00
If you’d prefer an all-inclusive guided trip we highly recommend contacting Bear Creek Outfitters or Above and Beyond Alaska.