Stan Price — State Wildlife Sanctuary
Pack Creek Brown Bear Viewing Area - Tips for Visitors

Pack Creek is part of Kootznoowoo Wilderness in Admiralty Island National Monument. As part of this National Forest wilderness, Pack Creek has no visitor facilities.

  • NO outhouses or restrooms
  • NO drinking fountains or vending machines
  • NO public campgrounds (only isolated campsites)

This is in keeping with providing the visitor with a wilderness experience. Hence, visitors to Pack Creek are also "wilderness visitors" and should be prepared to be on their own.

Some General Tips for All Visitors:

  • Arrange for your own transportation to Pack Creek. The Forest Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game administer the site but do not provide tours there. Contact the Forest Service or refer to " Charters & Guides" for information on charterers or guides if you wish, then contact the charterer yourself in advance.
  • The rangers at Pack Creek are there to protect the bears, enforce rules, minimize human-bear interactions, and answer questions. The rangers are not guides, wardens, or guards. There are people around at most times, but the ranger does not accompany you everywhere.
  • Bring only as much gear as you can carry, and keep it near you at all times. Bears will get into any gear left unattended. A small amount of gear can be left in the food cache but not large bags. Rangers are not responsible for watching your gear.
  • Do not bring a dog. "Rover" may be well-trained, but bears and dogs do not mix.
  • Do not pass onto or over the tidal mud flat, even if it is covered by water. Stay out beyond the crab pot buoys when boating past Pack Creek delta. Bears may not be approached by water.
  • The best bear viewing (and wildlife viewing in general) is in the mornings and evenings. If you visit only during mid-day, you will probably see fewer bears.

If You are Arriving by Floatplane for a Few Hours or a Day:

  • Bring enough food and drink for your visit. A day use food cache is available for storing food supplies while you are viewing bears.
  • Bring warm clothing. Raingear makes a rainy day visit much more comfortable. Tall 16" rubber boots are needed to disembark the floatplane onto the beach and to walk muddy sections of trail.
  • Be aware that inclement weather may delay the return flight. Visitors should use discretion as to whether they bring overnight gear. There is no lodging available.
  • Please don't schedule flights to arrive prior to 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Spend at least a half-day there. If you only stay for two or three hours, you may not have the opportunity to visit the viewing observatory at the end of the trail, because entry is limited and someone may be there ahead of you.

If You Plan to Camp in the Area:

  • You must have a boat, canoe, kayak or inflatable of some sort to camp near Pack Creek. Camping is not permitted at the bear viewing area. All camping is done on islands nearby. The distance to travel is less than a mile, but the water is occasionally rough. There is no service available that can take you back and forth from camping area to bear viewing area. Rangers are prohibited from transporting visitors except in case of true emergency. There are rental canoes available near Pack Creek.
  • The ranger camp on Windfall Island is not open to public camping. There are a few undeveloped campsites available on Windfall Island and others on Swan Island further away. Camps are not obvious from a distance; you must walk above the beach into the trees to find them. Floatplanes can land you directly at the campsite if weather permits.
  • Campsites are primitive: there are no picnic tables, outhouses, or potable water. Take you own water jugs. Practice low-impact camping techniques. Take out everything you bring in.
  • Bring ropes and buckets or garbage bags to hang your food and garbage in the trees away from camp. Always hang your food and garbage when leaving camp or getting ready for bed.