Alaska Conservation Foundation > Experience Alaska > Alaska’s Sanctuaries, Parks, Refuges and Communities > Sanctuaries > McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Refuge
McNeil River sanctuary protects the world’s largest concentration of brown bears. When spawning salmon jam up at the McNeil River falls, it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet for the bears – observers have counted as many as 72 bears at one time.
The bears are so busy eating, they don’t mind being watched by humans. A handful of visitors, escorted by a guide, are allowed at the falls to see this amazing spectacle. Thanks to careful management, the bears and people have safely shared the same space, even though there are no barriers separating the watchers from the watched. Only 10 spots are available at the falls during peak times and those spots are awarded by lottery.
The sanctuary is across Cook Inlet from the town of Homer, not far from Augustine Volcano, about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage. Visit it now!