At 290 air miles southwest of Anchorage, Katmai National Park is one of Alaska’s most remote national parks. Katmai is a unique place that holds something for everyone regarding an Alaska vacation. The park was initially formed to protect the volcanic area known as The Valley of 10,000 Smokes, which was forever changed by the eruption of the Novarupta Volcano in 1912. The explosion left some areas with a forty square mile ash deposit up to 700 feet deep. Today, the site is better known for its large population of Alaskan brown bears. The latest survey estimates there are 2000 bears in Katmai National Park. During July and September, brown bears often gather at Brooks Falls to feed on salmon swimming up the river to their spawning grounds. Visitors worldwide come to the Falls hoping to view the bears in a classic Alaskan scene – feeding on salmon. Along the coastal regions, bears can be viewed combing the beach for clams or digging grasses and roots.
Katmai National Park is only accessed by air, generally from Anchorage. The summer season begins in early June and ends in mid-September. The main Ranger Station is at Brooks Camp, the most popular destination in Katmai National Park. There is a lodge and campground at Brooks Camp for overnight guests. Bears at Brooks Camp are viewed from the safety of platforms overlooking the waterfall and mouth of the river. Guided bus tours to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes depart daily from Brooks Camp.
Bear viewing at Brooks River Falls is a popular excursion in Katmai National Park. Visitors fly into King Salmon on scheduled jet service and then by seaplane to Brooks Camp. Or by seaplane directly from Anchorage to Brooks, where trails lead from the Ranger Station to the Brooks Falls platforms. After an easy, one-mile walk on the path to the viewing platforms, the bear viewing is excellent. Alaska bear viewing tours at Brooks Camp are not guided, but rangers are in the area to give bear safety updates. Day visitors are provided 6-7 hours for exploring the area and bear viewing. Overnight guests have extended time to see the bear and experience the park, including the optional Valley of 10,000 Smokes trip.
We offer two overnight accommodation options at Katmai National Park. The most well-known is Brooks Lodge, located at Brooks Camp. The lodge provides cabins with two bunk beds, a sink, a shower, and a toilet. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served buffet style at the main lodge. Viewing platforms at the lodge provides unique and safe bear observation.
Katmai Wilderness Lodge is an overnight option located on the coast of Katmai National Park. Reached by air from Anchorage via Kodiak Island, it has six deluxe cabins, each with a private bath. Meals at the lodge and daily guided activities are included. The lodge is perfect for guests looking for creature comforts and the ultimate brown bear viewing experience.