Camping outside the Brooks Camp Developed Area

Map showing the border of the Brooks Camp Developed Area
The Brooks Camp Developed Area is everything within the red circle.

There is limited overnight accommodation at Brooks Camp. If there is no availability at either the Brooks Camp Campground or Brooks Lodge, occasionally visitors chose to backcountry camp outside the Brooks Camp Developed Area (BCDA).

Know the regulations:

  • The BCDA is defined as a 1.5-mile radius from the Brooks Falls Platform. Signs are posted along the Dumpling Mountain trail and along the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes Road indicating when you have reached this point.
  • Food storage- the use of bear-resistant food containers (BRFCs) is mandatory in all backcountry areas. A limited supply of BRFCs are available to borrow free of charge at the visitor centers in King Salmon and Brooks Camp.
  • All other backcountry camping regulations still apply.

Know what to expect:

  • There are no designated camping sites and no bathrooms or other facilities.
  • You are camping in bear country. We recommend using an electric fence for camping outside the BCDA. As a reminder, electric fences are bear deterrents; they are not bear proof.
  • There are two main areas where people chose to camp, partially up Dumpling Mountain and along the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes Road.
  • While visitors can leave extra food and gear in the designated caches at Brooks Camp, know that these caches were not intended to accommodate people camping beyond the BCDA and space may be at a premium.
A tent on the tundra looking down on a body of water with mountains and clouds in the background
While the hike entails elevation gain, there are many rewarding views, especially for those who continue further up Dumpling Mountain.

Camping beyond the BCDA on Dumpling Mountain:

To get outside the BCDA, you must hike approximately 2.5 miles up the Dumpling Mountain trail and gain roughly 1,000 feet of elevation. This trail is considered moderately strenuous. There is a sign posted that indicates once you have crossed the BCDA boundary. As the elevation increases, Dumpling Mountain offers open tundra and expansive views worthy of any backpacking trip. However, upon immediately reaching the point where backcountry camping is permitted, alder thickets may necessitate hiking further to reach a good area to camp. Note that there is little access to water. People camping outside the BCDA usually get water in Brooks Camp.

A flat gravel road surrounded by trees
Trees line the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes Road.

NPS Photo/L. Law

Camping beyond the BCDA along the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes Road:

Some visitors prefer to hike southeast from the BCDA along the road to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes to set up camp, especially those who prioritize time in Brooks Camp itself, as it is an easier route to travel compared to Dumpling Mountain. It's a 1.5-mile hike along the road with approximately 150ft of elevation gain to reach the point where backcountry camping is permitted.

There are no cleared sites for backcountry camping along the Valley Road. The terrain is spruce forest with many standing and fallen dead trees. Take care choosing a spot among the spruce trees as winds in Katmai can be fierce. In addition, it may be difficult to find an area big enough for a tent and electric fence in the dense forest. Finding an adequate camp spot often requires exploring beyond the 1.5-mile point. The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes Road is a one-lane road that has some pullouts; these are not good places to camp because vehicles use them to turn around and let other vehicles pass.

Last updated: March 28, 2022

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