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Old 05-27-2014, 02:20 PM   #1
Munkamamacallie
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Ketchican - Bears on our own?

I am seeking advice from my fellow DIS'ers...
The cost of the bear tours is a lot of money for us. The ones with the floatplanes are over $1k for the three of us. the one without the plane would be about half, but is sold out for the date we'll be there. Two questions 1) Can you do the bear tours on your own? I see on the Ketchican map there is a salmon spawning area that seems to be close by. Question 2) If we do break down and pay for the expensive one, Would anyone recommend the Neets Bear tour over the Alaska Bear Adventure or vice versa? THX!!!!
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:49 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Munkamamacallie View Post
I am seeking advice from my fellow DIS'ers...
The cost of the bear tours is a lot of money for us. The ones with the floatplanes are over $1k for the three of us. the one without the plane would be about half, but is sold out for the date we'll be there. Two questions 1) Can you do the bear tours on your own? I see on the Ketchican map there is a salmon spawning area that seems to be close by. Question 2) If we do break down and pay for the expensive one, Would anyone recommend the Neets Bear tour over the Alaska Bear Adventure or vice versa? THX!!!!
I'm going to refer you to my trip report from 2013 for our bear adventure:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3150787

We got to see lots of things on this tour-bears, reindeer, owls, eagles, totem carving-for a very reasonable price. Also, you can see bears at Mendenhall Glacier near the parking lot area when the salmon are spawning. It just costs the price of the round trip on the blue bus. You can catch it by purchasing tickets at the kiosks near the dock area. Seeing a bear was on my bucket list, so I was beyond thrilled when we saw ours last year!

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Old 05-29-2014, 07:24 PM   #3
Munkamamacallie
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Originally Posted by EeyoreIsMyName View Post
I'm going to refer you to my trip report from 2013 for our bear adventure:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3150787

We got to see lots of things on this tour-bears, reindeer, owls, eagles, totem carving-for a very reasonable price. Also, you can see bears at Mendenhall Glacier near the parking lot area when the salmon are spawning. It just costs the price of the round trip on the blue bus. You can catch it by purchasing tickets at the kiosks near the dock area. Seeing a bear was on my bucket list, so I was beyond thrilled when we saw ours last year!



Thank you! Did you ever post your pics? Great trip report!!!
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:34 PM   #4
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Agree on the free bears in Juneau. You will see from the raised wooden platform at the glacier parking lot, but there is a secret, even better place to see bears. Leave the parking lot and cross the street to a sign that mentions a nature trail. This is NOT near the visitor center, near the parking lot. Follow the trail about a half mile to the bridge over the river. Sit on the bridge and wait. I always see one or two bears amble down and fish for salmon. They never seem interested in me! FREE!
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Old 05-30-2014, 01:31 PM   #5
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When is your cruise? Are you spending any time pre or post cruise in or around Vancouver? I've researched the heck out of bear viewing. You're right - its darned expensive!! Take a look at this - depends on your plans and when you are going . . .

http://www.tiderip.com/

Jodie
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Old 05-30-2014, 01:32 PM   #6
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Agree on the free bears in Juneau. You will see from the raised wooden platform at the glacier parking lot, but there is a secret, even better place to see bears. Leave the parking lot and cross the street to a sign that mentions a nature trail. This is NOT near the visitor center, near the parking lot. Follow the trail about a half mile to the bridge over the river. Sit on the bridge and wait. I always see one or two bears amble down and fish for salmon. They never seem interested in me! FREE!
Great tip - thanks!!
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ILUVALASKA View Post
Agree on the free bears in Juneau. You will see from the raised wooden platform at the glacier parking lot, but there is a secret, even better place to see bears. Leave the parking lot and cross the street to a sign that mentions a nature trail. This is NOT near the visitor center, near the parking lot. Follow the trail about a half mile to the bridge over the river. Sit on the bridge and wait. I always see one or two bears amble down and fish for salmon. They never seem interested in me! FREE!
Great! Thanks so much!!!
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Old 05-30-2014, 10:03 PM   #8
Munkamamacallie
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When is your cruise? Are you spending any time pre or post cruise in or around Vancouver? I've researched the heck out of bear viewing. You're right - its darned expensive!! Take a look at this - depends on your plans and when you are going . . .

http://www.tiderip.com/

Jodie
Yup, $299x3 people + tax = yikes! I think we'll try the free one in Juneau!
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Old 05-31-2014, 07:36 AM   #9
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We booked our Ketchikan bear viewing trip by float plane because it worked out cheaper than the ones through DCL and was for a longer time. We also chose a float plane trip because we thought if we don't get to see any bears at least we've experienced a float plane. Well, we spent over three hours waiting for bears that never came - this wasn't anyone's fault, just the way it was, there was a heatwave on at the time and the bears weren't coming out as it was too hot. Just as we were leaving to go back to the plane, our guide alerted us to stand still and be quiet and coming down the stream were a mother and baby. When we got back to the plane the pilot was so apologetic that we had only seen these two but that's just the way it goes, in fact we were over the moon that we had seen them.

We don't think we wasted our money because we really enjoyed the float plane ride - our pilot was fabulous and pointed lots out to us and we consider ourselves very lucky to have seen the two bears we did but it's an awful lot of money especially when you consider we may not have seen any at all.

If money's a bit tight, I'd stick with Mendenhall - that's what DH and I are planning on doing when we go back next year so thank you very much ILUVALASKA for the tip.

ETA: Just a thought, if you luck out at Mendenhall there's a tourist centre in Ketchikan where the tour operators have kiosks and some still had bear viewing places available in the afternoon the day we were there.
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Last edited by Ware Bears; 05-31-2014 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 06-01-2014, 05:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ware Bears View Post
We booked our Ketchikan bear viewing trip by float plane because it worked out cheaper than the ones through DCL and was for a longer time. We also chose a float plane trip because we thought if we don't get to see any bears at least we've experienced a float plane. Well, we spent over three hours waiting for bears that never came - this wasn't anyone's fault, just the way it was, there was a heatwave on at the time and the bears weren't coming out as it was too hot. Just as we were leaving to go back to the plane, our guide alerted us to stand still and be quiet and coming down the stream were a mother and baby. When we got back to the plane the pilot was so apologetic that we had only seen these two but that's just the way it goes, in fact we were over the moon that we had seen them.

We don't think we wasted our money because we really enjoyed the float plane ride - our pilot was fabulous and pointed lots out to us and we consider ourselves very lucky to have seen the two bears we did but it's an awful lot of money especially when you consider we may not have seen any at all.

If money's a bit tight, I'd stick with Mendenhall - that's what DH and I are planning on doing when we go back next year so thank you very much ILUVALASKA for the tip.

ETA: Just a thought, if you luck out at Mendenhall there's a tourist centre in Ketchikan where the tour operators have kiosks and some still had bear viewing places available in the afternoon the day we were there.
Which trip did you do and what time of year? We are planning to do Anan Creek - hope it wasn't that one. I would be horribly disappointed to pay all that money and not see bears!!

Jodie
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Old 06-03-2014, 04:45 AM   #11
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No, it wasn't Anan Creek, that would have been my first choice but the pilot we went with doesn't go there in August, she only goes there in July, she took us to Margaret Creek as under normal conditions there's more bears there then. Alaska was experiencing a heatwave last summer and it was an extremely hot day.

To be honest we weren't surprised - we were chatting with our tour guide on our White Pass rail trip out of Skagway and he was saying that he's normally seen at least 60 bears by now (this is end of first week of August) on his Skagway tours and he'd only seen half a dozen because it was too hot.

As I said in my previous post our pilot felt bad and went out of her way to give us a spectacular plane ride to make up for it - we didn't feel cheated as it's not like she's got any control over where the bears are!

Hopefully you'll see lots but just be prepared for the fact that you may not.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:57 PM   #12
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A few of us are doing a private floatplane trip to Anan Creek in July. However, if you're not locked and loaded with a company, your chances of getting on certain trips are limited as the Forest Service only allocates so many permits.

Andy
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Old 06-03-2014, 02:03 PM   #13
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A few of us are doing a private floatplane trip to Anan Creek in July. However, if you're not locked and loaded with a company, your chances of getting on certain trips are limited as the Forest Service only allocates so many permits.

Andy
We're not going until July 2015, so I'm planning early. The lottery is in October I believe. The company I've spoken with will try to get our permits then. I would DIE if I got to Anan Creek and there were no bears . . . not a cheap trip!

Jodie
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Old 06-03-2014, 04:29 PM   #14
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We're using Southeast Aviation http://southeastaviation.com/section...arviewing.html

Approx $500pp

Andy
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:35 PM   #15
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Thanks for your input everyone!
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