Plan Your Visit
Katmai National Park and Preserve spans over four million acres of remote, spectacular country. Glaciated volcanoes rise above jagged cliffs and dense alder thickets. The Valley of 10,000 Smokes stands as a reminder of the incredibly powerful volcanic eruption that occurred in 1912 and was heard as far as Juneau.
The park and preserve host an incredible density of brown bears (about 2200 bears were estimated to inhabit the park in a recent survey). Many of the bears are lured in by the high number of fish during the salmon runs of summer.
Sport-fishing is also world renowned in the park as many people are attracted to the trophy rainbow trout swimming in Katmai's rivers and streams. Anglers also come to fish for sockeye (red) salmon, silver (coho) salmon, arctic char, arctic grayling, and lake trout.
Much of the park is rarely visited and opportunities for incredible wilderness experiences abound. Other areas, such as Brooks Camp, are more easily accessed and have various facilities.
Click on the various links at the top of the page to start planning your once-in-a-lifetime journey to this unique and fantastic park.
Katmai National Park & Preserve is located on the Alaska Peninsula, across the Shelikof Strait from Kodiak Island. Park Headquarters is in King Salmon, about 290 air miles southwest of Anchorage. Several commercial airlines provide daily flights into King Salmon as there is no road access. Brooks Camp, approximately 30 air miles from King Salmon, is a common destination for visitors to the Park. Brooks Camp can only be reached via small float plane or boat.
Operating Hours & Seasons
Although a bear may be encountered anywhere in Katmai from late May into December, the best times for bear viewing at Brooks Camp are late-June through July and September. There are few, if any, bears around Brooks in June and August, though they are seen occasionally during these times.
July and September are crowded with both bears and people. Delays in getting to and from the bear viewing platforms are common and can occur at any time, although such delays offer opportunities for viewing other wildlife and the spectacular scenery around Brooks Camp.
Katmai is bear habitat, and they always have the right-of-way. Weather and bears are always a factor at Katmai, so plan extra time to work around delays. There are occasions, especially in July, when visitors are unable to get to the Falls Platform due to time constraints and flight schedules.
Extenuating circumstances may necessitate closure of any portion of Brooks Camp, including trails and bear viewing platforms for safety reasons without advance notice.
Did You Know?
In 1950, William Nancarrow built the first National Park Service facilities in Katmai--a food cache, a well, and a tent frame cabin. The Brooks Camp Campground is located at this site today.