Kodiak Brown Bears2022-01-05T22:38:04-09:00

Kodiak Brown Bears with Carl Johnson | August 15-18, 2022


Known as the Emerald Isle, Kodiak Island is an amazing photographic destination, from dramatic landscapes to the largest subspecies of brown bears in the United States. For this multi-day photo excursion, we base camp at the Kodiak Brown Bear Center on Karluk Lake for three nights to explore several locations to photograph brown bears, followed by two nights in the community of Kodiak to explore the landscape opportunities of the island. This excursion presents a marvelous mix of world-class wildlife photography and stunning coastal landscapes to explore.

Day One

You should arrive in Kodiak, Alaska, on the first morning flight from Anchorage (lands at 9:42 a.m.). There, you will be met by your guide and wait for transportation to the Island Air facility for our bush plane flight out to the Kodiak Brown Bear Center on Karluk Lake.  Along the way, we will stop at a liquor store if you wish to purchase beer or wine for the stay at the lodge. Once at Island Air, we will discuss the flight and aerial photography opportunities along the way.

Once at the Center, we will have lunch and get settled into our rooms. The Center is situated on an island surrounded by the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, with tall, lush mountains surrounding the landscape. The facility consists of four double-occupancy cabins and a main lodge facility. At the lodge, you can relax on comfortable couches with a view of the lake and mountains, warm up by the fireplace, read or review your photos. There is also an outdoor firepit area where we can enjoy smores and the fresh air of the Alaskan wilderness. After we are all situated, we will head out for an afternoon of brown bear viewing. We return to the lodge for dinner and an evening presentation on wildlife photography.

Day Two-Three

Each day, we will proceed on a small boat to any of four different locations for brown bear viewing and photography. Breakfast and dinner will be at the lodge, while lunch may sometimes be at the lodge or out in the field, depending on the plan of the day. As needed, your Alaska Photo Treks guide will provide guidance and assistance on the best techniques for wildlife photography. Wildlife opportunities will include brown bears, red fox, Sitka black tail deer, ermine, and others. The mountains and shores of Karluk Lake also provide stunning landscape photo opportunities. In the evenings, we will relax or conduct photo reviews as needed.

Day Four

In the morning of our last day, we will head out for one more boat-supported opportunity to view and photograph the amazing Kodiak brown bear. After lunch, we will gather to catch our return bush plane flight to Kodiak. Once there, the trip is completed. We recommend you stay for the night in Kodiak before you head home (lodging not included). If you do, let us know and we would love to join you for dinner and share about our days out at Karluk Lake!

Whenever possible we endeavor to follow our itineraries as written. However, trips will occasionally deviate from the written itinerary due to weather conditions, group preference, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances (collectively what some have called “The Alaska Factor.”) Therefore, we suggest that you approach any Alaska trip with an open mind and an adventurous spirit. We also highly recommend you purchase trip insurance. 

Fishing Kodiak brown bear

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What’s Included

  • Transportation between Kodiak airport and Kodiak Brown Bear Center
  • Lodging in Kodiak for two nights after visit to Kodiak Brown Bear Center
  • All meals and snacks at Kodiak Brown Bear Center
  • Guiding and instruction

What’s Not Included

  • Air fare to Kodiak, Alaska
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Gratuity
  • Lodging in Kodiak before start or after conclusion of photo excursion

Recommended Photography Gear

  • Camera with manual settings
  • Wide angle lens, with ranges recommended between 24-70mm
  • Zoom lens, recommended 70-500mm
  • Rain jacket for camera and lens
  • Charged batteries and charger
  • Multiple memory cards
  • Sturdy Tripod
  • Remote shutter release


The Kodiak Brown Bears photo excursion involves moderate activity that involves walking short distances on uneven terrain. Weather conditions may range from sunny to windy and rainy with temperatures from 50F (10°C) to 70°F (21°C).

Clothing and Personal Gear

  • Comfortable walking or hiking shoes with good traction and water resistance
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Fleece sweater or jacket
  • Water/windproof outer shell with insulation
  • Rain gear
  • Warm hat and gloves