Katmai National Park and Preserve
Land of the Grizzly BearAlaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve, considered the “Crown Jewel” of all national parks, is one of the most fascinating examples of Mother Nature’s handiwork. Brooks Falls is also a bear viewing paradise. Dramatic geological features like the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes – an active volcanic area – have awed travelers for decades.
Showcasing coastal bays, fjords and waterfalls; lofty mountains with glaciers and smoking volcanic peaks; a multitude of lakes, streams and rivers; and grand steep-walled canyons, Katmai National Park had amazed vacationers, photographers, archeology buffs and nature lovers from all over the world with its breathtaking landscapes.
In addition to brown bear, Katmai National Park provides a protected home to moose, caribou, red fox, wolf, lynx, wolverine, river otter, mink, marten, weasel, porcupine, snowshoe hare, red squirrel, and beaver. Marine mammals include; sea lions, sea otters, and hair seals. Beluga, killer, and gray whales can also be seen along the coast of the park.
As many as fifty bears can be viewed fishing along the mile and a half long Brooks River during the peak of the salmon season. The salmon runs peak around mid-July, with bears swarming Brooks falls. Here, each armed with their unique style, a bear can catch dozens fish a day. Some will dive beneath the surface of the river, some will swat at them, others will snap the jumping fish out of the air with their powerful jaws. Still others will slowly watch the fish go by, until just the right moment when, with lightning reflexes, their head plunges beneath the water to grab a Sockeye salmon.
Valley of 10,000 Smokes:
Katmai National Monument was created to preserve the famed Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a spectacular forty square mile, 100 to 700 foot deep, pyroclastic ash flow deposited by Novarupta Volcano.
The June 1912 eruption of Novarupta Volcano altered the Katmai area dramatically. Only one volcanic eruption in historic times – Greece’s Santorini in 1500 B.C. – displaced more volcanic matter than Novarupta. When is was over, more than 40 square miles of lush green land lay buried beneath volcanic deposits as much as 70 feet deep. Daily tours are available.
In less then 30 minutes, you can arrive in Katmai National Park, via float plane, from the town of King Salmon. You will have time to view the bears from the observation deck at Brooks falls and enjoy a day of non-guided sightseeing around the park. Several flights depart daily.
About 400 miles west of Anchorage.
Jet service from Anchorage to the town of King Salmon then a floatplane to Brooks Camp, no road access.
One Lodge – Brooks Camp, one campground, one restaurant.