9 Person group
1,595 / person
5 hours on the ground
Our Signature Trip
Enjoy a scenic flight into the true Alaskan bush, flying past expansive glaciers that clothe towering mountains and steaming volcanoes. Spend an unforgettable day hiking 3–5 miles in remote Katmai National Park and Preserve, exploring expansive sedge meadows or salmon-filled streams in Katmai's enormous ecosystem. Your naturalist guide will lead you and the other members of your small group on a day hike, where you will become acquainted with Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears and the amazing country that is their home.
Everything in a bear's life revolves around food sources. During early summer, we make our way to the sedge meadows of Hallo Bay, where the bears feed on grasses, roots, clams, and other food they can find. Sometime during mid-to-late July, the bears move inland towards a number of streams, chasing the concentration of salmon that are making their way from the ocean to their spawning grounds. Salmon is their chief source of food, nutrition, and fat reserves for denning later in the year. During this time, we travel to Moraine Creek to watch bears fish, hunt, and feed on the millions of red salmon making their way up Katmai's creeks.
GUIDED EXPEDITION into
Katmai National Park
*Subject to weather and group delays
Check-in at the office, sign paperwork, weigh-in
Guide is introduced and clients are taken to boot shed to change into hip boots for the excursion
Briefing from guide at deck to go over safety instructions, bear etiquette, lunch, and bathroom rules
Load plane and receive safety briefing from pilot
Land at Hallo Bay / Moraine Creek
Deplane and get ready for adventure!
Exploring / Bear viewing
Lunch / Snacks / Water
Bathrooms as group wants or needs
Exploring / Bear viewing
Return to plane and embark
Land in Homer and deplane
Cookies, take off boots, debrief, Q&A, goodbyes
Where Do We Go—and When?
Where we go bear viewing depends on where the bears are during the summer.
Early Summer Foraging
Coastal Sedge Meadows
Hallo Bay features a lush 5-mile meadow nestled between volcanoes and glaciers. We watch the bears comb the beach and graze on succulent spring grasses, beginning to replace the fat reserves used to sustain them through hibernation. It is mating season during this time, so we may see males pursuing the females in a sometimes weeks long courting process. June is the time new spring cubs are being introduced into the general population of bears. Young sub-adults are playfully celebrating the return of summer.
Late Summer Fishing
From mid-to-late July to mid-August, many of the streams and rivers along the Alaska Range fill with salmon returning to the very streams in which they were spawned. The bears with hefty appetites after a long winter’s fast are waiting for the salmon. Each bear has their favorite fishing spot and unique fishing style, some wading shoulder-deep into the river, others foraging for weak fish or for leftovers on the banks from other bears. Some of the best bear viewing allows us to sit not-too-far from the banks of the shore while the bears fish.
What to pack
WE SUPPLY HIP BOOTS FOR THE TRIP as we will be disembarking from our float plane into water and potentially crossing creeks throughout the day.
All of the following items should be carried in a hands-free pack.
Lunch, Snacks, and Water
Nothing that crumbles easily and no fish products.
Bring a jacket and pants. Your ranger will not only come in handy during a shower, but acts as a windbreaker while keeping you dry as you walk in tall, wet grass and sit on the ground. Light coated nylon is best for Alaska. Unlike Gortex, it really is waterproof and is considerably less expensive.
Fleece is great in Alaska. It is light, warm, protects from wind, and dries quickly after getting wet. Click here for find more information about Katmai weather.
Two Pairs of Thick Socks
This ensures that your feet are warm and comfortable in the hip boots we provide.
Belt or pants with belt loop
View bears more closely, or at times we can spot wolves and other wildlife further off.
Camera and memory cards
A 300mm lens is typically ideal.
Not usually a problem, but be prepared. Other bug avoiding tips: don't wear cologne, use unscented fabric softener, and avoid wearing bright colors.
Bring enough for two days of anything you need on a regular basis. It has never happened in Emerald Air Service's history, but any time you are in the Alaskan bush, weather can potentially cause overnight delays.
Hopefully we'll need it!
No smoking or vaping at any time
Please bring nicotine patches or gum if you anticipate discomfort.
Your hip boots strap will be secured on your belt/belt loop.
*bear spray and firearms are not permitted
Check out the video below for more on what and how to pack for your trip.
AGE LIMITATIONS POLICY
Due to the nature of our trip, we do not allow guests under the age of 12 to join the guided expedition. Due to physical demands, we also do not recommend the guided expedition for guests over the age of 75. Guests of all ages are permitted to go to Brooks Falls
WEIGHT LIMITATIONS POLICY
The aircraft has a limited weight capacity. For guests who exceed 220lbs (102kb) including gear, please call our office to complete your booking. We do our utmost to accommodate guests while ensuring that we do not exceed our weight limit. Guests who are 275lbs (125kg) or more including gear must pay for two seats.
If a guest has intentionally or unintentionally misrepresented their weight including gear, and as a result the weight capacity of the aircraft is exceeded, that guest will be unable to go on the trip and will not be reimbursed.
Emerald Air Service collects payment in full at the time of booking. If a guest books their trip directly online, there is an online convenience fee of 6%. You are welcome to call our office and book with one of our staff to avoid this fee.
We offer a Military Discount of 10% for members and their dependents. Call our office to book directly in order to receive this discount. Thank you for your service!
Cancellations due to weather will be refunded in full. Cancellations made up to 30 days prior to trip are refunded minus a fee of $100 per person. Cancellations within 30 days are non-refundable. We commend purchasing travel insurance for your adventure.
See what others have to say
— Aug 2021 —
This trip was unbelievable and truly a once in a lifetime experience! Our family of four (two adult kids) saw more bears than we ever thought possible: nursing mother and cubs, fighting bears, fishing bears, etc. Lance was a wonderful guide. He prepared us well, taught us much, and made us feel safe. His calm demeanor was perfect for this trip. Everyone we had contact with, from the phone reservation to Lance and his pilot, was superb, kind and professional. In addition to bears, the scenery was spectacular from both the plane and on the ground. This trip is worth every penny. Now we are just trying to determine which of our many photos to frame. Bring your best camera.
— Aug 2021 —
Highlight of our trip
I have been building up excitement for this trip for over two years and Emerald Air still blew past all my expectations. Melanie and Teri Ann were so friendly and helpful as we rescheduled due to Covid and were consistently responsive when I called to ask about precautions, what gear we needed, information about the flights, etc. Lance, our guide, was so knowledgeable and we always felt safe in his guidance. We had a perfect day flying past volcanos and ended up seeing upwards of 35 bears! But most of all, from the very first encounter to the cookies at the end, this was one of the best tour companies I’ve ever had experience with. Their respect and care for what they do and the bears was ever present. The whole day felt like a fairytale and we were so happy we booked