Inside Look at Fortress of the Bear in Alaska

View of big brown bear with blurred trees in background.

Majestic, adorable and fierce, it’s no surprise bears top the list of must-see animals on Alaska cruises. Though sightings are never 100% guaranteed, it’s an amazing experience when they come into view – preferably not when you’re alone. After all, who wants to encounter a 900-pound brown bear by themselves? One way to safely cross bears off your vacation bucket list is with an Alaska shore excursion to Fortress of the Bear in Sitka, located about 5 miles from the city center in the Tongass National Forest. Here’s an inside look at the bear haven that welcomes more than 89,000 visitors annually:

The Mission

Fortress of the Bear works to rescue and care for cubs orphaned in the wild, bringing them back to health. They also want to someday work with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game to release rehabbed bears into the wild.

Big bear and cubs walk through meadow.

Bear Viewing

During the tour, experts discuss bear behavior and highlight stories of some of their residents. Get to know Smokey, for example, a black bear who starred on an episode of Alaska State Troopers when she was found in a shack. Six weeks later, Smokey’s sister was also found and sent to the sanctuary.

Watch in wonder as these amazing animals eat, swim and scuffle with their siblings. Take snapshots from your vantage point – eye-to-eye on the ground level or from a viewing platform above.

You can visit both the Alaska Raptor Center and the Fortress of the Bear on the Birds, Bears & Barnacles shore excursion.

Learn more about all the potential animal experiences you could have on an Alaska cruise by checking out our Best Places for Wildlife Sightings in Alaska story or visiting the Alaska wildlife page.

Article by Amanda Halm


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