With its ice-capped mountains, interior lakes, and dense spruce and hemlock forest, wild Admiralty Island is the place to go for Alaska wildlife sightings. The island has about one brown bear for each of its 1,646 square miles (4,263 square km) and is home to more than half of the country’s bald eagles. To see the big bears, head to the northeasterly Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area within the federally protected and island-dominating Admiralty Island National Monument. There, in summer, it’s possible to witness bears gobbling down salmon in small groups near the mouth of Pack Creek or wandering through the old-growth temperate rain forest that they share with Sitka black-tailed deer.
Multi-day kayak tours explore the island’s east coast facing the Seymour canal. Great for wild-life lovers and outdoor adventurers, these tours allow you to spot bald eagle nests, porpoises, seals, and—if you're lucky—the flukes of a humpback whale, right from the seat of your kayak.
Pack Creek is located 15 miles (24 km) from Juneau, and is mostly accessed by sea plane. While permits are usually required, transportation is taken care of when visiting as part of a guided tour. Peak viewing time for wildlife is between July 5 and Aug. 25, though the sanctuary is open from June 1 to Sept. 10.
Many kayak and canoe trips depart from the island’s only permanent settlement—the traditional Tlingit community of Angoon on the west coast. These trips utilize the Cross Admiralty Canoe Route, which bisects the Island via a series of inland streams and lakes to reach the Seymour Canal at Mole Harbor.