American West Photography Safaris

1-day Black Bear Safaris

Mon, June 22, Sep 16  $300  ($240)  

This is a beautiful time to be in the high Sierras.  Unlike many areas of the Sierras, black bears are common here.  In late spring and summer the black bears work the meadows for tender grasses.  The sows produce a rich milk which helps their cubs grow quickly.  It is not uncommon to see many bears at this time of year.  Once the meadows dry out in late July and August, the bears move from the meadows into the forest searching for sugar pine cones and ripening berries.  While we don't find sows and cubs on every safari day, we do seem to find them regularly - photographing them as they play, climb trees, and interact with their mother.  It is our main subject.  However, many male bears and youngsters are out and about as well. 

We do some walking on this safari, usually about 2-3 miles in the morning, and walk less in the afternoons.  There are a number of meadows that are nearby each other and we move from one to another looking for the bears, and then back.  Since the meadows are usually wet, especially in May and June, waterproof hiking boots really help.  Also there are a lot of mosquitoes, so citrus based repellants are a must. Why citrus based? Because insect repellent with DEET can damage camera parts and dissolve plastic.  There are a number of good brands - they just seem to need to be reapplied a little more often. 

We are very safe around the bears.  We don't push them or act in such a way as to make them change directions or behavior.  While they are habituated to vehicles and hikers on trails, they are unpredictable so we are cautious, especially in our approach to them. There are many potential subjects besides black bears, such as marmots, coyotes, woodpeckers, songbirds, pine martens, and even the very rare Pacific Fisher.


We meet in Three Rivers on Highway 198 at 6am in the Pizza Factory parking lot.  From there we travel up to the Giant Grove and photograph throughout the grove and close by meadows.  We will stop for lunch, then shoot again in the afternoon.  We will photograph everything that looks good: bears, deer, wildflowers, birds, landscapes, etc.

Black Bear Image Albums           Gallery #1    Gallery #2

Black Bear with Sugar Pine Cone

Black Bear Family on trail

Black Bear Sow in fallen Sequoia Trunk

Cinnamon Black Bear
Black Bear Cub

Black Bear Cub in Pine

Twin Cinnamon Black Bear Cubs

Sow watching her cubs up tree

Black Bear Cub

Cinnamon Black Bear Boar

Two cubs descending Pine

Sow at base of Pine

Sow Black Bear climbing Sequoia Log

Cinnamon Sow and her twin cubs

Mating Season Pair of Black Bears

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