Alaska Brown Bear and Puffin Safari 2020
July 4–8, 2020
Brown Bears and Puffins in the Land of the Midnight Sun
Lake Clark National Park is 4 million acres of pristine wilderness, roughly twice the size of Yellowstone. Accessible only by boat or small plane, Silver Salmon Creek Lodge is located along a rich coastal section of this spectacular park in the heart of coastal brown bear habitat. Coastal brown bears are a larger cousin of the grizzly bear, which is another brown bear.
Silver Salmon Creek Lodge, with its prime access to coastal brown bears in their natural habitat, is an extremely desirable destination for photographers from all over the world and reservations are hard to come by—this trip is limited to six guests only. The lodge is rustic but comfortable, and the meals are fabulous!
This is a rare and unique opportunity to spend time close to these majestic animals. This is not a location where we’ll shoot from a bus, as in Denali, or from a platform, as in Brooks Falls. We’ll be on the ground as close as you can safely be! The bears have become habituated to small groups of people, which allows for incredible photo opportunities.
Early July is when new cubs come out for the first time, so we should have amazing opportunities to photograph these adorable newcomers. Often, bears are right out in front of the lodge. But we’ll also walk or be transported by our onsite guides via ATV-pulled carts to where the bears are grazing in tall grasses, digging for clams, playing in the surf, chasing salmon, nursing, or wrestling each other.
In addition, we’ll take a half-day tour by boat over to a puffin rookery. At this time of year, we should be able to photograph adult puffins bringing small fish to their young. We may also find bald eagles, black-legged kittiwakes, black oystercatchers, parakeet auklets, common murres, trumpeter swans, otters, and harbor seals.
The Silver Salmon Creek area boasts stunning scenery, and we’ll have the opportunity to take short hikes. Canoes and kayaks are also available for guests to use.
We’ll share and critique photos and practice post-processing techniques at the lodge during down time and any weather delays. Wayde will be available all day to help you achieve the best photos possible.
Fly into the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Check into your hotel.
Meet at Wiiliwaw Rooftop Restaurant (or similar) at 7:00 p.m. for dinner and to get to know one another (optional).
- Arrival in Anchorage
- Optional group dinner
- Not included
- Not included
Hotel shuttle/Uber/cab to Lake Hood small aircraft airport. At approximately 9 a.m., we’ll depart in our small planes to the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge. Upon arrival around noon, we’ll check in, get familiar with the grounds, have a bear briefing by the lodge staff, and then head out for our first bear excursion!
- Stunning views during our small aircraft flight into Lake Clark National Park
- Orientation to lodge
- Instruction by lodge staff regarding protocol with animals
- Excursion to photograph coastal brown bears
- Image review to make sure everyone’s gear is performing as desired
- Breakfast at your hotel (not included)
- Lunch and dinner at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge
- Silver Salmon Creek Lodge
In Alaska weather varies greatly. We may encounter achingly beautiful, clear skies, a lightly overcast cloud cover, or heavy rain. We’ve experienced all in every month of summer. The days will still be wonderfully long, and we may experience all weather phases within a matter of hours. There’s no time of year that guarantees optimal weather, but we’ll make sure to be prepared for any conditions and use any down time constructively, practicing photo editing and post-processing techniques.
Wildlife, too, can be unpredictable, so there’s always a chance the bears may not be around. The likelihood of this is small, however. In the five years we’ve guided tours to SSCL, it’s never happened.
The lodge does not sell alcohol, but we’re welcome to bring our own. We’ll get a beverage order from everyone prior to the trip and fly your beverages out with us.
Morning, afternoon, and evening excursions to seek bears. The lodge staff helps us decide which one of these days will be best for taking our boat tour to the puffin rookery.
- Multiple excursions daily to see coastal brown bears
- Photography and post-processing instruction
- Group-share and review of images
- Hiking, canoeing, and kayaking (optional)
- Boat trip to puffin rookery
- Incredible food
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge
- Alcohol available only if ordered prior to the trip
- Silver Salmon Creek Lodge
We’ll leave Silver Salmon Creek Lodge early in the morning in small aircraft, back to Anchorage. We’ll arrive at Lake Hood at approximately 1:00 p.m. (Lake Hood is close––approx. 5 minutes––to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.) The trip officially ends today after our arrival in Anchorage.
- No meals included
- No accommodations included
We’re working on an optional extension to Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, deep in the heart of Kenai Fjords National Park. We’ll update you soon!