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What Is Polar Bear Alley

April 03, 2020

At Arctic Kingdom, we can’t help but daydream about the wild animals right now. We’re finding ourselves imagining polar bears roaming expansive tundra or walking peacefully along shorelines.

We thought it could be a good time to talk about the polar bear migration. Did you know that there is a polar bear migration?

Join us as we explore a region known as Polar Bear Alley due to the number of polar bears that travel through in their seasonal march north!


What Is The Polar Bear Migration

Along the western shoreline of the Hudson Bay, there is a population of polar bears that live below the Arctic Circle. Their range stretches as far south as James Bay, the world’s most southern polar bear population on Earth.

Since these polar bears live in a southern region, each autumn, they begin a march north along Hudson Bay’s western coastline looking for sea-ice that’s frozen enough for them to walk out onto and begin hunting for seal.

A polar bear will do the major of their year’s hunting out on the platform of frozen sea-ice. Since a seal is so quick in the water, polar bears have an advantage when they can walk up to a seal’s breathing hole and simply wait for it to appear. This means the summer is a slow season for polar bears who often fast for most of the season until the cold weather of autumn means they can start to walk out onto the ice and have a real meal again, often after months.

So, you can imagine how excited they are to find solid ice and why it is worth walking north. Polar bears that live above the Arctic Circle don’t need to travel as far and often wait for the ice in front of them to freeze.

It’s not a particularly technical walk; there are few obstructions along the tundra. Polar bears will walk beyond the tree line, where a nearly endless horizon marks their route.

As it is the autumn, young cubs are introduced to their first Big Freeze, as their summer environment becomes their first full winter. Mother’s introduce their cubs to this seasonal migration as they follow behind.

In the springtime, newborn cubs are often distracting and less than sneaky for mothers hunting.  Now, they’re a little calmer and follow patiently behind their moms as they travel up the shoreline to a frozen world.

Once they reach ice thick enough to support them, they are free to wander endlessly. A polar bear’s range is enormous and they will spend the entire winter on top of the sea-ice, only retreating to the coasts as the spring comes and ice melts.


Where Is Polar Bear Alley

Along this shoreline is a region known as, Polar Bear Alley. This stretch of Hudson Bay’s western shoreline becomes the route for many of the subpopulation of polar bears.


They often travel alone or with their cubs. Polar bears are famously solitary creatures so they are sometimes spaced out. You’ll certainly never see a herd of polar bears, but this is a concentrated section that hosts a great number of them wandering north.

This area is a truly extraordinary environment in the shift between the sub-Arctic and the true Arctic. As mentioned, the small trees fade away as the treeline ends. But this is what the polar bears are looking for, their frozen and boundless realm.


If You Want To Experience It For Yourself!

There is something deeply alluring about this place. It seems ancient and indeed there are few changes in this small part of the world. There is a quiet and calm that is peaceful and rejuvenating here.

If you want to experience this seasonal migration in a safe and unobtrusive way, our comfortable but isolated cabins take you next to the shoreline where polar bears wander past.

There is a polar bear fence that surrounds the camp that keeps the animals at a safe distance but allows for remarkable photography opportunities. Our expert Inuit guides are trained at animal de-escalation so that they can interact with curious animals without stressing them.

We strive to have friendly and breathtaking interactions with the polar bears as they wander north. Leaving us to be a curious highlight along their migration.


A Remote But Gourmet Experience

One of the most exciting features of this trip is the off-the-grid location but with a high-end experience. This trip features a gourmet chef, a private charter flight to the camp, and takes place at a time when the Northern Lights are dancing above.

At Arctic Kingdom, we bring luxury to the Arctic so that our guests can have comfortable experiences in a place that’s considered one of the last true wildernesses.

Arctic Safaris

The Arctic is an exciting place where you can see some unbelievable animals, but we know how important it is to have a full belly! Our gourmet chef will prepare delicious and hot dishes throughout the day so you can focus on the wildlife and your camera.

This remote location means you will take an exhilarating private charter plane that lands right on the tundra next to the camp. With good weather, you can get stunning views of Canada’s north as you travel to our comfortable cabins. You may even see some animals below.

This small group trip is a fantastic chance to travel without a crowd. There is always space for exceptional photos. Get the chance to meet other like-minded travellers excited by a little frosty wildlife experience with a couple mouth-watering meals along the way.

At night, simply step outside and when the weather is good you can see spectacular northern lights glittering and swaying above. It’s a miraculous thing to experience as you stare up at the most marvelous natural show on Earth.

By day, witness the seasonal polar bear migration. When the polar bears appear, get striking photos of one of the most iconic animals in the Canadian Arctic.


Experience The Arctic On A Safari

Get chances to view elusive Arctic wildlife and experience the majesty of the Arctic on safaris almost year-round. View all Arctic Safaris here.

Ready for adventure? Contact our Arctic Travel Advisors to book.

Are you still curious about the many wonders of the Arctic or looking for more interesting content then explore more blogs here!

By: Mat Whitelaw