Thank you so much for the awesome Anan experience. We talk about it everyday…
See Wild Bears
Full Day Tour
Watch And Photograph Wild Bears Catching Wild Salmon
The Anan Wildlife Observatory is world-renowned for its extraordinary bear viewing opportunities. Home to one of Alaska’s largest pink salmon runs, it attracts a significant number of bears both brown and black, as well as hundreds of eagles, seals, and other wildlife that rely on the salmon as a major food source. A day trip to Anan is one of the best ways to see bears and other wildlife in their natural setting. Enjoy stunning scenery and lots of action!
See wild bears catch wild salmon
Guided naturalist interpretation
Enjoy a picturesque cruise
Explore nature on our rainforest walk
Take a front-row seat to see and photograph the best of Alaskan wildlife
6:30 to 9:00 am depending on weather and tides. We will confirm your departure time.
Downtown City Dock – Summer float (in front of the Stikine Inn) or other pre-arranged location. Let us know if you need transportation.
June 25 through September 5
7 to 9 hours
2 people minimum, 6 maximum per vessel and guide – Call us for all other options.
For the most serious wildlife enthusiasts and professional photographers we regularly offer our boat and guide privately. We will stay on-site as long as the US Forest Service will allow and dedicate the entire schedule to your specific objectives and agenda.
This tour requires the ability to walk one mile over natural terrain, call us if you have a disability and we can help accommodate you, or for more information about this trial
- USFS access permit
- Water (to minimize waste, we encourage you to bring your own reusable water container)
- You will have access to binoculars, maps, and walking sticks
- Travel to and from Wrangell
- Sales tax
What to bring
- Camera or cell phone with well-charged batteries.
- Plenty of memory cards.
- Wear sturdy, comfortable, closed-toe shoes.
- To reduce plastic waste, personal water bottles are encouraged.
- Light rain gear is great to have along as the weather conditions can change throughout the day.
- Temperatures vary, come prepared and dress in layers and even consider bring a hat and gloves.
- A day pack is great for keeping your gear together.
- We are gone all day-bring a lunch to eat while on the boat.
About your guide
- US Coast Guard masters licensed captain.
- Our guides are certified as: Alaska naturalist, State of Alaska Guides
- National certified interpretive guides.
- Personally guided by an experienced naturalist bear guide.
Anan Wildlife Observatory visits are highly sought after. Access requires special permits that are very limited in number for each viewing day. Early reservations for this tour are highly recommended. We only take small groups. Give us a call to check availability or if you have any questions about this once-in-a-lifetime trip!
1. Start Your Remarkable Journey
You will meet at city dock and we’ll make sure you have everything you need for a day with the bears. We often depart Wrangell early for better lighting and increased opportunity in the photo blind (a location to get up-close photos of the bears).
2. Underway For Adventure
Anan is located in Tongass National Forest (35 miles from Wrangell, Alaska), which is accessible only by boat or floatplane. We’ll get underway in one of our custom built tour vessels that are covered, heated, and comfortable. You will enjoy a picturesque one-hour cruise. It’s not unusual for us to see wildlife along the way! We will chat about the Tongass, its bears, and what you can expect to experience from your day at Anan.
3. Rainforest Walk
When we arrive at Anan we will disembark the vessel. While you take in the beautiful setting and organize your gear, we’ll take care of all the permitting paperwork with the US Forest Service. Following a brief introduction, by one of our highly trained guides, you’ll be stunned by the eagles, seals, and other wildlife that are gathering here for the abundant pink salmon run. Our professional guides will lead you on a half-mile journey through the sanctuary on a well-maintained trail (see below for more details). You’ll enjoy our easy-going pace while your guide tells you more about Anan, its history, ecosystem, and wildlife. We often have an opportunity to view bears as we make our way to the observatory platform.
4. Your Front Row Seat
When we arrive at the viewing platform, plan on settling in here for an extended stay of bear viewing and photography. The viewing platform is perfectly placed on a bluff above the bears’ favorite fishing hole. You’ll have the freedom to relax and move around the deck as you wish. There’s so much to look at, it’s difficult to decide which vantage point is the best!
Your guide is right there to spot bears for you, answer questions, and enhance your experience. There is a special photo blind right at creek level and we will make sure you are signed up for a unique chance to view bears at eye level. Spend your day soaking in this amazing place in the towering rainforest adjacent to a salmon-filled stream.
5. You’re Not Done Yet
When our small group is tired, hungry, and likely maxed out their camera card, we will make our way back to the boat on the estuary trail. Board the boat for a casual and fun voyage back to Wrangell. Generally, we like to share our best photos of the day and get into our long-overdue lunches! As we cruise back, we will share some of the interesting sites along the way. You’ll be glad you took our tour because we stay longer.
What’s Different About Alaska Charters And Adventures
Small Groups: While we have the capability to accommodate larger groups, we feel that wildlife viewing and photography along with real wilderness surroundings are best experienced by very small groups. Being part of a large tour group doesn’t lend itself to the up-close and personal experience we strive to provide our guests. You can expect us to recognize your individual interests, limitations, and expectations.
Training and Experience: Our mission is to provide you with the highest quality professional guides and captains. We can offer you Wrangell’s only state-certified guides, National certified interpretive guides, certified naturalist, and Alaska cultural host. At Alaska Charters and Adventures, we will provide you high-quality guides and captains. No matter which tour you book, you will follow a trained, mature and professional guide with many years of experience.
Trip Length: Alaska Charters and Adventures is unique in that we prefer to offer you full day excursions customized for your interests and abilities. This means you can linger for that perfect photo and enjoy plenty of opportunities to get out and take in the scenery. Why rush? Take time to optimize wildlife viewing and lighting. More time is more opportunity to experience Alaska’s remarkable nature.
What to Expect
The walk into the wildlife observatory platform is one of our favorite parts of the day! I don’t think that you could find a more beautiful setting, this is a great opportunity to see a perfectly intact ecosystem with the potential to see wildlife along the way. You will have just over a mile if you add up the walk-in and walk back out at the end of the day, so be sure you’re capable of that. We walk slowly and enjoy the rainforest, birds, and possible wildlife. Don’t be surprised if you see a bear along the way, don’t worry your experienced and capable guide will handle this. This Trail has just been recently improved.
Each way is a little over a half a mile long trail and most of it was upgraded to a gravel path in the fall of 2021. By Spring of 2022 should bring the final conversion of the trail from a narrow boardwalk with hundreds of steps to a nice gravel pathway.
If you’ve heard scary stories about the walk-in, it might’ve been old information. The trail is a gravel path that is 30 inches wide, this path wanders the edge of a lagoon and stream and has slight grade changes as it follows the forest floor contours, but it doesn’t have any big steep areas and just a handful of steps along the way. There is a set of stairs as you leave the beach where you’ll disembark the vessel onto a natural sand gravel beach. There is no dock so you will need enough mobility to step off the boat (we have steps and a crew member’s hand to help).
There is a set of outhouses here and we will meet the Forest Service Staff. No smoking, food, or flavored drinks are allowed beyond this point. Along the way there are occasional footbridges, these can be slippery on the outermost edges, please stay in the textured middle. Please avoid stepping on the very extreme outside edge of the trail that could crumple off if you step too far over. In general, it would be hard to find a better-quality trail in the rainforest.
The trail is not difficult, we move slowly and carefully, and you’re always escorted by at least one guide. Your dedicated guide will provide mitigation for bears that you may encounter on the trail and an interpretation of the rich habitat, wildlife, interesting history and culture of the area, and fascinating information about fish and how the entire ecosystem works together.
Be prepared, have your camera handy and let us know in advance if you have concerns about your ability to navigate the walk-in. We will do everything we can to make sure we are all prepared for a safe and engaging trek. Please enjoy this part of the day as much as we do, it’s a fantastic walk!
Attached to the main viewing platform via a stairway (about 35 stairs) is a blind or hide near the creek level right next to one of the bears’ favorite fishing holes. This photo blind is perfectly situated for up-close, eye-level photography. The blind can accommodate up to 5 people at a time. In order to allow everyone who would like some time in the blind to have a chance, use of the blind is allowed in 30-minute intervals determined by signing up for a time slot (or slots) on the sign-up page on the observation deck. Time slots for the photo blind cannot be scheduled prior to arrival at the observations deck. Don’t worry though, if you are going with us, you will usually have a number of chances to get down to the photo blind since we stay so much longer than most other visitors. While the blind gets you right down to creek level, you never know where or when a bear will make an appearance, so regardless of where you are, you will have excellent viewing and photography opportunities from anywhere on the observatory deck.
What our past visitors say...
Going to Anan was one of my favorite parts of our entire trip.
Going to Anan was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had…