(907) Pack Creek Bear Viewing

Permit Availability

Entrance Description

Bear viewing at Pack Creek dates back to the 1930s when the area became popular with visitors from Juneau. In 1934 the Territorial Game Commission prohibited bear hunting within 20 square miles around Pack Creek. One year later, the Civilian Conservation Corps built a trail and a small tree stand overlooking Pack Creek (this stand was replaced with the current tower in 1990). In the mid-1950's a gentleman by the name of Stan Price floated his wannigan float house into the Pack Creek estuary. Over the next several decades his year round presence was a significant factor in conditioning the bears to humans. By the time of his passing in 1989 the bears were comfortable with daily visitors from Juneau. The Alaska Board of Game expanded the hunting closure in 1984 to include Swan Cove, Swan Island and Windfall Harbor -- a total of about 95 square miles.

Know Before You Go:

The Nature of Pack Creek
From its headwaters 4000 feet above sea level, Pack Creek descends rapidly to the ocean salt water in upper Seymour Canal. Sediments are deposited at its mouth, creating a 400-acre estuary. These mudflats are an important source of food for many animals, including bears, which feed on clams, shellfish and other creatures.

Of course, the main reason bears are here are the pink and chum salmon returning to spawn in their natal stream. Peak bear viewing usually follows the return of salmon to Pack Creek, usually the first week on July.

The Pack Creek ecosystem is home to more than just brown bears; Admiralty Island contains the highest concentration of bald eagle nests in the world. Other birds, mammals and marine life thrive in this rich ecosystem of old growth rain forest and coastal marine environments.

The Bears
For generations the bears of Pack Creek have witnessed many visitors come and go. Most visitors behave in a consistent and predictable manner causing the bears to become accustomed to human presence. Unlike most bears that don┬┐t have regular exposure to humans, Pack Creek bears frequently see predictable behavior from humans each summer, allowing them to continue their normal foraging behaviors without being disturbed by our presence. This behavior modification is delicate as bears are extremely sensitive to people in unfamiliar areas, human movement and noise. Following the rules will provide a more enjoyable and safer experience for your group as well as all those after you.

Admiralty Island is inhabited exclusively by brown bears.

These coastal brown bears are akin to "grizzlies" of the interior and easily distinguished by a large hump of muscle over their shoulders, as well as a dish-shaped face.


Pack Creek is Wilderness area. No facilities (i.e. bathroom, shelters or cell phone service) on site. Boots, rain gear and extra layers are recommended.


A: Available for online reservation (click to book entry date)
L: Accepting Lottery Application (click to apply for the lottery)
W: Available at the Facility
R: Reserved
C: Closed
X: Not available
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