Will You See Alaska's Big 5 Wildlife on Your Adventure?

When you pair your Alaskan yacht charter with on shore excursions you set yourself up for adventure and to see Alaska's Big Five.

What are the Big Five you ask? Well they are bears, moose, Dall sheep, and wolves.



There are more than 35,000 brown bears and 100,000 black bears that call Alaska home. They venture through the vast thick pine forests and feed in the salmon rich rivers.

Black Bear

These are the smallest of the Alaskan bears but don't think that means they aren't intimidating. They are anywhere from 4 to 6 feet in length and can weight up to 250 pounds.

They are called black bears, but their coloring could be any shade from black to brown. Some are even a more bluish grey.

Brown Bear

You'll know you're looking at a brown bear if you see a large shoulder hump. They also have smaller ears and long front claws. But let's hope you don't ever get close enough to inspect their claws.

These bears are larger than black bears and can get up to 7 to 9 feet in length. They'll weight anywhere from 200 to 850 pounds for females and 400 to 1,500 pounds for males.

Polar Bear

These are the largest of the bears in Alaska. They can be up to 8 to 10 in length! If that wasn't impressive enough, they'll weigh anywhere from 400 to 1,200 pounds.

You'll need to travel to the colder northern lands to have a chance at spotting one. A common place for sighting them is Barter Island, that hugs the state’s northern coast.



Caribou are known for living on the tundra more inland. You'll recognize them for their antlers that can grow up to 53 inches, that's 4.4 feet!

Now image those huge antlers on top of a caribou that already stands 4 to 5 feet tall at the shoulder. That makes for some impressive reindeer!

In summer they feed on the tundra. Then they will travel up to 600 miles to the harsh lands of the north.



You can't truly appreciate the intimidating stature of a moose until you see one in person. They often are 6 feet tall at their shoulders!

But don't think it will be easy for you to spot one though. Their brown coloring help them blend into the surrounding Earth tones quite easily.

They love to swim, so you may just see their nose and antlers sticking out of a lake or river.

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Dall Sheep

While you'll want to look along the land for bear, moose, and caribou, you'll need to look up to spot sheep.

Dall sheep love to travel along high altitude ridges. This is so they can get away from the predators quickly who can't handle the rugged terrain.

You can spot the rams by their large curved horns. The males you usually live together in groups away from the females until it's mating season.

The baby lambs are born around May, so take you Alaskan vacation early if you hope to see them.



Let's be honest, isn't whale spotting one of the main reasons you want to visit Alaska? There's nothing more awe inspiring than seeing a 40 ton whale breaking the sea's surface.

Lucky for you, summer is the best time to spot them when more than 2,000 venture to the Alaskan seas to feed.

It's not just humpbacks you have a chance of seeing though. Killerwhales, or Orcas, and Beluga whales also migrate to the Alaskan waters during summer.

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Bald Eagles

Over 40,000 Bald Eagles call Alaska home. That gives you very good odds of seeing one while on your Alaska vacation. Don't believe the name though. They aren't actually bald. They get their name from the white plumage on their heads that is in stark contrast to the rest of their bodies that are brown.

Bald Eagles are just one of over 300 different species of bird that call Alaska home. This makes for some great opportunities for photography and bird watching.


If you have never tasted fresh caught wild salmon, you are missing out. It tastes nothing like the canned or farm raised versions that are often found in the lower 48.

Every summer the great salmon migration happens. This is when photographers catch those death defying leaps the fish make as they swim upstream.

It becomes death defying because all of the leaping and action attracts the attention of the bears we talked about earlier.


Consider yourself lucky if you manage to spot a wolf on your Alaska vacation adventure. They are hard to spot, but manage to live on about 85% of Alaska's territory. That's 586,000 square miles of habitat.

There are about 7,000 to 11,000 wolves that call Alaska home. The highest density of them though are in southeastern Alaska. They like to hunt the Sitka black tailed deer found in this region.

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Sea Otter

These funny and adorable creatures were nearly hunted to extension thanks to Russian fur hunters in the 1800s. Thankfully that didn't happen, and today you have the chance of spotting one while on your Alaskan Cruise.

Sea otters live all along the coast of Alaska from the Aleutian Islands, to the Kenai Peninsula, and in the Gulf of Alaska down the Inside Passage into British Colombia. They like to live in groups like little communities.

They are very curious creatures and quite gregarious. You'll often see them floating on their back while they crack open shellfish for a snack. The timing of your Alaska yacht charter doesn't matter too much as they are in Alaska year round.

Book your Alaskan Yacht Charter Adventure

If you love wildlife spotting Alaska is a great place to come. We have creatures big and small to tickle your fancy. While we can't guarantee that you'll get to spot your dream animal, we do our best to make sure you have the best chance.

You can check out our gallery and see some of the animals that we've snapped pictures of over the years while chartering.

Claim one of our few available weeks today and book your Alaska yacht charter today.