7-day GOLD Photo Tours — Tips, Options & Itinerary
Roundtrip Anchorage shuttle to/from your hotel
6 nights lodging + all meals
Land wildlife day excursions
Air charters to bear camp
Brooks Falls bear-salmon trip
Marine mammal/fjords cruise through Kenai Fjords Nat’l Park
Helicopter flightseeing glacier/fjords tour (or dogsled ride on a glacier)
FREE 75+ page souvenir APA “Mobile College of Alaska Wildlife Knowledge” notebook!
The BEST tour you can get! Compare to any others out there, especially for the price you pay. It gives you the most flexibility within the 7 day/6 night period to take advantage of prime photo opps and maximize experiences. You’ll have enough time to get GREAT photos, with a great guide, excellent chance of superb interactions, and plenty of daylight.
Below are the activities and time frames you can expect. Order of activities may change due to weather and other logistics. You’ll be sent a more concrete schedule about 30-60 days before your tour begins.
Weather can crunch time. Extra days sometimes make THE difference between getting the shots you came for, or getting NO shots. Especially in Alaska on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, more time is your greatest ally and excellent “insurance”. You just have a greater probability of getting great shots of great animals in great light. You can relax a bit with the normal uncertainties of travel. And the cost per day goes down with longer tours, so you get a better value for your money.
The 7-day tours give you
1) 1-2 extra days with the bears, and/or
2) 1-2 days at other wildlife spots on the Kenai Peninsula, or
3) Other recreational options (see below).
Tour options you can add or substitute for included activities (prices are for adding to existing activities). Contact us for logistics and prices if you wish to substitute instead:
1) Wildlife float trip down the upper Kenai river ($50-150 option depending on length)
2) Whitewater raft trip down a class IV-V river ($150-200)
3) Dogsled ride on a remote glacier. This is a great add-on, but very weather dependent, as the glacier is nestled in a relatively low elevation bowl. Fog and low clouds are common, especially in the morning, making flight into the glacier difficult. It has prohibited us from taking the rides often. For this reason, we have recently made it an optional add-on rather than a permanent part of every itinerary. ($250-575)
4) Zip-lining amongst the old growth forests in Chugach National Forest. This is an option that can also be combined with the boat cruises, whitewater rafting or Kenai river float trips
5) A second helicopter flight — other helo flightseeing options are available — land wildlife tours, dogsledding (see above), glacier landings, etc. Contact us if interested. ($250-750)
6) Other options we can customize for you depending on your particular requests. There will be additional charges for these activities since you would be adding another day to your tour, but we can facilitate any changes seamlessly for you.
DAY -1 or -2: Your arrival in Anchorage
You should arrive at least a day or two before (and after) this tour date begins. This way you can leave room for weather delays before or after your tour, plus get acclimated and decompress in your hotel or around Anchorage
DAY 1: Pick up at your hotel in Anchorage, land wildlife tour, drive to Seward, fjord flightsee
Sometime around 8-9AM you will be picked up and we will spend a few hours at some special wildlife spots in Anchorage before we drive south to the Kenai Peninsula. We will look for moose, black bear, dall sheep, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, loons, beluga whales (high tide) and other wildlife along the way. Lunch will probably be in Anchorage, and dinner will be at your lodge/hotel in Seward.
DAY 2: Kenai Fjords National Park marine mammal/bird boat cruise, Helicopter flightseeing and/or Dogsled adventure on a glacier
Today you will have an unforgettable marine mammal boat tour in the morning (including Puffins!) and a helicopter flightsee or dogsled adventure on a nearby glacier. It is a GORGEOUS cruise and flightsee over Resurrection Bay and some of the most beautiful glaciers and fjords in the world!
If weather is bad, or if there are participants who don’t want to dogsled or take the marine mammal cruise, there is the option of a second or longer flightsee that may include landing on a glacier or other options. After the Seward adventures, we drive to Soldotna for the night.
DAY 3 & 4: Flight to Bear Camp, Brown Bear Photography
We leave either Soldotna or Homer airport for your 30-45 minute flight to your bear camp. Landing on a sandy beach near the bears or cabin, we’ll spend 1-3 days shooting and enjoying the trust and beauty of being among the famous brown bears in Lake Clark Nat’l Park. Note above
We have different bear locations and charters that we work with, as a redundancy for you in case one is full, or weather delays us from using another. If we stay overnight, cabins, glamour tents or lodges are very comfortable with twin and/or double beds, bathrooms, hot water, electricity (usually), boardwalks or decks with views of tidal flats, a lake and/or the ocean. Some have electrified fences around the cabins while others are full-size permanent lodges or rooms.
After you get settled, you’ll be accompanied by one or two highly trained guides as we watch and photograph brown bears in supreme natural Alaskan settings. We are very familiar with the bears here and you will have spine tingling experiences in a safe setting. We may use ATVs to transport us from one location to the next. After a break for dinner, you’ll again look for bears, hopefully in beautiful evening light, taking photos and enjoying their behavior as long as light allows.
Day 5: Mid-morning flightsee/return, land wildlife tour around Kenai Peninsula or Homer
Depending on whether you left from Soldotna or Homer, you’ll return to the same place. Land wildlife tour in the afternoon around hot spots on the Kenai Peninsula after lunch. Flex day depending on when we return from bear camp or any weather days that prevented previous activities. We can do any missed activities today. Overnight in Soldotna or Homer before flying out to Brooks Camp tomorrow.
DAY 6: Daytrip to world famous Brooks Lodge & waterfalls
Flight to world famous Brooks Lodge on Naknek Lake, Katmai Nat’l Park to watch the iconic brown bears catching sockeye salmon. A thrilling experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. Depending on the time of summer, there are usually anywhere from 10-40 bears along the river, where you can watch and photograph safely from elevated walkways and platforms. You will be required to watch or listen to a short bear orientation by the NPS ranger(s). There will be a gear shed to store food and/or daypacks that you don’t to bring on the trail (no food allowed on your person while you hike/visit the bears).
Your guide will accompany you. Bears at Brooks falls have grown up now for many generations around people, and are safe to be around, even at close range, if you follow the guidelines in your orientation. Sometimes bears will even be on the trails with you, approaching at close range. As you step off the trail, they will pass right by you for some great photo and video opps!
DAY 7: Catch-up day, possible fjords flights or boat tour if missed earlier, return to Anchorage for final dinner.
Another catch-up/flex day we can use instead of one of the other days for the bear camps or helicopter aerials, if weather or other circumstances prevent us from going earlier. This is a day divided between a short wildlife land tours and return to Anchorage in the evening. As recommended before, it is wise for you to have a buffer day or two in Anchorage before your flight home for the unforeseen circumstances mentioned above. If weather or light hasn’t been cooperative, this day might make up for it with great light!
We will work our way after breakfast around the peninsula and eventually back to Anchorage in the evening for dinner. We’ll reminisce a bit, share some photos, and wish you our very best before dropping you off at your choice of lodging (reminder: this night’s lodging is not included in your tour price). We will sincerely wish to see you again and hope that you have a great time in this great land!
(Note: If one or more participants want to stay longer on the Peninsula, we can make arrangements for additional lodging stays at your existing lodge in Kenai or Seward, or give you suggestions for other locations or activities. You are not obligated to return to Anchorage with the rest of the group.)