Brown Bear Watching


Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide

We offer the possibility to spend an unforgettable night in our Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide. The hide is situated in Alutaguse, which is a huge area covered with taiga forests and vast bogs in N-E of Estonia – home for about half of Estonia’s 700 brown bears. 

The new hides have windows on both sides of the hide. Northern windows overlook a taiga forest and the most common mammals to see would be Raccoon Dogs and Brown Bears. Woodpeckers, Red Squirrels Nuthatches, Crested- and Willow Tits and Jays visit the feeders.

Southern windows offer a view on a stream and a flooded meadow. Sometimes Elk and Roe Deer come to feed on the meadow and European Beavers or otters can occasionally swim by. Ural Owl and Red Fox come here to hunt for mice and sometimes also Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle and buzzards come by and look for prey. Rare visitors to the scenery include Wolf, Lynx, Eurasian Otter, Mink and Wild Boar.

We have also made a list of species that have been seen or heard from the hide.

The Brown Bear and wildlife watching hides are simple, comfortable and cosy. There are 2 hides, each one of them has room for 9 persons. Both hides have separated cabins with bunk beds and a dry toilet.  One cabin has room for 4 persons – 2 bunk beds/4 sleeping places in total. One bed is situated between the 2 cabins.  

If the visitors wish, they can take pictures through the windows (without flash) and photographers are allowed to take photos through special photography holes. 

They are located in Alutaguse, N-E of Estonia. It takes about 1,5-2 hours to drive from Tallinn or Tartu to Alutaguse.

In spring 2020, we also installed a live camera next to our Brown Bear Watching hide. Brown Bears have been seen wandering around already on several occasions. Let us know if you see one! There’s also a forum thread with lots of photos and videos about activity in front of the camera. 

Look at the French TV 2 story –

Read the reviews from TripAdvisor iconzz


Book brown bear watching with us: or by phone: +372 513  7141

Participants are saying..

Claudia H visited with her family  30/08/2020

Dear Peep. We had such a wonderful night in the hut. And Helge did a great job explaining so much about bears and everything. The kids are happy and me too 🙂 Thanks a lot for the experience of a lifetime! Best wishes, Claudia

Dena visited our hide on 4/07/2020

It was one of my best days in Estonia. The first animal was actually a bear. Already at 19:45pm.
I was in contact with the other couple and we are not sure whether the first bear was the same as the male bear that visited us for 3-4 times.
We saw plenty of raccoon dogs, a mouse and a squirrel along with some Bullfinches and Goldfinches.
Then it was very quieted during the night. I only saw one raccoon dog through my thermal imaging camera. And then in the morning just before 8, a male wild boar visited us. We left a bit later than 8 to let him roam.


Marco from Italy 12/08/2019

We spent a wonderful night in the hide.

The place it was comfortable and with excellent observation points, all inside we had a great time.

Around 6pm the birds started to arrive, first the treecreepers and the blackcaps, then later the Jay. When they began to lose hope, the first bear appeared around 8:30 pm, go away and returned a little later.

According to a second bear, the bigger one who stayed longer to eat. Only then did the raccoon dogs arrive Three roe deer, birds and raccoons popped up this morning.

However fantastic experience, you see the bear from so close it was wonderful. Thank you, I hope you can continue to organize these tours as well as small groups of passionate people. For us an indelible memory. Thank you.


Alex 8/07/2019

Hi Peep! Yes, everything was awesome 🙂 We saw a lot of bears and raccoon dogs and Andreas had the binocular for us. We left it in the hide because Andreas was not there in the morning. I hope that was Ok. Big thx for all and I can recommend your hide to all people. Perfect and really interesting place.

Ursula Zeilinger 4/08/2018 

Dear Bert, it was a great experience. We saw one or more Brown Bears and a Raccoon Dog family. We were really happy that we had so much luck. We left both binoculars back in the hide. Thank you for organising it and greetings to our friendly guide. Kind regards, Ursi.

Luc visited the new Brown Bear hide in July 2017:

I just wanted to thank you very much for the night. It was amazing! The bear came many times! Better than the zoo 😉

Kalevi  21/09/2013

Thanks for your mail and thanks for stay at the hide. The week has gone by so fast since I got back from Estonia.

I had a successful two nights. Yes saw a bear on both nights. The first night it came at about 7.30 pm and second night sometime after 8pm.

The weather was great too.

George 28/06/2013:

We found the starting point with no problems –  I had downloaded it from your website to my phone before we left. Andres was waiting for us and so we knew we had arrived.

The weather was not great as it was raining and the overcast sky made it a little too dark for photographs. It also made the mosquitoes particularly troublesome. However, we found the hides and once we had changed our wet clothes we settled in.

We saw what we came to see.

About 21.30h, a raccoon dog visited 4 or 5 times staying a few minutes each time (searching out the bait that had been left). The light was good enough for viewing through binoculars and we watched it for a about 30 minutes in total. That was really good as I didn’t expect to see a raccoon dog. Each time it visited, it took away some of the bait  it could drag from where it was placed under the fallen tree.  Had the light been better, it would have been easy to photograph. Even though the light was quite good for viewing but for photography – iso set to 2400 and with F4.5 lens – the resulting shutter speeds were still too slow.

About 23.30 a large brown bear visited. We had a good view of the bear for about 1 hour. Even at this time of the day it was not very dark and so we could watch the bear easily  (Even though it was too was too dark for photography – 1 s exposure times at ISO 3200). Again, it took the bait that was left (the bait the raccoon dog had left behind). Clearly the bear found no problem in moving the tree and revealing the bait. Again, the bear would take some bait and go and eat it a few meters away and then return.

We also saw a fox 3 times and had a visit from a group of 3 wild boar – they looked young to me and were quite entertaining.

Also seen, 3 visits from a fox, a small bat, and pair of woodpeckers.

So, overall we were very satisfied. Clearly, if we want to see bears in daylight, we need to think more about the best time for a possible visit in the future.

Dipl. Biol. Sebastian Rogahn in May 2011:

Watching time really was great! The adult male (Brown Bear) came out at 21:03 PM and stayed there for almost half an hour! Before there only was one red fox, a goose hawk, ravens and one magpie.

Ben Hoare from BBC Wildlife visited Natourest Brown Bear hide in May 2010:

I was determined to see my fist brown bear. Not least because bear tourism has become big business in Europe, with hides in Sweden and Finland offering success rates of higher than 90 percent. By now, our party had recorded bear prints, scats and claw marks raked across tree bark, and even the remains of a boar that had been stripped to the bone by these opportunist omnivores. So we were quietly confident of observing the real thing. Waiting for the bears to appear was nerve-racking. Two ravens and, bizarrely, a nuthatch of the ghosty northern race visited the site to pick at its flesh, while a pine marten zipped across the cleaning and vanished up a tree. And then, illuminated by the setting sun, a mother bear and her cub ambled into view. Read article




View the location of Natourest Brown Bear Watching and Photography Hide on a larger map



Season May – October

It is possible to stay in the hide every night


About 15 hours, including a night in the Brown Bear hide.

In spring (May, June, July and August)  17:00 PM – 8:00 AM

In Autumn (September/October) 16:00/15:00 PM- 8:00 AM

Level Easy walking –  It’s about 1,7 km from the parking lot/meeting place to the Brown Bear hide.

What to wear? 

Warm clothes and comfortable (preferably waterproof) footwear are necessary for the walk to hide. Warm clothes and indoor footwear/warms socks are strongly recommended to be worn in the hide.

Getting there The drive from Tallinn or Tartu to Alutaguse takes about 1,5-2 hours. The easiest way to get there is to go by your own car/rental car. The nearest public bus stops are called Metsa-Udriku and Tudu, but the only direct public bus goes there from Rakvere town. The timetable for public transport can be found here.  After booking we will reveal the exact location of the meeting point, where you would meet one of the members of Natourest, who will direct you on foot to the hide.


There are 2 identical hides:

One hide has 2 private cabins (4 beds in both) and room up to 9 people. Hides have bunk beds, sleeping bags, pillows, viewing windows, photo holes, chairs, and a dry toilet. 

What to take with you?

We suggest taking binoculars with you, as they help to spot wildlife from a distance and during the dark hours. We can also rent out binoculars for one night (8×56 Danubia Bussards – 5 €/night), which greatly improves sight in poor light conditions. You would also have to take your own food and water. 


Hiring a guide for security is not necessary. Normal walking, talking noise ( not too noisy, though) will keep bears out of your way. 

Things to do around the hide

Here are some simple suggestions about places that you can visit when driving to Alutaguse or staying in the area.


Price for staying in the watching hide:

105 EUR per person,

60 EUR per child (7-14 y.o)

235 EUR per family (2 adults, 3 kids),

700 EUR  group up to 9 persons.


Price includes:

  • Night in the Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide
  • Guide taking clients to the hide


Book Brown Bear watching with us: or by phone: +372 5622 5943



EU Leader Virumaa Koostöökogu (VIKO) supported Natourest Inc for buying nature observation optics and trail cameras.

EU Leader Virumaa Koostöökogu (VIKO) supported Natourest Inc for buying nature observation optics and trail cameras.