Incredible Katmai Bear Watching Tours In Alaska

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Bear Viewing In Katmai National Park & Preserve

Katmai National Park and Preserve is one of the best national parks in the U.S. for wildlife viewing. In fact, Katmai bear-watching tours are the stuff of legend! The park, located on the Alaska Peninsula, is near Kodiak Island (another amazing bear-watching location!). Katmai is a land of brown bears and volcanoes and is wild, rugged, and remote. In other words, a Katmai bear viewing tour is one of the best ways to experience the Alaska backcountry!

Why Is Katmai National Park Bear Watching So Awesome?

Katmai National Park & Preserve encapsulates 4 million acres of the rugged Alaskan wilderness. It is the fourth largest national park in the U.S. – larger than the state of Connecticut! More than 2,000 brown bears call Katmai National Park home. Every summer, these brown bears head to the park’s rivers, where they feed on salmon during the annual salmon runs. Brooks Falls is one of the best spots for Katmai bear-watching tours. The best months to see these bears in action are July, August, and September when they are busy feeding on salmon in the Brooks River!

Fly Into Katmai National Park For A Bear Viewing Adventure

Most visitors who schedule a trip to Katmai National Park come to see the bears. Brooks Falls is famous for its Alaska Peninsula Brown Bears, who spend the summer months bulking up on salmon for their long winter hibernation. Day trips are easily arranged from both Anchorage and Homer, or you can even book a stay at Brooks Lodge near the river for several days of Katmai National Park bear watching.

Tour operators fly out of Anchorage and Homer every day, making it easy for visitors to get to Katmai whenever they want! Here are three popular Katmai bear-watching tours to consider if you are planning a getaway to Brooks Falls!

  • By floatplane – visitors can charter a seaplane for an all-day bear-viewing expedition to Katmai. Fly past glaciers and volcanoes to the brown-bear country of southwest Alaska. Land near Brooks falls in Katmai, for several hours of bear watching from the viewing platforms near the river. And if that’s not enough bears for one day, you can add on a 70-mile flight to Lake Clark Wilderness Preserve for even MORE bear adventures, as well as an overnight stay at the luxurious Redoubt Bay Lodge.
  • By helicopter – bears may be the ultimate goal of your sightseeing trip to Katmai, but the sightseeing to and from the park will leave you speechless. This unforgettable ride from Homer takes you over mountains, volcanoes, and glaciers before dropping you into Katmai National Park for a bear watching Enjoy a unique perspective of the state, its stunning landscapes, and its incredible wildlife from up high in the air.
  • Multi-day stay – do you want more than a day to see the famous Brooks Falls bears? If so, consider a multi-day Katmai bear viewing tour. Brooks Lodge is available for visitors who want to spend several days in the park to enjoy even more bear-viewing opportunities.

Where Can You See Bears At Brooks Falls?

Katmai National Park bear watching is one of the most popular activities in the park. Brown bears flock to the park’s Brooks River each July to feast on salmon. Brooks Falls is the easiest and most popular place to see bears in Katmai. A short, easy-to-walk trail connects Brooks Camp with several viewing platforms that are perched along the river. From there, you can indulge in your own private Katmai bear-watching tour!

There are two viewing platforms at Brooks Falls. The Brooks Falls viewing platform is the main platform. This is located right next to the falls and it gives you the best view of the bears catching the salmon. Just downriver is Riffles Platform. From there, you can look upriver to see Brooks Falls. The other two platforms are located along the river, giving you different views of the bears as they go about their business of catching fish.

Pro tip: The Brooks Falls viewing platform has a 40-person maximum capacity. Once this limit is reached, the park rangers will put you on a waitlist. Those with a spot are limited to 30 minutes before they have to give up their viewing spot to someone else. Wait times can reach almost two hours during peak season. The Brooks Falls Platform is busiest from 10 am to 4 pm when the day trippers are visiting.

Other Places To See Bears Near Brooks Falls

To add to your, Katmai bear viewing tour consider taking a walk along the Brooks Falls trail. The Brooks Falls Trail connects Brooks Camp to the Brooks Falls Viewing Platform. It is a flat, easy-to-walk, 1.2-mile round-trip trail. Be forewarned, though – the trail is used by both people AND bears. Pay attention during your walk. You may run into a bear on its way to the Falls!

When Is The Best Time To See Bears At Katmai National Park?

The best time to plan your Katmai bear-watching tour is in July or September. This is when the bears are most active, fishing for salmon in the Brooks River. During the other summer months, they are busy hunting for food in other areas of the park. Bear in mind (no pun intended), that the summer months are the busiest season for tourists at Brooks Falls. From June 15 to August 15, the bear viewing platforms close from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., to let the bears have full access to the falls and trail without humans watching their activities.

Katmai National Park bear-watching excursions are a bucket list item for many visitors to Alaska. And rightly so – these majestic creatures put on a heck of a show, simply by doing what comes naturally to them in preparation for the winter season. If you plan a trip to see bears, Katmai is definitely the place to visit! From the moment you step foot inside the floatplane to your first sighting of a bear, Katmai is the epitome of Alaskan backcountry adventure. Enjoy!

Download all three Alaska tour brochures for tour dates and pricing.