Private Bear Lodge

Photograph brown bears in beautiful Lake Clark

    • Watch brown bears and cubs in a beautiful setting
    • See up to 20 bears each day
    • Photograph puffins and other wildlife
    • Stay in a beautiful lodge with incredible food
    • Accommodation and flights from Anchorage
    • 5 nights, 5 full days of photography

With turquoise waters, stunning mountains, and an abundance of brown bears, you will think you are in the middle of a National Geographic series. With our private bear lodge, you will have a warm bed, hot shower, plentiful meals, and bears right outside your window. You will be out bear viewing for at least 10-12 hour each day. From people who just want to see bears to pro photographers, this is a must visit. 

Clamming, grazing, playful cubs, there will be so many photography opportunities that you wll have the time to put your cameras down and just watch. I can guarantee you that will miss this place before your return plane touches the runway.

Tour Highlights: Brown bears and cubs surrounded by mountains

2023 Dates:

* July 19-24 (space available)

Tour Leaders: Zac Mills and Scott Stone

Price: $5,195 USD

Price includes: Flight, meals and accommodation from Anchorage

Accommodation: Private lodge

Starting Location: Anchorage, Alaska

Fitness Level: Moderate



As part of the is tour, you will be making a contribution to the Katmai Conservancy, which supports the preservation of Katmai National Park and Preserve, its unique ecosystems, scenic character, and associated natural and cultural resources by promoting greater public interest, appreciation, and support through education, interpretation, and research.


Watch these magnificent bears forage in the local meadows for sedge grasses, dig for razor clams at low tide, or chase salmon returning to their native streams. Two active volcanoes, Iliamna and Redoubt, rise more than 10,000 feet and vent steam from snow-capped peaks. With tidal marshes, streams, bays and a pristine coastline, the scenery is unrivalled.

With this beautiful setting, our whole day is dedicated to observing these bears. Expect to see lots of moms and cubs, and to have many special photography opportunities. All bear viewing is done on foot, which will fully immerse us into the world world of these bears. 

We use knowledgeable guides who help us get into the proper position for bear viewing, understand behavioral nuances, and keep us safe as we focus on the amazing moments in front of our eyes.


Our typical day starts early. After quick coffee, we head out for sunrise bear photography, and then return to the lodge around 8am for a heartly breakfast. We will then return to the bears up until lunch when we return to lodge. In the afternoon, you guessed it, more bears! We’ll be out in the field until dinner time. It is then possible to return to the field until the 10pm curfew per national park regulations.

Since we will be on foot in the wilderness, we must prepare for the elements, including wet conditions. Rain gear and rain coverings for your camera equipment are a must. In addition, we recommend wearing chest waders, which will make the whole experience so much easier and enjoyable.


To become a better photographer, you must become a better storyteller. And that’s where we are here to help. Our tours are focused on helping you to produce captivating images and videos that tell the story of these bears.

We cover composition and post-processing, and also help you to look for signs of convergence between light, behavior, and setting to capture the magic of the moment. We will also help you to “work the scene” so you change up your compositional approach, shooting both zoomed in and zoomed out.

We will discuss all of this and more before the tour, and please ask us ask anything at anytime about gear, technique, strategy, composition, post-processing and beyond. After the tour, we will provide more 1-1 sessions to help you edit your favorite images. Our policy is simply: we are here to help you grow as photographer!


Zac Mills

As a wildlife photographer, traveler, and former World Bank economist, Zac brings a different perspective to wildlife conservation. He founded the Wildlife Collective to help others become better wildlife photographers and to use their voice for conservation. With leadership roles in several conservation organizations, Zac knows first hand that working together with like-minded individuals can make a difference. A certified guide and bear lover, Zac hopes to entertain you with stories from the wild, inspire you to get involved in conservation, and to become the best wildlife photographer you can be.


Scott Stone

I spend as much time as possible in Katmai National Park, guiding bear tours for the great coastal brown bears and also with the great Kodiak brown bears of Kodiak Island. I spend most of my winters home in Montana, traveling all over the state as well as the Western states in pursuit of wildlife, landscape, astro, and aurora opportunities. Working full time, guiding, shooting, and editing leaves little time for sleep but fuels my drive to work to bring you the best of what I see and dream about. 



The tour departs from Anchorage, Alaska, United States. If you need any help booking your flight, please let us know.


July 18

Arrive in Anchorage

Arrive in Anchorage the day before our tour. 

July 19

Private Bear Lodge

Board an early morning flight to Lake Clark where our adventure will begin. For each of the next 5 days, you will be immersed into the wonderful world of bears.

July 24

Tour Ends

After one final morning session of bear photography, you will board your flight back to Anchorage where we will say our goodbyes. 


What can I expect from the lodge?

Enjoy the rustic elegance of the lodge, but with all the modern conveniences. Every room is very cozy and warmly decorated. Enjoy the fabulous meals made with fresh produce from the garden, grilled salmon or baked entrees, along with homemade breads and desserts.

Is there a weight and luggage limit when flying in a chartered plane?

Yes, air charters adhere very close to weight restrictions of 50 pounds of luggage per person. Often, a bag can be left behind at the air service. Soft sided bags are much better then hard suitcase to load in the plane. Laundry service is offered at the lodge.

How wet will it be?

Alaska summers are known for rain. It could rain most of the tour or for only a day or two. Either way, assume that there will be rain and be prepared for it!

How many brown bears will I see?

Wildlife is unpredictable, BUT this location is reliable for seeing brown bears in close proximity. At this time of year, we would expect to see at least 10 different brown bears per day. On our last visit, we counted 40 different bears on one special day, including 20 cubs. Of course, volume does not equate to great photography opportunities. And we are lucky because in this location we can usually spend time with individual bears and get to know their personalities.

What other wildlife can we see?

Puffins, foxes, and if we’re lucky, moose and wolves

What focal range do you recommend?

The ideal lens is a zoom 100-400 as often we are in close proximity to the bears. It’s important to bring extra memory cards, batteries, and perhaps a backup camera. The area is very scenic, and a medium focal length and a wide angle are also great to have to capture more environmental shots. We also highly recommend that you have rain gear for your equipment. You may want to opt for a monopod instead of a tripod, as they will prove easier to get in and out of the vehicle as well as faster to setup for the shot.

What's the food situation?

Homecooked and yummy. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let us know!

What's the cell coverage like?

Cell phone service is intermittent. AT&T and Verizon services seems to work best at the lodge. There is WiFi at the lodge, but with limited bandwith.

More Questions?

Send us an email and we’ll be happy to arrange a time to chat through everything with you and answer any questions you may have.


• All guiding
• Photography instruction

• Accommodation and meals
• Flights from Anchorage


• Insurance (required)


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Why Our Photo Tours Are Different


We value our guests, so everyone who travels with the Wildlife Collective will automatically receive a 5 percent discount on all subsequent tours. It’s our way of saying thank you for your support!


All of our tours have a conservation focus. We will learn about the challenges facing our primary subject and ongoing conservation work. Plus, every tour makes a donation to a conservation partner.


We take you to the world’s most amazing wilderness destinations, which were chosen based on our ability to offer our guests the ultimate wildlife photography experience.

Photography Focus

Every tour includes photography sessions before, during, and after the tour. With our hands on learning, you are going to leave our tours as a better photographer. Ask us anything at anytime!

Small Groups

We will never exceed 6 clients per instructor, and in most tours, the ratio will be even smaller. This ensures that you get the personalized attention that you deserve on our tours.

Best Guides

We work with the world’s best wildlife guides, who also happen to be our good friends. They are experienced, keep us safe, and put us in the best possible position to create a compelling image.