Trip Reports: Salmon And Grizzlies In Hyder, Alaska - August 2016

After bailing from Jasper and the Canadian Rockies, three days of driving west and north through British Columbia brought us to the southeast tip of Alaska and the town of Hyder. At this point in the trip we hadn’t really done any planning or research beforehand, so didn’t really know what to expect as we rolled into Stewart and Hyder, two towns straddling the border of BC and Alaska. If driving through the nearly-vertical, glacier-clad gorge to get here wasn’t spectacular enough, we got to see some grizzlies feeding on spawning salmon at Fish Creek right out of town!

Alaska, Fish Creek, Hyder, salmon, photo

Spawning Chum Salmon

Spawning chum salmon in Fish Creek.

Fish Creek was plump full of spawning chum salmon; you could hear their splashing before you could even see the river. There’s an elevated wooden observation path where you can walk above next to the river and watch as grizzlies occasionally come by to snack on salmon. I’m not really a wildlife photographer but it sure was fun watching the bear!

Alaska, Fish Creek, Grizzly, Hyder, bear, photo

Stalking Salmon

Grizzly bear hunting for salmon.

Alaska, Fish Creek, Grizzly, Hyder, bear, photo

Salmon Lunch

Grizzly bear picks up a chum salmon to eat. Interestingly, grizzlies usually just eat the skin and eggs of the salmon, leaving the rest of the fish to rot or be eaten by other animals. Sometimes the skinned salmon is still flopping around as the grizzly walks off with its skin!

Alaska, Hyder, Salmon Glacier, photo

Overlooking the Salmon Glacier.

After watching the bears for a while we continued driving up the road from Hyder. A long winding dirt mining road took us all the way along and above the giant Salmon Glacier, the fifth largest glacier in Canada.

Alaska, Hyder, Salmon Glacier, wildflowers, photo

Fireweed and Salmon Glacier

Salmon Glacier.

Alaska, Fish Creek, Grizzly, Hyder, bear, photo

Swimming Grizzly

A grizzly bear swims across a pond.

We drove down from the Salmon Glacier and stopped again at Fish Creek for one last look at the grizzlies, then returned to the Canadian side of the border, camped at a nearby little lake, and hoped that the grizzlies wouldn’t feed on us that night!

British Columbia, Canada, Clements Lake, photo

A quiet evening at Clements Lake, near Stewart, BC after a day of watching salmon and grizzlies in Hyder, Alaska.

Tagged Alaska.