Smokey Bay Air
Smokey Bay Air
5
Eco ToursNature & Wildlife ToursAir Tours

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles418 reviews
Excellent
404
Very good
7
Average
3
Poor
0
Terrible
4

Brook G
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Fantastic experience!! We were happy this flight service cancelled on a marginal weather day. Safety is a priority here. The following day was perfect, and a very skilled pilot and super knowledgeable guide flew us out to an idyllic part of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. We must have seen over 50 different brown bears, some walking calmly past just a few yards away. Our guides made these close encounters feel completely safe and we were happy the bears hardly seemed to notice us and simply went about their day grazing, and then as the tide continued to ebb, digging for clams. The highlight of the day was watching two curious cubs follow mom around and stand on their little legs to get a better view of us. What a day!! We can't wait to have visitors so we will have an excuse to go again!!
Written July 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Glad we were able to get you out there to see the bears and one the most beautiful places in Alaska. But, most of all, many thanks for your recognition of our safety culture. We hope to see you again!
Written August 5, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Debra K
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Best Lifetime Memory Ever.

July 13th 2020 my husband and myself flew with Smokey Bay Air for bear viewing. This was the best lifetime memory my husband and I will ever have. We were amazed with the skill of the pilot Frank. Dylan shared his knowledge about the Coastal Brown Bear, their habitat and how we would view the bear without disturbing their habitat. We seen 24 bear, including walking up on one 21 yards in front of us. Safety was their top priority along with getting us the best viewing of the bear up close . Dylan narrated our entire trip, pointing out a volcano, glaciers and the awesome Mountains and scenery. Flying in Dylan pointed out 11 bear below us. Smokey Bay Air get our highest recommendation from the receptionist taking our call for reservations, to our safety instructions before took off to the flight, viewing and return. Everyone one went above and beyond making our trip the most memorable ever. Even mail us something we left on the plane Best trip every. Ron & Deb K, Pennsylvania
Written July 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much. Very glad that the tour was such an incredible memory for you. Please come back and we'll see if we can top it!
Written July 21, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kevin B
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
We couldn't have asked for a better, more thrilling experience! Our pilot was Matty and our "extra" guide was Daniel, an expert in brown bears and their activity. From the start of our hike we were seeing bears in their natural habitat. We were blessed to see a couple of alpha males "square off" for superiority in the meadow. Daniel was outstanding with information on what to do when in the presence of the bears, and, when one passed within 10-yards of us, there was no panic in our group as we huddled shoulder to shoulder, kneeling down as there bear passed and paid no special attention to us. It was a most amazing experience! We very highly recommend taking this excursion. Everyone we worked with was professional and friendly, sharing information freely and answering every question posed. Simply outstanding!
Written June 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for the wonderful review and recognizing or professionalism. Thats is the highest compliment.
Written July 8, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Reddess
San Francisco, CA6 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
The expectation they set: their website tells you that you'll have a 'once-in-a-lifetime adventure', their 'what to expect' document says "you will be walking and stopping amongst the bears", their photos show up close pictures of brown bears and the 'bear safety' talk at the beginning of the tour informs you what to do when we get up close to the bears.
The reality: the closest we got to a bear was about a quarter of a mile, the other few bears we saw we dots on the horizon.
Turns out there is a drought going on (which as a visitor, I wasn't aware of) and because of the drought the normally abundant food sources that bring lots and lots of bears to Lake Clark NP simply aren't there, limited food = limited bears = difficulty providing the experience they are selling.
They know about the drought, their pilot guides must be informing them that they are not getting close experiences with the bears and they have chosen not to inform their customers about the real experience you will have.
If you want to have a close experience with grizzly bears, safe a bunch of money and go to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near Portage. You'll be with a bunch of other people, but at least you won't need binoculars to see the bears.
Originally I was going to give this tour 3 stars because the views from the plane ride were really good, but after emailing Smokey Bay and informing them of my dismay at being misled to the experience I was expecting, they couldn't even be bothered to respond to me. Which tells me that once they have your money, they really just don't care.
Written June 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sean B
Palo Alto, CA4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
One picture worth a thousand words. I looked at Smokey Bay Air's website to get an idea about the tour before I made it part of our Alaska visit. I was looking for something *close* to what it is showed on the website as all the tour company would show the best they can do there. But amazingly, I like to say, Smokey Bay Air made my experience above and beyond what they showed on their website - getting to see the bears so close on the beach, in the meadow and feel the bears natural environment. Got excited with the bears when they ran and made the splash, at the same time, felt safe because the guide and pilots were there to guide and protect us. Absolutely a once in a lifetime experience. Smokey Bay Air company office staffs are also very helpful. I call them nice people ...
Written June 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Many thanks for all the kind words and always very glad when we exceed expectations!
Written July 8, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

kwgarnache
Chesapeake, VA69 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
My husband and I took a flight to Lake Clark National Park with Smokey Bay to see bears and had a memorable trip. The flight over gave us a little flightseeing of Alaska and landing on/taking off from a beach was a little thrill along. Although we didn't see a lot of bears on this tour, we had the opportunity to see two bears fishing way closer than any of us, including the guide, anticipated. The guide remained calm when the bear got extremely close to us and our group was still able to observe and enjoy while slowly increasing our distance away. The tour was small, just my husband and I and two older women. My only complaint would be that this tour specifically says participants must be able to walk up to 5 miles because the tour occurs on mud flats and a relatively rocky beach. One of the women on our tour was in her mid-80s and could not walk far unassisted which limited our tour to a very small area which affected the number of bears we were able to see. I thought the website and the emails we received from Smokey Bay Air were pretty clear about what this tour was and the physical requirements of the tour, so I'm not sure why she was allowed to participate. I had a great time, but it would have been even better if we hadn't been limited by someone's inability to walk any sort of distance.
Written September 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for the review. I will discuss your concerns as we prepare for the upcoming season. I hope you are able to return for more adventures!
Written February 13, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

setteetti
Milan, Italy1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
We were part of a small group of 8 people (plus pilots)
The Smokey Bay Team was very welcoming, giving us all the gear, a small bag with some snacks, a briefing on Chinitna Bay, the bears and some information about how to behave around bears.
On the same day we landed in two different spots and in both places we had the chance to see some bears, some closer than others and some with their cubs
Keep in mind that bears do not care about your plans nor desires, so is up to your luck how many and how close you will encounter them, that said Smokey Bay Air will do anything in their possibilities to see as much as possible.
The experience was very long and complete: as far as I understood, they prefere short flight in order to give you much more time with bears, the tour lasts around 6hrs (4 on land)
Our pilot (Barret? excuse my bad memory) was happy to share some extra information about the place, answer our (sometimes naif) questions and tell some stories on local people too!

We were lucky enough to see a mama bear and her 7mo cub from a short distance and also 5 or 6 other bears on the second spot.
Thanks to our pilot we always felt safe and in "good hands" both on land and on air.

On the return flight he gave us the chance to flight on the mountains around to see from above a glacier and a volcano. That was an extra experience that we appreciated so much!

We had LOT of fun and emotions, for anyone looking for a nice experience with a fair price!
THANKS SMOKEY BAY!
Written August 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Morgan S
10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020
My husband and I toured with Smokey Bay Air for viewing brown bears in their natural habitat at Katmai and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the animals and the area and the flights to and from the national park were smooth. Our guide was also very willing to take photos of us with the bears and we ended up staying out there longer than scheduled, which was nice. We were surprised how close we were able to come in contact with the bears and how trusting they were of us. I would recommend this company for those looking for a personalized experience and who enjoy trecking through wilderness to naturally walk among the bears.
Written August 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Very glad you had such a good time. We pride ourselves on offering unique and personalized experience.
Written September 18, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

HotlanaGirl
Dunwoody, GA3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
We had an incredible experience with Smokey Bay Air bear viewing trip. We were provided with safety instructions, hip waders and snacks for our trip. Our pilot Brittany was skilled at flying and beach landing, she showed us beautiful views of the Grewingk Glacier on the way back. Our other guide Barrett was fantastic at showing us the bears, sharing interesting details and answering questions. We were able to get incredibly close to a clamming bear (20 yards) and observed her for a good 30 min. We felt safe the entire time of our trip. Highly recommend this company for bear viewing experience.
Written July 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for the detailed and wonderful review, Glad you had such a good time and were well taken care of by our pilot / guides.
Written July 8, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Linda
Roscoe, IL3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022 • Couples
This is our favorite memory from our trip to Alaska! Bad weather prevented us from going on the tour on our scheduled day. They were able to get us in just two days later. Steve (our pilot and guide) made us feel completely at ease. He is so knowledgeable about the bears and their habits. The flight to and from Hallo Bay was beautiful and smooth. We flew by several volcanos. We saw bears from the moment we landed. There were a couple mamas and cubs digging for clams. It was such fun watching the cubs scamper along. Smokey Bay gave us hip waders so we could walk through the water as we crossed the flats to get closer to the bears. We actually saw an adult male and female bear playing in the grass. We briefly thought we were going to get a National Geographic moment! When they were done playing the male came down to drink water 30 yards from us. We could hear him slurping as he drank. He then walked away from the water and sprawled out on his belly! All the bears we saw totally ignored us. This bear tour was definitely on our bucket list and didn’t disappoint. We would highly recommend this trip to anyone wanting to see bears safely in their natural habitat.
Written July 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Smokey Bay Air - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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