Press Release

Small Ship Cruises and Land Excursions Reveal Opportunities For Sightings of Bear in the Wild

Here are some bear facts about bear sightings with AdventureSmith Explorations,, the travel company that secures matches between adventure-seeking clients and a treasure trove of small expedition ships and wilderness lodges.

“Bears are cute but those spotted during a small ship expedition cruise are in the backcountry where it’s as wild as it gets,” said Todd Smith, founder and director. “Our method of accessing remote islands and coastlines where larger ships can’t sail along with the guidance of trained naturalists offer opportunities for bear-centric guests to encounter wildlife at a close but secure distance, without impacting their natural habitat.”

Following are opportunities in Alaska and elsewhere to see bears in uncompromised wilderness through small ship and float plane access to the landscape. The ships and lodges referenced are represented by AdventureSmith Explorations.

The expedition shipPacific Catalyst II has been awarded permits to guide travelers to the Pack Creek Zoological Area on Admiralty Island to view the highest concentration of Brown Bears in the world (about one per square mile). Wild and unhabituated to the presence of humans this is widely considered to be the “best Brown Bear viewing opportunity in SE Alaska” and is now included in the seven night cruise itinerary. For details see:

Another highly popular trip and Alaska cruise extension is viewing the Brown Bears of Katmai based from the Brooks Lodge. Here they gather upstream from a series of lakes in Katmai National Park and where Brooks Falls impedes the progress of spawning salmon, making an easy meal and a high concentration of bears. A land-based lodge program operates in this region from May through September, but the best month is July when the Sockeye Salmon run is at its peak. Smith advised that bookings should be made earlier as it can be hard to obtain dates. See:

A trip called Within the Wild is float-plane accessed tour based from Winterlake Lodge with a day of Brown Bear viewing in Redoubt Bay, a unique setting where bears are viewed from small boats that navigate river mouths were salmon congregate and acclimatize to fresh water before swimming upstream to spawn.


Annan Creekis the Black Bear viewing spot in Southeast Alaska. Located 30 miles outside of Wrangell, it is within reach of some small ships and yachts; however because special permits are required and group sizes are small, this option is best for charter yachts only.  For travelers beginning a cruise in Juneau or Ketchikan it is possible to have AdventureSmith Explorations arrange an overnight in Wrangell with a bear viewing trip to Anan Creek. 

There are ample bear viewing opportunities outside of Alaska as well. Popular small ship cruises to see Polar Bears include: Realm of the Polar Bear visiting the remote island of Spitsbergen: and Land of the Ice Bear visiting Arctic Svalbard, a remote archipelago situated just over 350 miles north of Norway's North Cape.


Russian Brown Bears can be viewed on Natural Treasures of the Russian Far East.


Possible but “very, very rarely” a Spectacled Bear may be viewed on the Peru Mountain Lodge Trek according to Smith.


About Adventure Smith Explorations

AdventureSmith Explorations is the global leader in small ship, adventure cruise vacations. Company founder Todd Smith helped pioneer the concept of wilderness cruising that combines the comforts of a small cruise ship with the adventure of sea kayaking, hiking and exploring remote wilderness areas ashore. The company matches guests with the top names in small ship cruising as well with intimate, boutique ships that may not make the radar of most travelers.

In moving through exotic natural environments and exploring vibrant native cultures seldom associated with more mainstream cruise itineraries, AdventureSmith Explorations dedicates its efforts to small footprint, sustainable travel and has launched a carbon free cruising initiative. Its off-the-beaten-path destinations include Alaska, Baja, Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Hawaii, Peru, the Arctic, Antarctica, and Australia.

Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, California along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe.  Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or 530-583-1775. Email: or visit:

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