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Will I see bears in Juneau during a tour?

What are your chances of seeing bears in Juneau? There is a wondrous amount of wildlife in Juneau, Alaska. In fact, there are more animals than people! But what most people want to know is: “Will we see bears in Juneau?” The answer is: You just might! They aren’t quite as ‘people friendly’ as Yogi and Boo Boo, although some lucky tourists have indeed spotted them recently.

A young bear at the Mendenhall Glacier.

Where might you see black bears?

Your best chance of spotting a black bear is walking one of the US Forest Service hiking trails at Mendenhall Glacier. Now the salmon has started running,  the bears are right there to catch their favorite lunch. Don’t forget to look up as well, as the bald eagles are also actively looking for their fill of fishy treats.

Bears come with a health warning

Please use caution and don’t approach or feed the bears. Although have your camera ready because they are beautiful creatures. Just look at this young one spotted in the summer by one of our staff. She was helping herself to the smorgasbord of salmon, spawning in our creeks.

Difference between a black bear and a brown bear

Despite their names, brown bears can be black and black bears can be brown, cinnamon, or even blue (the rare Southeast Alaska “glacier bear”). So how do you discern the difference? Their keen wet noses and soulful eyes mark the brownies and the black bears alike, but with a flatter face and pronounced shoulder hump of the former, and the smaller claws of the latter. You never know: you just might get lucky one afternoon and see the sunlight shimmer in the bristly fur of a lone black bear.

But fear not, even if you don’t see a bear, you can’t miss our bald eagles. Juneau boasts one of North America’s highest concentrations of the distinctive baldies! And there’s myriad other birds and wildlife to boot.

You can't miss Juneau's primordial mist engulfing the rainforest.
You can’t miss Juneau’s primordial mist engulfing the rainforest.

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