Katmai National Park
Katmai National Park and Preserve covers over 7,000 square miles of wilderness. The area was originally established as Katmai National Monument to preserve the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a massive 40-square-mile pyroclastic ash flow created by the spectacular eruption of the Novarupta volcano in 1912. It was the largest eruption of the 20th century. The national park, named for Mount Katmai, was officially created in 1980.
Today the park is best known for the Brooks Falls brown bears. There are an estimated 2,000 bears in the park. The Brooks River, which connects Naknek Lake and Lake Brooks, offers some of the best bear viewing opportunities in the world. Bears congregate in this natural bottleneck to feast on spawning salmon. The park service has installed a series of raised platforms from which to safely view bears at a close distance without disturbing them. In July, when bear activity at Brooks Falls is at its peak, you can take a Katmai National Park bear viewing trip from Anchorage.
Brooks Falls is quite busy in the summer, but the rest of Katmai National Park affords visitors pure wilderness solitude. Other activities include backcountry hiking and camping, kayaking, and world-class sport fishing. Please visit the Katmai National Park website for more information.
Katmai National Park is located across from Kodiak Island on the Alaska Peninsula. The park headquarters is in King Salmon, a small community about 300 air miles southwest of Anchorage. There are no roads to Katmai.
Most visitors travel to the park by air taxi from Anchorage or Homer. There are also regularly scheduled commuter flights from Anchorage to King Salmon. From here, Brooks Camp can be reached by way of the Naknek River drainage.
Because trips to Katmai originate in either Anchorage or Homer, Alaska Tour & Travel can coordinate lodging and transportation in both towns. For more information about additional outdoor activities in those areas, check out our Anchorage and Homer activities pages.