Alaska: A Bear Viewing and Wilderness Odyssey

Trip Overview

ONE SPACE LEFT!! Join AdventureWomen in June 2017 on Alaska: A Bear Viewing and Wilderness Odyssey in the Kenai Peninsula in South Central Alaska, an Alaska adventure tour deep into grizzly bear territory where most don't have the opportunity to venture.

An Alaska adventure vacation to rival none, this bear watching, whale watching, glacier and wildlife cruise, rafting float trip and wilderness odyssey (with only 12 fellow travelers) gives you an insider's glimpse of Alaska, America's "last great place." This AdventureWomen outdoor adventure is truly a nature aficionado's and a wildlife and landscape photographer's dream trip to Alaska. And it all and takes place in June, at the peak of Alaska’s “midnight sun,” in America's Last Frontier.

Have you seen the Disneynature movie “Bears”? A lot of that movie was filmed in the meadows from our Bear Camp!

Your Alaska playground is the Kenai Peninsula, including Kenai Fjords National Park and Wildlife Refuge and Resurrection Bay, which encompass hundreds of square miles of Alaskan mountains, fjords, and forested valleys. Discover this unique state's scenic treasures - mountain meadows, hidden lakes, rolling forests, whispering streams, and sparkling blue glaciers - all of them teeming with rare species of Alaska wildlife.

During your action-packed eight days in Alaska you will enjoy the company of expert Alaskan wildlife guides. Spend relaxing nights under Alaska’s “midnight sun” in a Kenai Peninsula lodge and comfortable bear viewing camps, and gain a true appreciation and knowledge of Alaska's authenticity, prolific wildlife, and awesome scenic beauty.

A highlight of this Alaska adventure tour is the flightseeing tour by private bush plane over Kenai Fjords National Park, transporting you to a spectacular Alaska Bear Camp for prime viewing of grizzlies (Alaska brown bears), cavorting in their natural habitat. Your remote Alaska bear viewing camp is located on the shores of Lake Clark National Park in rugged Alaskan wilderness. Custom "weather ports" are your home for two nights, and you have unlimited opportunities to view and photograph brown bears (also known as "grizzly bears") and their cubs, just emerging from their winter dens to feed on the succulent saltwater and sedge grasses found around the Bear Camp.

Enjoy some scenes from our Alaska Bear Viewing & Wildlife Safari adventure from 2014. A sneak peak at what experiences await you in 2017! Turn up your sound!

View this video filmed on our 2014 Alaska bear viewing adventure featuring Shiniqua, a beautiful four year old female Alaskan brown bear, one of the stars at your remote Bear Camp.

And bear viewing is just the beginning of your Alaska adventure! Later, enjoy an easy rafting float trip down the turquoise clear waters of Alaska's Kenai River, then take a wildlife cruise into Resurrection Bay in the incomparable Kenai Fjords National Park for whale watching and views of seacoast birds and marine life. Hike up to a glacier and explore the Alaskan communities of Homer and Kachemark Bay. This Alaska adventure vacation is the perfect way to discover Alaska, "the greatland," the 49th and largest state.

Main Attractions

  • A flightseeing tour by bush plane to an Alaska Bear Camp, named "Best Bush Camp" by Outside Magazine, to experience 2 nights and 2 spectacular days of Alaska bear viewing.
  • Enjoy a rafting float trip on the Kenai River through Alaska's scenic Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Take a wildlife cruise into Resurrection Bay from Seward, Alaska, in Kenai Fjords National Park for whale watching to view humpbacks and orcas, and see puffins, sea lions, otters, and sea birds.
  • View stunning Alaskan glaciers and mountains.
  • Explore the charming seaside town and artist community of Homer, AK and Kachemark Bay, "Where the Land Ends and the Sea Begins."
  • Spend 4 nights at the beautifully located Alaska Adventure Lodge, at the confluence of the Moose and Kenai Rivers with vistas of the Kenai and Chugach Mountains and the Harding Icefield.

What You'll See and Do

  • Bear Viewing
  • Flightseeing
  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Sightseeing
  • Whitewater Raft/Float
  • Wildlife Cruise

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Alaska: A Bear Viewing and Wilderness Odyssey

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Saturday, June 10, 2016 - Arrive in Anchorage
Arrive in Anchorage and transfer by free hotel shuttle to the Comfort Inn Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage, where your AdventureWomen Associate is waiting. Dinner is on your own tonight. Introductions and orientation follow dinner and then a good night's sleep is encouraged.

Overnight at Comfort Inn, Ship Creek, Anchorage

Day 2

Sunday, June 11- Meet the Guides and Drive to the Lodge. Fly by Bush Plane to Bear Camp
After an early breakfast this morning at the hotel, you will be picked up by vehicle and transferred to the Great Alaska Adventure Lodge, where you will make a brief stop for gear organizing, trip orientation, and a delicious lunch.

Leaving most of your luggage at the Adventure Lodge, take (only) a small duffel, cameras, and binoculars to travel to the airstrip where we board bush planes for a spectacular flightseeing trip to Bear Camp, a truly remote experience in every sense of the word. Perched on the edge of Lake Clark National Park and on the shores of Cook Inlet, with towering mountains behind and rugged coastline ahead, you know as soon as you land on the beach that this is a very special place. Bear Camp is accessible only by bush plane—a quintessential Alaskan adventure in itself. Fly with experienced Alaskan bush pilots, a group renowned for their skills of touching down on anything from ice floes to mountain stubble. Land on a beach surrounded by endless vistas of snowy peaks with not even a cabin or highway in sight. The flight confirms why Alaska is called "The Last Frontier."

Climb out of the bush planes to greet your guides. With rifles slung over their shoulders, your guides' immediate orientation is about bear country safety. You can walk unattended around Bear Camp itself, but only in the daytime. Forays beyond camp perimeter only take place as a group, and only when accompanied by a guide carrying a shotgun, loaded with buckshot.

Note: About the shotguns—they are for your safety. The bears are so focused on foraging for food that the guns, in our experience, have not been de-slung from the guides' shoulders.

The camp is, well, "cushy." Accommodations are in what the Alaskans call Weather Ports, which are Quonset-hut-like structures made of high-tech fabric stretched over ribs. Your comfortable Weather-Port cabin/tents are on raised platforms with small decks out front and twin beds in each cabin. They feature wooden floors, solid doors, propane heat, and light. Meals are brought in daily by plane and prepared by the staff at camp. All meals are family-style, and feature fresh seafood/chicken/meats/pasta, and even a glass of wine.

The balance of today is spent viewing bears. Unlimited time on the platform and ground level viewing stations, and no more than 12 guests at any time, ensure a remarkable bear viewing experience at the "picnic benches," a viewing blind set across a small stream from a lush green meadow. In early summer, this coastal plain becomes a prime breeding ground and nursery due to its delectable grasses and sedges. Bears can consume 90 pounds of vegetation in a single day! Powerful viewing scopes and binoculars allow you to observe bears in the wild from about 150 yards away. Spend the afternoon with your guides watching a wonderland of sows and cubs in their native habitat. This is an afternoon and night to remember!

“Focusing my binoculars as we settled into the blind, I saw over 20 bears in the meadow—mothers and cubs, one or two lone females, and small gangs of rowdy adolescents. Through powerful viewing scopes, we observed the bears’ muscular shoulder humps and concave profiles. … and watched the triplets, two and a half year-old siblings, who had just been weaned. Overheated by the warm afternoon, they jumped and splashed in the river, then sat up on their hindquarters and sparred with their forepaws, before piling together on the grass for a nap.” —from a bear viewing account at “Bear Camp,” named “Best Bush Camp in North America” by Outside Magazine and “One of America’s Best Adventures” by National Geographic Traveler.

After more bear viewing, you retire to your Weather Port accompanied by the sounds of jeering gulls circling the bay. And don't forget that you are in the land of the midnight sun where daylight lasts into the night hours.

Bring LOTS of memory cards, binoculars, and a long lens if you have one. Battery charging for cameras is available via solar panels and some limited generator time, but we highly recommend bringing many spare batteries for digital cameras.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Bear Camp

Day 3

Monday, June 12 - More Bears
Wake up at your own schedule to the smell of hot coffee and then spend the morning with the royalty of Alaska Wildlife—the incredible brown bear. If the weather is nice, you may also have yoga on the beach. No roads or trails access this area, so you get a glimpse of the “homesteader experience” and a true Alaskan wilderness as you feel your internal clock reset to a different pace. This evening may include a fire on the beach as the sun "almost" sets.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Bear Camp

Day 4

Tuesday, June 13 - From Bear Camp to the Adventure Lodge
Through the morning and until lunch, indulge in still more photographing and viewing bears from the many viewing stations situated throughout the area. Stand witness as bald eagles circle the heavens and bears lumber through the channels, splashing in the rivulets, and devouring the delectable grass.

After lunch the bush planes arrive and you fly back to "civilization" and the Adventure Lodge, with all its creature comforts. The Lodge sits on 25 acres at the confluence of the Kenai and Moose Rivers. Its huge deck overlooks the Kenai and Chugach Mountains as they bisect the massive Harding Icefield. The Lodge is the terminus for the Swan Lake Wilderness Canoe Trail, and its back door swings open to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The unique and special location of the Adventure Lodge allows unlimited access for wilderness recreation.

Happy Hour and dinner end another exciting day. Your accommodations for the next three nights are in cabins with river views below, fireplaces, and private baths.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Adventure Lodge

Day 5

Wednesday, June 14 - Cruise Kenai Fjords National Park
Depart the Adventure Lodge this morning for a beautiful drive to Seward, called the "gateway to Alaska." Stop on the way to stretch your legs and take a hike to the face of Exit Glacier, a retreating glacier, almost close enough to touch. Once in Seward, board a large cruise boat for an extensive wildlife cruise through Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park on the Kenai Peninsula's western shore. This is the beginning of Prince William Sound, made famous by the tanker "Exxon Valdez." Whales, dolphins, mountain goats, puffins, sea lions, seals, otters, and sea birds join the glaciers, mountains, and fjords on this beautiful adventure near the Harding Icefield.

While cruising, the captain offers a thorough narration of our surroundings. The boat is designed so that you can experience and photograph the sights comfortably from inside the cabin, or outside on the observation deck. Visit a glacier, one of the many tidewater glaciers that are fed by the massive Harding Icefield. Here you will spend time listening and watching for icebergs to "calve" into the sea, while eating a delicious hot lunch. As you continue to cruise, the captain shares facts about local geology as you photograph bald eagles, harbor seals, cormorants, sea otters, and maybe humpbacks and orcas as they play and feed.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Adventure Lodge

Day 6

Thursday, June 15 - Raft/Float the Upper Kenai River through Kenai Canyon and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
After breakfast, leave the Adventure Lodge and travel to the Upper Kenai River for a scenic float trip through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Kenai Canyon.

Your rafts take you through spectacular Kenai Canyon, a remarkable area teeming with moose, black bear, and salmon. At times you actually float over spawning beds of salmon, watching them jostle for position! In turn, you can view bald eagles and bears as they maneuver for the best fishing spots. The prodigious spawning salmon feed native trout populations, bald eagles, and grizzlies. This important ecosystem is generally considered the "cradle" of the area's animal life.

Lunch is served shoreside by your guides.

Happy Hour and hors d'oeuvres await you back at the Adventure Lodge before dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Adventure Lodge

Day 7

Friday, June 16 - Discover Homer and Kachemak Bay
No trip to Alaska is complete without a visit to the charming, historic, and scenic "End of the Road" town of Homer and Kachemak Bay. On the way you will pass early Russian churches, active volcanoes, and most likely view baby moose with their mothers. It is a truly unforgettable and fun-filled day of exploring the art and uniqueness of the famous boardwalk at "Land's End."

Homer could easily double as the fictional town of Cicely from the old TV show Northern Exposure. The Kenai Mountains loom behind every building, and the whole town stops by the farmer's market on summer weekends and Wednesdays to pick up berry jam and organic greens. The town is a nature lover's nirvana where common sights can include moose grazing, a black bear crossing the road, or porpoises playing in the surf.

In downtown Homer you can sample delicious seafood and visit art galleries, museums, and shops that sell locally made crafts. Nearby is Halibut Cove, a unique fishing and artists' enclave where the roads are made of water.

This afternoon, return to the Adventure Lodge on the banks of the Kenai River, surrounded by Alaska's stunning wilderness. After nightly Happy Hour, enjoy your last dinner and evening together, reminiscing about bears, whales, and all the amazing activities you've shared throughout the week.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Adventure Lodge

Day 8

Saturday, June 17 - Explore the Splendor Around the Adventure Lodge
On your last day as a group, you can choose from a paddle in sea kayaks on the Swan Lakes Wilderness Trail, to watch for moose, swans, eagles, and countless ducks, or a morning of guided sport fishing with one of the lodge's expert guides (additional fee for this).

After lunch, and back at the lodge, gather on the expansive main deck overlooking the Kenai River and the Chugach Mountains for a group photo. Depart for the Kenai Airport, stopping to view wildlife along the way. Arrive at the Kenai Airport for your 4:00pm flight, with arrival into Anchorage at approximately 4:45pm. You may choose to take a plane out this evening, or stay another night in Anchorage on your own.

Breakfast, Lunch

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Alaska: A Bear Viewing and Wilderness Odyssey

Traveling to Alaska


Traveling to Anchorage: Arrival and Departure

Your flight to Anchorage, Alaska needs to arrive in Anchorage by approximately 5:00pm on June 10, 2017. We are staying at the Comfort Inn Ship Creek, Anchorage, 111 West Ship Creek Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501 (907-277-6887). This hotel has a free shuttle service from the airport. After retrieving your luggage, call the hotel for a pick up. A note will be waiting at the hotel desk informing you of the time your AdventureWomen Associate will meet you in the lobby to discuss details for dinner and orientation.

You will return by plane to the Anchorage Airport from Kenai Alaska Municipal Airport on June 17 at approximately 4:45pm. so you can schedule a departure flight from Anchorage, AK anytime after 6:00pm. United, Delta, and Alaska Air have “red eye” flights in the evening. OR you can choose to stay on your own for another night and fly out of Anchorage on June 18.

Making Travel Arrangements to Anchorage, Alaska

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us for more information.

NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last minute registrants, we must often relinquish hotel space and air reservations up to 6 – 12 weeks prior to departure!

Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Health Requirements and Health Insurance

This trip is rated Moderate. You must be in very good physical condition, be able to hike at least 3 miles with ease. You MUST have your own health insurance.

Final Payment

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen, LLC in a cash form (check, money order or wire transfer) on or before March 12, 2017.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Alaska: A Bear Viewing and Wilderness Odyssey

What's Included:

  • First night hotel accommodations in Anchorage, Alaska
  • One way flight from Kenai Alaska Municipal Airport to Anchorage, AK
  • 2 nights double occupancy in "weather-port" tent-cabins with propane heat and lamps at Bear Camp
  • 4 nights double occupancy accommodations at the main Adventure Lodge in Riverside Cabins
  • All meals from breakfast on day 2 through lunch on day 8
  • Alaska guides and one AdventureWomen Associate
  • Daily transportation and all bush flights listed in the itinerary
  • Happy Hour (includes complimentary wine and beer) and hors d'oeuvres each evening
  • Fully guided activities as listed in the itinerary

What's Not Included:

  • Round-trip airfare from your hometown to Anchorage, Alaska
  • Alcoholic beverages with meals not included in the itinerary
  • Suggested tipping, per person, for Alaska trip guides and staff:

- $80-100 for your main guide, cook, and other guides at Bear Camp
- $70-80 for your Adventure Lodge guide (who meets you at the beginning of the trip and takes you on all the activities throughout the week, till you are dropped at the airport at trip's end)
- $15 for scenic raft/float guides
- $30 for the Adventure Lodge Staff  (cook, servers, housekeeping)
- Approximately $220-250 total for the week

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Alaska: A Bear Viewing and Wilderness Odyssey

What To Bring:

Since weather in Alaska is always unpredictable, it is imperative that you come prepared on your Alaska adventure vacation with the proper clothing and outdoor gear to be safe and comfortable. When we say to bring warm (wool or polar fleece) sweaters, hat, socks, gloves— we mean it! You can always peel clothes off and put them in your day pack if you are too warm. On the other hand, if you are without the right clothes in a sudden storm, you will be miserable.

Clothing

  • Medium-weight hiking boots: It is best not to wear shoes, even if they are walking shoes, because ANKLE support is absolutely essential in mountain terrain. Please do not buy heavy leather boots as there are numerous medium-weight quality hiking boots on the market that will better serve your purpose. Asolo, Garmont, Merrell, Vasque - to name a few - are widely available and designed especially for women. Since they are waterproof, Gore-tex boots, although a bit more expensive, are our first choice. Other boots should be waterproofed with one of the excellent waterproofing products available such as Nikwax. MAKE SURE your boots fit properly and are well broken-in. Wear them around town to thoroughly break them in. Please do not come on this trip with a pair of boots you have never worn before!
  • Rain gear: Weather in Alaska can be extremely variable, and you should be well prepared for whatever conditions occur. Therefore, it is very important to bring a good waterproof (not just water repellent) rain suit (jacket and pants). A rain jacket or poncho will not keep your legs and feet dry, and it is important that your entire body is covered in a downpour. Many outdoor stores carry inexpensive rain suits, but beware of cheap vinyl gear that may tear easily at the seams. Your rain parka can also act as a lightweight wind jacket.
  • One wool or fleece sweater, wool cap, and gloves. The wool sweater or fleece jacket can be layered under your rain parka to act as a warmer jacket.
  • Extra comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting wet, tennis shoes or Tevas are a good option.
  • Several pairs of long pants and hiking shorts.
  • Long-sleeved shirts and T-shirts, underwear, sleepwear, lightweight robe.
  • Bathing suit, needed in the event of an invigorating dip.
  • Socks – it is best to wear 2 pair of socks inside your hiking boots, such as a pair of wool socks, and a thin pair of liner socks underneath the wool socks. We like Thorlo hiking socks and polypropylene liner socks which wick moisture and reduce blistering. Bring plenty of socks!
  • Sun hat and sunglasses.
  • 2 or 3 (100% cotton) bandannas for instant sweat bands and other uses too numerous to mention, some of which you have never even dreamed! Besides, it’s a tradition at AdventureWomen!

Camera Equipment

  • Camera, long lens, plenty of extra memory cards and batteries, plus battery charger. Again, we would like to stress: bring more memory cards and batteries than you think you need. Also bring plenty of Ziploc bags to protect your camera(s). You will have time to recharge your batteries at camp and at the Adventure Lodge. This is an experience you definitely want to record on film!
  • Small, lightweight binoculars (a MUST) for game viewing and birds. You will be very disappointed if you do not have a good pair of binoculars. Nikon or Minolta make fine, lightweight viewing binoculars. Try a general game viewing 7 X 28, or 8 X 20 binocular.

Miscellaneous

  • Small duffel bag to take for your 2 nights at our Alaska Bear Camp. Your large suitcase will stay at the Alaska Adventure Lodge.
  • A day pack that is comfortable and large enough to carry your lunch, cameras, binoculars, rain gear, drink, and a water bottle on all hikes. Please note that fanny packs are not suitable. You can also take your day pack to Bear Camp.
  • A one-quart water bottle that is suitable for both warm and cold beverages. We recommend plastic or metal options such as Nalgene, Klean Kanteen, or Hydro Flask bottles.
  • Sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, insect repellent, lotion (fragrance-free).
  • Toiletries, including soap, shampoo, and toothpaste. And to cover all your bases, you can also include an Ace bandage, Pepto Bismol, Immodium, Correctol, and Dramamine or Bonine for motion sickness (if you get motion sickness on boats. This is for the wildlife cruise).
  • 10 or more quart size Ziploc bags for waste paper and left-over picnic lunches.
  • Lightweight flashlight/headlight.
  • Earplugs. We recommend Mack's Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs, which you can buy at most drug stores, or at www.earplugstore.com. Good to 22 decibles!
  • Small travel alarm clock.
  • Optional: journal, a relaxing book, and field guides.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.