An amazing bear watching experience awaits you!
Close call for the salmon that got away in Katmai National Park and Preserve. (Share the Experience photo by Graham McGeorge)
What You’ll Find
Most people visit Katmai National Park and Preserve in southwest Alaska to see the bears. "There’s no better place for the average person to see a lot of bears in one place," says Roy Wood, Chief of Interpretation and Education at Katmai. He assesses that the area probably holds the densest population of bears anywhere—especially during peak salmon season.
The park was established in 1918 as a means to protect the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, an area filled with ash flow from a cataclysmic 1912 eruption. Today you can still find evidence of molten rock beneath this now quiet valley. Steam plumes occasionally rise from Mounts Mageik, Martin and Trident, an indication that the real potential for eruptions can still occur. In fact, Mt. Trident has erupted four times in recent decades, with the last episode taking place in 1974.
Katmai National Park and Preserve is located on the Alaska Peninsula, across the Shelik of Strait west of Kodiak Island. Park headquarters is in King Salmon, about 290 air miles (467 km) southwest of Anchorage. Brooks Camp, approximately 30 air miles (48 km) from King Salmon, is a popular destination for visitors to the park and can only be reached via small float plane or boat. Use the park’s directions and transportation information to help you plan your trip.
Brooks Camp Campground is the only developed camping area in the park. The campground costs $12 per person per night June 1 through September 17 and $6 per person per night in May and September 18 through October 31. You can book reservationsbeginning January 5. Don't delay because the campground fills fast.
"It’s not your typical campground," says Wood. "And you’re right on the shore of Naknek Lake in a balsam poplar forest. It's a really beautiful setting."
Fure’s Cabin is a refuge for kayakers, canoers and hikers and is located on the north side of the Bay of Islands in Naknek Lake.Book Fure's Cabin beginning January 5.
Make Sure You
Hop in a motor boat, canoe or kayak and explore the 100 miles (161 km) of shoreline of Naknek Lake, the fourth largest lake in the U.S., or paddle along the Savonoski Loop (PDF).
Hike Dumpling Mountain (PDF), a moderately strenuous hike to an overlook with expansive views of Brooks Camp and Naknek Lake. Take a ranger-led tour of the Valley of 10,000 Smokes.
Fishing enthusiasts come to Katmai from around the world for trophy-size rainbow trout and for salmon. Visit Katmai’s fishing pageto learn more.
Visit virtually! Check out the webcams, including one at Brooks Falls, to see what is happening today in the park.
Be sure to read this important information about bridge construction which may impact your trip.
More than four million acres (1,618,743 ha) of Katmai are open to backcountry/wilderness camping without a permit. The Valley of 10,000 Smokes is an alternative dispersed camping area if the Brooks Camp Campground is full. This area does not feature campsite amenities and also does not require a permit. Find out more about backcountry hiking and camping at Katmai.
Book your reservation for Brooks Camp or Fure's Cabin starting January 5th and visit the Katmai website to learn more about seeing bears and plan your trip of a lifetime. Follow Katmai National Park and Preserve on Facebook for park updates and wodnerful footage of the bears.
Outdoor / Camping
Outdoor / Camping