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  • Writer's pictureHighlands Ranch Travel

Great Bears in the Wild

A 900-pound flash of brown fur leaps into an ice-cold rapid and emerges with a salmon between its massive jaws. This isn’t a nature program on your television — it’s an unfiltered spectacle happening just a few feet in front of you. This is the kind of wildlife encounter you’ll experience with Natural Habitat Adventures. Let us connect you with the wilderness leaders that Outside magazine named “World’s #1 Adventure Travel Outfitter” and discover where, and how, you can seek out the best bear-spotting posts — from Alaska’s coastal grizzlies to giant pandas in China — while helping to preserve the habitats of these impressive creatures.

Meet the Grizzlies of Alaska

Though iconic to Alaska, North America’s largest land predators are more elusive than you might think. Coastal grizzlies hide within the unspoiled corners and wild beaches of the last frontier, so you’ll follow your expert guide toward the best places to spot them from air, land, and water. Watch them quietly and without interruption from your privileged perspective, or learn how to capture the perfect picture on an exclusive photo safari.


Katmai Coast, Alaska

Cross Alaska’s Shelikof Strait from Kodiak to the Katmai Coast by float plane to get closer to the world’s biggest coastal grizzlies in a wilder setting than anywhere else on Earth. You’ll view bears foraging on the beach as you walk in the careful company of a naturalist Expedition Leader.


A grizzly bear in Katmai National Park, Alaska

Step ashore among the grizzlies with your Expedition Leader and small group of eight guests. You will be the only humans around — and the bears are completely nonchalant about your presence! It’s a one-of-a-kind experience you’ll remember for years to come.


Natural Habitat Ursus

In Kukak Bay, board the eight-passenger Natural Habitat Ursus, a privately chartered ship that provides exceptionally close access to grizzlies foraging for clams in the sand or stalking salmon in remote streams. Once your expedition leader determines you’ve staked out a bear-rich region, zip to shore in a compact Zodiac and pursue a closer look, keeping an eye out, too, for the occasional wolf along the shoreline.

Alaska Grizzly Bear Trip Experience the Tranquility of Nature  Watch Video

Patrolling for Pandas

Behind two black eyes, China’s national treasure — the giant panda — seems to be smiling as it playfully dirties its black-and-white coat by rolling around on the soft floor of a bamboo forest. Found in the Sichuan province, the giant panda is among the earth’s most endangered species. Seeing them in the wild is uncommon, but Natural Habitat Adventures delves into the misty mountains and bamboo forests of their native habitat and shows you firsthand how conservationists are hard at work to protect these lovable creatures.


Dujiangyan Panda Base, Chengdu, China

On multiple visits to China’s famed panda research bases, you’re granted access to see its celebrated ambassador up close. Dujiangyan Panda Base, outside the Sichuan capital of Chengdu, has a mission to rescue and rehabilitate threatened wild pandas. The base and its staff have successfully nurtured an initial population of 10 pandas, and it is now home to more than 40 of China’s most charismatic creatures.


Baby pandas at the nursery

If you thought the bamboo-munching giant pandas were irresistible, wait until you meet their babies at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, who may be on display at certain times of the year. Learn about panda mating habits while you peer into the nursery to see fluffy cubs tuckered out from their day of play.

tibetan macaque

Rhesus macaques at a mountain sanctuary in China

Spend time exploring a 100,000-acre wooded mountain sanctuary that is a protected reserve for giant pandas and other endangered Chinese wildlife, which World Wildlife Fund rates as one of the planet’s top biodiversity hotspots. An exclusive permit not only gives you a chance to search for elusive wild pandas with your guide and companions, but you’re likely to catch a glimpse of other endemic creatures, which may include Sichuan takins, blue sheep, rhesus macaques and golden pheasants.

Chengdu, China On the Jin River

Chengdu, China

You’ll also have ample time to explore the local culture of Chengdu and beyond. Comfortable accommodations welcome you each night, and you’ll find yourself savoring outstanding Sichuan cuisine, sharing lunch with a Tibetan family in a remote mountain village and people-watching in the shaded oasis of Chengdu’s Wangjianglou Park, where locals practice Tai Chi postures and match mahjong tiles beneath the towering stalks of bamboo.

China’s Wild Giant Pandas Watch Pandas in Their Natural Habitat Watch Video

Whether you find yourself on Alaska’s untouched coastlines or in the forests of the Far East, you’ll be drawn closer to more extraordinary wildlife than you could ever experience on your own. We’ll find your ideal itinerary with Natural Habitat Adventures, and you can rest assured that you’re embarking on a low-impact, eco-friendly adventure designed to preserve these bear populations.

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