What kind of wildlife will I see on my Skagway tour? (Part 1)
If you’re planning an Alaska vacation, there is little doubt that you would like to see some wildlife during the trip. Alaska is known as “America’s Last Frontier,” which means that wildlife abounds in a natural habitat. Skagway is surrounded by some of the most pristine wilderness in North America. This begs the question, “If I take a Skagway tour, what kind of wildlife can I expect to see?”
Ready to check a certain species of wildlife off your bucket list?
The best way to approach this question is to make a short list of commonly seen wild animals, and then talk about where you are most likely to see them. We even included a list of tours for each animal so that you can pick the tour that gives you the best chance of seeing whatever wild animal is highest on your list.
Mountain goats are commonly seen on many Skagway Tours
Bears (grizzly and black) – The vast majority of visitors want to see a bear on their trip. Bears are common around Skagway, although it’s more common to see a black bear than grizzlies. If you’re visiting in the spring (April – early June), tours to the Yukon Territory offer excellent opportunities to see black bears feeding alongside the road. Multiple bears are often spotted on a single tour, but early morning tours are best. Tours to the Yukon include the Yukoner and Yukon Discovery. You can also charter your own private tour to the Yukon.
In the late summer months (July – mid-September), grizzly bears are sometimes spotted in a nearby area called Dyea. These brown bears feed on salmon that run through the sloughs on the tidal flats, so be sure to find out whether the salmon are running. Tours to the Dyea area include the Musher’s Camp, Chilkoot Horseback, and the Rainforest Bike. To maximize your chances of seeing a brown bear, charter your own tour bus with a private, local guide.
Bears are just about everywhere around Skagway. We even see them strolling right down Broadway during the late fall and winter months. This means you could see a bear just about any time, even while hiking a local trail. Seeing a bear is a thrill you won’t forget, but if you’re hiking on your own, you need to be “bear aware” and make sure you’re prepared for any encounter.
Moose – As one of North America’s largest mammals, the moose is high on many people’s “must-see” list for Alaska wildlife. While moose sightings in Skagway are extremely rare, they are quite common in the Yukon Territory. Still, moose are elusive, so if you’re going on a Yukon tour to see them you need to keep your eyes peeled on the wooded areas just off the highway. Spring is the best time to spot moose because there is little foliage to block your view, but they are spotted throughout the season. You just have to get a little lucky. The best tours for moose sighting are the Yukoner, Yukon Discovery, and independent local tours.
Be sure to check out Part 2 where we talk about spotting some of Alaska’s most popular forms of sea life, including whales!