kodiak island

Kodiak Island Featured Destination:

Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
Kodiak, Alaska

President Franklin D. Roosevelt created Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in 1941 to protect the Kodiak bear, the largest species of brown bear, and its habitat. The 1.9-million-acre refuge is a safe haven for 3,000 shy bears, over 400 breeding pairs of bald eagles and 250 other species of birds, fish and mammals.

Spotting a Kodiak brown bear in the refuge may require as much time and preparation as filming their rare swimming behavior for the North America series. The refuge says that bears are rarely found roaming near its road system and it doesn't operate viewing tours, so organizing an excursion by plane or boat is the best way to see the bears in their natural habitat.

Many commercial tours go to remote locations around Frazer Lake, at the south end of the refuge, and the Katmai coast, across the Shelikof Strait from Kodiak. They include guided tours from local lodges to multi-day, backcountry treks.

Best Time to Visit:

You're more likely to have bear-spotting success from late May to early October, depending on the abundance of their favorite foods, berries and salmon.

What to Do:

Plan to stay awhile to increase your chances of seeing a bear or any other wildlife. And, what better way than to live with them? Rustic cabins are available for rent at the refuge, but you must bring your own bedding, stove and cooking supplies, and any other personal gear. You will really be roughing it, as there is no electricity or running water. Cabins are located around the island and accessible by a 45-minute to hour-long sea plane ride. . Get Directions

Other Kodiak Island Destinations:

  • Near Island. At the St. Herman Boat Harbor (also known as Dog Bay), visitors are very likely to see Stellar sea lions. For an interactive experience with Kodiak's marine life, Near Island's Kodiak Fisheries Research Center has a 3,500-gallon aquarium with many local marine species as well as a touch tank filled with marine invertebrates. Get Directions
  • Larsen Bay. An Alutiiq village, Larsen Bay is a favorite spot for fishing and is well-known for its wildlife, including puffins, sea lions, seals, and bears. The area is only accessible by air or sea. Get Directions
  • Old Harbor. The largest puffin colony on the archipelago can be found near Old Harbor on Flat Island. Beyond its natural beauty, Old Harbor also offers insight into Alutiiq culture, Russian colonial history, and whaling in Alaska. Get Directions
  • Ft. Abercrombie State Historical Park. Just a few miles north of the City of Kodiak, visitors looking for a historical experience can camp at the ruins of a World War II coastal defense installation at Ft. Abercrombie State Historical Park. Get Directions
  • Pasagshak Bay. Surfers Beach is a prime whale-watching spot at Pasaghak Bay, and the occasional fossil can be found on Fossil Beach. Down the road is the Kodiak Launch Complex, where satellites are launched into polar orbit by the Alaska Aerospace Development. Get Directions

Explore Kodiak Island:


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