Fortress of the Bear
At the center, 30-minute tours are led by naturalist guides, generally with start times every hour. Following the tour of the facility, you’ll have time to view the bears on your own as they feed and play.
The Fortress of the Bear is a stop on many half- and full-day tours of Sitka, including both private and small-group options. The Alaskan city is known for its wildlife and Native American cultural heritage—as such, many tours also include a whale-watching cruise, a visit to the Alaska Raptor Center, or a stop at the Tlingit and Haida totem poles in Sitka National Historic Park.
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Things to Know Before You Go
This is a great stop for families. Naturalists offer kid-friendly explanations, and children under 7 get free admission.
Plan to wear bug spray or protective clothing, as there are sometimes mosquitos here.
The Fortress of the Bear is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
The bear sanctuary is located at 4639 Sawmill Creek Road, about 5.5 miles (8.9 kilometers) south of Sitka. Even if you’re not visiting as part of a tour or shore excursion, some cruise operators offer shuttles to the sanctuary. Another option is the Sitka blue line city bus, which drops passengers 200 yards (183 meters) from the entrance.
When to Get There
The Fortress of the Bear is open daily from May through September, with hours that vary in the off-season. Keep in mind that the last admission is 30 minutes prior to closing. In order to offer a more natural environment for the bears, there is no set feeding schedule at the sanctuary.
Where to See Wildlife in Sitka
Brown bears aren’t the only bucket-list wildlife you’ll encounter in Alaska. Whale-watching cruises on big and small boats offer the chance to see humpback whales, orca whales, minke whales, and more. Next, visit the Alaska Raptor Center, where bald eagles and other fierce flyers can be spotted in both enclosed facilities and the surrounding forest.