From Cache

Ketchikan Expedition Black Bear Traitor's Cove

Among the old growth rainforest, pristine rivers, striking mountains, and soaring eagles is the powerful black bear. Explore a nook of the Last Frontier and witness the noble black bears feasting, frolicking, or slumbering in the wild.

Begin your Expedition Black Bear from Ketchikan Cruise Ship Dock.

Traitor's Cove is located 26 miles north of Ketchikan and approximately 60-70 minutes, one way via our 30' Aluminum Chambered Boat.

On the way to Traitor's Cove, your Six-Pack Licensed Captain will navigate through the Tongass Narrows, Clover Passage, and the temperate rainforest. You will observe stunning bays, sail past a majestic lighthouse, and have a chance to witness coastal wildlife. Quite often you will be able to observe the captivating behavior of whales breaching, revere bear trails and salmon streams, and spot bald eagles feasting on salmon leftovers from the bears foraging.

Once you reach the dock at Traitor's Cove, your adventure will continue as you drive 1.25 miles by private van to the Margaret Creek trailhead. From there, you will continue on a short 250-yard walk along a rainforest trail to the amazing bear viewing falls.

You will have a Captain/Guide that is well equipped and very familiar with travel in bear country, as well as knowledgeable about local flora, fauna, and wildlife that inhabit the rainforest.

Please be advised there is a 4-person minimum for this excursion.

Duration: 4.5 hours (Roundtrip from the cruise ship terminal.)


  • Roundtrip transportation
  • Binoculars for viewing opportunities


  • Must be at least 5 years of age
  • Appropriate clothing per weather
  • Tour requires 4 passengers at minimum to operate

Duration: 4.5 hours. Tour times below are approximate:

  • 60 minutes - boat ride through the Tongass Narrows
  • 5 minutes - van ride to the viewing platform trailhead
  • 15 minutes - walk down the trail to Black Bear viewing platform
  • 90 minutes - viewing time at sights
  • 15 minutes - walk back to the van
  • 5 minutes - ride to a remote lake for viewing/possible bear sighting
  • 60 minutes - ride back to the cruise ship docks

Meeting Instructions:

  • This tour meets at Berths 1-4 or Ward Cove. Further instructions are included on your ticket voucher. 

ADA Accessibility of Tour:

  • This tour is limited mobility and wheelchair accessible. You must be able to walk up the gangplank, board vessel, and hike an uneven trail. Must be able to step up 2 stairs to the viewing platform. Please leave a comment during checkout if accommodations for equipment will be required on tour. If the operator is unaware beforehand of necessary accommodations, they may not be able to accommodate guests day-of.

How many passengers does the boat hold?

The 30' Aluminum Chambered Boat can carry 6 passengers. 

How many passengers does the van hold?

The maximum capacity for this tour is 6 guests. Our van on site is a 12-passenger van.

Will I see any wildlife or bears on this tour?

You will have a guide who is knowledgeable about the wildlife that inhabits the rainforest, and it is extremely likely that you will see bears. You may also see whales, salmon streams, and bald eagles on your way to the bear-viewing falls.

Are there any age restrictions for children?

This is a limited-use area. The minimum age is 5 years old to participate in this excursion.

What type of clothing should I wear?

We recommend wearing clothes that can be layered. A lightweight shirt, sweater, and jacket will allow you to adapt to varying temperatures. Waterproof hiking shoes or sneakers are also recommended. Also, pack a hat and sunglasses.

Not seeing answers to your questions?

Check out other frequently asked questions here!

Customer Reviews
Sep 2023 - Emily C.

Alex was such a good guide! We had a fantastic time.

Sep 2023 - Donna G.

We loved this excursion! I can't say enough about the beauty and majesty we got to experience seeing this part of Alaska. And OMG, lake at the end, I could have sat there all day just taking in the beauty. Alex was a great guide, very knowledgeable about the bears and always watching out for us. Very personalized and only 5 of us on the trip, great boat. Bears plus a bald eagle. I highly recommend.

Aug 2023 - Darren P.

This was an excellent excursion! We saw the bears and our tour guide (Alex) was incredibly knowledgeable and friendly! We enjoyed the ride in the boat also. Alex answered all our questions and make our trip interesting and fun! Thank you :)

Aug 2023 - Patricia Z.

Saw bears, beautiful area & great guide, Alex- so perfect day!

Aug 2023 - Dick L.

I just returned from a 10 day Princess Alaska cruise. This was easily the best excursion I took. Our guide, and boat captain was a Ketchikan native. He was very knowledgeable and communicative. The best part was seeing a mother bear and her 2, 2 year old cubs. We were on a platform roughly 30 feet above the bears. It was an amazing experience. My only caveat is that this excursion is totally dependent on the bears being visible. There is obviously no guarantee that everyone will be as fortunate as we were. You are totally dependent on mother nature. I got many excellent photographs. As an aside I would recommend 1/1000 sec exposure. The bears move slowly, the fish in their mouth flop around. The bears and the weather cooperated. It was an excellent excursion. Worth every penny. I recommend it highly. It easily exceeded my expectations.

Aug 2022 - Carol T.

Fantastic day on a small boat taken to a cove to look for the bears. The captain of our boat was extremely knowledgeable with him being a local Ketchikan lad where him and his family grew up around the area. Would like to have seen more bears as we only saw one mother with her two cubs but magical day nonetheless!

Jul 2022 - Kerrel J.

We were blessed with a gorgeous day. We only saw one bear but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Captain Lance gave quite an effort taking us to two different sites with hopes of viewing the bears. Unfortunately, we were there before many salmon were. When we returned to the harbor, Captain dropped us at a dock directly across from our hotel. Great service!

Sep 2021 - Hubert B.

Wow, we saw 6 bears in the creek, one of them catch at least 20 salmon the time we were there, small group (4) that make the excursion even better, pick up and return on time to catch our princess cruise departure

Aug 2021 - Judy C.

Excellent, informative, adventurous tour Our guide was awesome !! Sorry we forgot his name he was 19 and from Ketichan please acknowledge him for us!! He was very personable and knowledgeable to his area We had a great time! Highly recommend Saw several bears fishing for salmon

Aug 2021 - Susan H.

This was our favorite excursion of the entire trip to Alaska! Our guide Alex was amazing, we saw tons of bears, seals, and eagles. Worth the time and money!

Aug 2021 - Robert M.

Alex picked us up right at the cruise ship pier and took us on a smooth boat ride to the Margaret's Creek pier. The boat only seats 6 passengers and has great seats and large windows to enjoy the scenery on the way. Once at the pier, we boarded a van for the short ride to the trailhead then about 1/4 mile walk down to the viewing platform. Once there, we quickly saw a black bear catching and eating its salmon meal. Over the 2.5 hours we were there, we saw four bears as well as several bald eagles. It was an outstanding day and this tour is highly recommended.

Sep 2019 - Corinne C.

I guess there was nothing really wrong with this tour - the boat ride was fun and the guide was great - just disappointing because we didnt see any bears

Sep 2019 - SUSAN H.

Owner's son Cody met us inside the Visitor's Center and walked us out to dock our boat. He suggested and after the tour we went to Avala's where they go out in the am and catch what they will be serving for the day. Delicious Halibut Fish & Chips, thank you Cody :) ! OMG! We got to see 3 black bears in their natural surroundings, not at a fish hatchery, the biggest "Patches" must of eaten 7-8 salmon in a row. Our captain and land tour guide Doug was 100% for bear sightings up to our excursion! Pointed out what we were seeing over the course of our boat ride from Ketchikan to entering beautiful serene Traitor's Cove, the oh so many Bear Poop along the walking trail, the smashed and grazed on Bear Cabbage plant trails left behind from the Bears having munched and lumbered on, and we even got to pick and eat berries from trees. What a thrill and once but hopefully more, lifetime experiences. THANK YOU DOUG!!! Definitely worth it! Jordan and Susan

Aug 2019 - Karla S.

This tour was absolutely awesome! It was the highlight of our cruise. We saw about 7 bears during this excursion! Captain Doug was terrific!

Aug 2019 - Desmond S.

We had a fantastic half day. Doug, our boat s captain, did a great job getting us to the island and finding the black bears. We saw 5 bears feeding on salmon.

Aug 2019 - James J.

Awesome excursion.

Jul 2019 - David B.

The boat used in this tour is ideal for all weather conditions having a warm enclosed cabin as well as an outside deck. The boat was smooth and fast. We got to see sea lions up close and eagles along the way to the best watch. Our guide Doug was very professional and passionate, we felt extremely safe the entire tour. He was very patient while trying to find the bears. We went to two different locations then back to the first again without any luck and as we gave up and started walking back to the boat he spotted a bear through the trees upstream feeding on a salmon then another bear come out in the stream beside the other bear. They fed for a little while until something startled them and they took off in slightly in our direction and crossed the walking trail only about 10 meters from us. Very exciting, we were so lucky to have witnessed these two bears side by side feeding. It really finished off an amazing tour. The tour is a small group tour which was also good as you had plenty of time to ask your guide any questions you had. All in all this is a 5 star experience well worth doing.

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Duration: 4.5 hours

Number of Passengers *

Min. of 4

Adult: $426.00

Child (5-12): $426.00

Norwegian Guest - Adult: $426.00

Norwegian Guest - Child (5-12): $426.00

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