Salmon and Grizzlies in Hyder, Alaska

Alaska, Fish Creek, Hyder, salmon
Spawning Chum Salmon : Prints Available

Spawning chum salmon in Fish Creek, Hyder, Alaska.

After bailing from Jasper and the Canadian Rockies, three days of driving west and north through British Columbia brought us to the southeast tip of Alaska and the town of Hyder. At this point in the trip we hadn’t really done any planning or research beforehand, so didn’t really know what to expect as we rolled into Stewart and Hyder, two towns straddling the border of BC and Alaska. If driving through the nearly-vertical, glacier-clad gorge to get here wasn’t spectacular enough, we got to see some grizzlies feeding on spawning salmon at Fish Creek right out of town!

Alaska, Fish Creek, Grizzly, Hyder, bear
Stalking Salmon : Prints Available

Grizzly bear hunting for salmon.

Fish Creek was plump full of spawning chum salmon; you could hear their splashing before you could even see the river. There’s an elevated wooden observation path where you can walk above next to the river and watch as grizzlies occasionally come by to snack on salmon. I’m not really a wildlife photographer but it sure was fun watching the bear!

Alaska, Fish Creek, Grizzly, Hyder, bear
Salmon Lunch : Prints Available

Grizzly bear picks up a chum salmon to eat.

Interestingly, grizzlies usually just eat the skin and eggs of the salmon, leaving the rest of the fish to rot or be eaten by other animals. Sometimes the skinned salmon is still flopping around as the grizzly walks off with its skin!

Alaska, Hyder, Salmon Glacier
Salmon Glacier

Overlooking the Salmon Glacier.

After watching the bears for a while we continued driving up the road from Hyder. A long winding dirt mining road took us all the way along and above the giant Salmon Glacier, the fifth largest glacier in Canada.

Alaska, Hyder, Salmon Glacier, wildflowers
Fireweed and Salmon Glacier : Prints Available

Salmon Glacier.

Alaska, Fish Creek, Grizzly, Hyder, bear
Swimming Grizzly : Prints Available

A grizzly bear swims across a pond.

We drove down from the Salmon Glacier and stopped again at Fish Creek for one last look at the grizzlies, then returned to the Canadian side of the border, camped at a nearby little lake, and hoped that the grizzlies wouldn’t feed on us that night!

British Columbia, Canada, Clements Lake
Clements Lake

A quiet evening at Clements Lake, near Stewart, BC.

7 thoughts on “Salmon and Grizzlies in Hyder, Alaska

    1. Yeah we were definitely concerned! The general sense I get is that the bears don’t really want to be bothered, so as long as you don’t surprise them, and don’t have any food or smelly items in your tent, you should (theoretically) be alright camping in grizzly country. I guess…

      1. I like the idea of sleeping in the vehicle, and that is what some people do in crcodile areas in Australia. You can even get a tent that fits on top of certain types of vehicles.

  1. They like the brains too. We went to Alaska this summer and learned that the brains are rich in nutrients and fat and as long as the fish are plentiful they may just eat the brains. Though typically the fish stops writhing in this case.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *