Natural Features & Ecosystems

Most people who visit Katmai fly to their destination. Above the land and water, people see a land pock marked with ponds and lakes, cut with deep valleys, and rippled with glacial moraines—all of which is set next to the rugged spine of active volcanoes. Katmai National Monument was established in 1918 because of its geology. The stories of the rocks, volcanoes, fossils, and glaciers of Katmai reveal the formation of this landscape.

Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and mountains.
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

A 40-square mile area that first enthralled early explorers to lobby the creation of Katmai National Monument.

Rocky coastline with mountains in background.

Katmai encompasses distinct physiographical areas providing a diverse collection of natural features and ecosystems.

Snow covered volcano peak steaming.
Volcanic Activity

Over one dozen active, and many more dormant, volcanoes lie within Katmai's boundaries.

A rock with fossils in the shape of shells held by a human hand

With a variety of fossilized plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates, Katmai’s landscape tells a story that spans millions of years.

Shell fossil in rock.
Geologic Formations

What rock is underneath your feet? How old is it? How did Katmai form?

Last updated: October 12, 2021

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