Highlights and main attractions of Kodiak island

Separated from mainland Alaska by Shelikof Strait, Kodiak Island is the largest island of the Kodiak Archipelago, and the second largest island in the USA. Having once been encased in glaciers, the landscape has been battered and carved, resulting in majestic jagged peaks, wide valleys and fjord-like deep bays. The spectacular wilderness supports an abundance of land and marine life, now protected by the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge.

Kodiak Island occupies an area of over 9,000 square kilometres and has a rich history and during your stay here it should not be ignored. This includes Alutiiq heritage and the Russian colonisation in the 1700s, and the eruption of Novarupta in 1912, which resulted in the fall of darkness for nearly three days and almost two feet of ash covering the grounds of the town. Today Kodiak town is a successful fishing village with a thriving port and slow pace - a unique island paradise that you have to explore to really appreciate. 

Mountainous and heavily forested, the island has attracted some fantastic wildlife and is now know for its Kodiak bears, the largest found anywhere.

Where is Kodiak Island?

Location and Activities

Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge covers about two thirds of Kodiak Island, as well as other islands in the archipelago, such as Uhanik and Afognak, famous for its red peaks as well as the entire Ban Island. Administered from offices in Kodiak, this scenic beauty contains seven major rivers and about a hundred streams. There are no roads in the park, which was established in 1941 to protect the grizzly bears from over-hunting.

There are now nearly 3,000 grizzly bears across the archipelago and these massive creatures can reach 10 feet in height standing on their hind legs. We prefer to explore here via small boat and from the ground, enabling unique encounters as we glide through rockbound coves and tread trails lined with wild flowers and Sitka spruce. The best time to see the bears is between July and September, however the whale migration begins before this in April with the grey whale, then June brings Fin, Minke, Humpback and Sei whales. Other marine mammals include dall and white sided porpoise, stellar sea lions and northern sea otters. Back on dry land, you may spot little brown bats, tundra vole, short-tailed weasel, red fox and river otter. Species such as Roosevelt elk, mountain goat, muskrat and red squirrel have all been introduced and can be spotted too. All five species of salmon are found in the waters and there are millions of sea birds, including 600 recorded pairs of nesting eagles.

The best way to explore is via small boat, offering a terrific chance to enjoy the silence, broken only by the calls of eagles. There are also some small, remote cabins and lodges off the main roads. Accessible via air from anchorage, or by ferry, there are unlimited areas to explore via foot or kayak and the hundreds of peaks, up to 4,000 foot, lush spruce forest and rugged coastline, combined with the tundra and sandy beaches to form a mysteriously unique landscape, not often traversed by visitors.

Our most popular and exclusive wilderness trip to this area is aboard our basic Grizzly Cruiser. 


Tracking bears on foot and being only a few metres away is both adrenalin pumping and one of the best photographic bear viewing trips that you can experience.

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