As a matter of fact, it is more than two times the size of Texas which is the second largest state. Those who have had the pleasure of visiting Alaska describe it as a “spontaneous” “raw” and “wild” place that arouses and ignites the spirit.
It is popularly known as the last frontier of the United States and has earned a reputation for its extensive parks and wild lands.
1. Research more about the animals of interest. This includes learning about where they live, their patterns of activities, what they eat and specific safety precautions to take when viewing them.
2. Wildlife viewing in Alaska is best at dawn and dusk; this is when most animals are active.
3. Cameras and a good pair of binoculars are essential. A camera with at least 200mm lens is preferred.
4. It’s better to move slowly while taking regular stops and listening keenly. However, it is not a good idea to creep up slowly to a bear.
5. It is essential to observe wildlife viewing etiquette and ethics. This includes respecting the environment and respecting the wildlife.
It is important to:
- Keep a respectable distance
- Not chase animals
- Move in small groups
- Not feed wild animals
- Not interfere with natural behavior
- Not litter
This could explain why bear-viewing tours in Alaska are relatively more expensive than other tours. According to experts, the following are the best bear viewing spots in Alaska.
- Denali National Park is one of the best places to see the big 5 of Alaska which includes bears. It is also renowned for its relative affordability. It is important to note that only park buses are allowed on the 95-mile Denali Park Road.
- Alaska Zoo caters to orphaned, injured and captive born animals. Visitors can get close up views of black bears, brown bears and even black bears in the zoo.
- Fish Creek is a popular location for both black and brown bears looking for salmon along the water. Mother bears with their cubs are also known to visit the creek frequently. The best time to see bears here is between July 15th and September 9th.
- Margaret Creek is a good place to view black bears feeding on salmon from the streams. It is possible to see up to 10 bears here. August 1st to September 15th is the best time to see bears here.
Often, they are seen wandering across roads, neighbourhoods and even sports fields. They are particularly plentiful in the winter as more of them seek lower ground in search of food. Professionals recommend the following spots for moose viewing;
- Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge – Potter Marsh
- Moose Lake is perfect for those hoping to catch a view of knock-kneed moose
- Kincaid Park is home to Anchorage’s largest population of moose
- Alaska Zoo
- Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
- Earthquake Park
- Homer Spit Trail
- Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge –Potter Mash.
- Alaska Zoo
- Kenai River viewing platform
- Eagle Beach
- Williwaw fish viewing platform
However, spotting them is quite tricky given that they stay high in the mountains and even along the sides of cliffs to avoid predators. Most times, they may appear as white dots.
- Windy point offers one of the best views of Dall sheep. In springtime, it is even possible to see young Dall sheep learning how to walk along the rocky cliffs.
- Alaska Zoo
- Mile 34.05 of Igloo Creek Campground.
- Mile 15 of the Savage River Loop Trail.
- Mile 15 of Savage River Loop Trail
- The east side of Bridge Access Road is a good place to see newborn caribou calves in the spring. Sometimes they also come here to feed in the summer.
- Chapman Lake and the Lost Patrol
Salmon are best seen in places such as Margaret Creek, Steep Creek fish viewing, Macaulay Salmon Hatchery and most notably, Ketchikan creek and falls.
When it comes to whale-viewing, experts suggest locations such as the Kenai River viewing platform, off Barwell Island, Akutan and Lowell Point Road among others. Alaska is the only place in North America where the Pacific walrus is found.
They are best seen in the summer when the male walruses gather on the beaches and islands in Western Alaska. While walrus-viewing is expensive, it is a thrilling experience for many. Good locations for walrus viewing include Cape Seniavin, Round Island and Cape Pierce.