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Overview

Located on the Alaska Peninsula 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, this remote park covers more than four million acres of wilderness. Access is by jet from Anchorage to the town of King Salmon, and then by floatplane to Brooks Camp on the shores of Naknek Lake. Brooks Camp has limited lodging and campsites (reservations required), and it's a short walk to Brooks River, a world-famous place to watch brown bears catching salmon. A concessionaire provides all-day bus tours from Brooks Camp to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, created after the massive 1912 eruption of Mt. Novarupta; it was the second largest volcanic eruption in recorded ...

Located on the Alaska Peninsula 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, this remote park covers more than four million acres of wilderness. Access is by jet from Anchorage to the town of King Salmon, and then by floatplane to Brooks Camp on the shores of Naknek Lake. Brooks Camp has limited lodging and campsites (reservations required), and it's a short walk to Brooks River, a world-famous place to watch brown bears catching salmon. A concessionaire provides all-day bus tours from Brooks Camp to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, created after the massive 1912 eruption of Mt. Novarupta; it was the second largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. Not all visitors to Katmai come through Brooks Camp; also popular are bear-viewing day trips by floatplane. These typically depart from Homer or Kodiak and land on the Katmai coast. Just northeast of Katmai is the acclaimed McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, an incredible place to watch brown bears up-close. Access to McNeil is typically by air from Homer, but permits are available only through a competitive lottery.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Don Pitcher for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Park facilities open June to late September; peak salmon run typically in July