Seeing a bear is high on the list for most people when visiting Alaska. There are two main types that you will find in the Juneau, AK area: the black bear and the brown bear. We don’t tend to see a lot of brown bears right inside Juneau, but there are a ton if you head over to Admiralty island. Black bears are in abundance if that’s your goal. There are also a ton of other animals like eagles.
The black bear is the smallest of the North American bears. Adults stand about 29 inches at the shoulders and are about 60 inches from nose to tail. Males are larger than females, and weigh about 180-200 pounds in the spring. They are considerably lighter when they emerge from winter hibernation and may be about 20 percent heavier in the fall when they’re fat. There’s an estimated 100,000 black bears in Alaska.
During an early spring hike on Douglas Island we came across this young bear. We had a group of about 7 people that was doing an off-trail hike back to an old abandoned dam. You never know when you will come across a bear so being loud is generally a good way to let them know you’re coming. I’ve never heard of an attack when there’s a group of more than 3 people. I took this image with a wide angle lens to give you an idea of just how close we got.
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