Katmai National Park Tours From Anchorage

Download Travel Details >


Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!

Summer Trips To Alaska
Grizzlies & Glaciers Tour

Winter Trips To Alaska
See The Northern Lights

Summer Trips To Alaska
Denali Discovery Adventure

Denali Adventure in Alaska Vacation
travel company press awards

Bear Viewing In Katmai National Park And Preserve

Katmai National Park and Preserve is approximately 260 miles southwest of Anchorage in Southern Alaska. Accessible only by air taxi or boat, it is a true wilderness destination. Katmai is also home to 2,200 brown bears, many of which congregate at Brooks Falls each year during the summer salmon runs. The bears are a huge draw for tourists, making Katmai National Park tours the hottest ticket in the state!

What Makes Katmai National Park So Unique?

Katmai National Park is one of Alaska’s most remote national parks. The park was initially set up to protect the volcanic area known as The Valley of 10,000 Smoke. This valley was created in 1918, after the Novarupta Volcano erupted, covering a 40-square-foot area with an ash deposit that is  700 feet deep! Today, Katmai National Park preserve tours focus on the resident brown bears.

During July and September, the park’s bears gather at Brooks Falls to feed on salmon swimming up the river to their spawning grounds. Visitors from all over the world come to the Falls for Katmai National Park tours, hoping to see bears in their native habitat. Bears can be viewed at Brooks Falls fishing for salmon, or along the park’s coastal regions combing the beach for clams or digging grasses and roots.

Five Fun Facts About Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park and Preserve is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Alaska. Each year, thousands of tourists flock to the park to see the resident bears, visit the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, or simply enjoy the stunning beauty of this coastal region. Here are five fun facts to help you better understand why this park is on so many people’s bucket lists!

  • The Katmai area is home to approximately 2,200 grizzly bears, the largest concentration in the world. People come from all over the world for the sole purpose of viewing these magnificent creatures.
  • Brooks Falls is the most popular place in the park to view the bears. Four viewing platforms are strategically located along the Brooks River and near the Falls, for bear viewing.
  • The National Park Service holds an annual “Fat Bear Week” contest each fall, where the public can go online to guess which bear has outdone the others gorging on salmon in preparation for the long winter hibernation ahead.
  • There are 14 volcanoes within Katmai National Park, making it one of the most active volcanic regions in the world.
  • In September 1918, the Katmai area was designated a national monument. But in December 1980, the Alaska Native Interests Land Conservation Act changed the area’s designation to that of a National Park.

En Route To Adventure At Brooks Falls

The village of King Salmon is the closest town of any size to Katmai National Park and Preserve. Most people begin their Katmai National Park tours from Anchorage. The easiest way to begin your bear-viewing adventure is to fly into King Salmon via a commercial jet service, then transfer to a seaplane for the short trip to Brooks Camp. Alternatively, you can charter a seaplane in Anchorage to Brooks Camp, with plenty of sightseeing along the way!

Once you land in the park, you will hike a short distance to the Ranger Station, for a bear safety briefing, and then on to the viewing platforms near the river. Katmai National Park and Preserve tours are not guided, but rangers are always present to answer questions. Visitors who book Katmai National Park tours from Anchorage can expect 6-7 hours to explore the area and observe the bears during a day trip. Overnight guests can stay at Brooks Camp in the lodge for an extended bear-viewing adventure and trip to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes.

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

The best time to plan a Katmai National Park tour with bear viewing is June through September. During this time, the number of bears at Brooks Falls fluctuates, due to salmon migration patterns and spawning cycles. Bears begin to arrive in this area in mid-June along with the salmon. By the end of the month, visitors will be able to see the highest concentration of bears in the area – with up to 10-20 bears gathering at the falls each day!

As the summer progresses and the salmon run slows down, the bears do not frequent the area as often. However, by late August the bears return for a final feeding frenzy. At this time, the salmon are weaker and the bears can snatch them up from the river with ease. Katmai’s bears hibernate during the winter season. They do not eat or drink for months during this dormant period and will lose nearly one-third of their body weight. When they emerge from hibernation in the spring, they will start this feeding cycle all over again, to build up enough fat to get through another long winter.

Where To Stay During Your Bear-Viewing Adventure In Katmai

Brooks Camp, the park's summer headquarters on the shores of Naknek Lake, is the best place to stay if you are interested in a Katmai National Park and Preserve tour. The camp is home to Brooks Lodge, a restaurant, a campground, a store, kayak rentals, and the Brooks Camp Visitor Center. Visitors can book a room at Brooks Lodge for a multi-day bear-viewing adventure in the park while enjoying all the other amenities the site offers. There are five miles of maintained trails to explore in the park, and backcountry hiking and camping are permitted.

The park also has a public campground at Brooks Camp. This unique campground can accommodate up to 60 people and has no designated campsites. Instead, it is a communal area for visitors to camp safely among the bears, with designated shelters for eating and storage caches for food, gear, and fuel. An electric fence surrounds the campsite for safety. Campsites fill up quickly, so it is best to reserve your spot as early in the season as possible.

A Bear-rific Wildlife Experience In Alaska!

Whether you book a day-long Katmai National Park tour from Anchorage or reserve a multi-day adventure at Brooks Lodge, you’re in for the experience of a lifetime at Brooks Falls! Katmai National Park tours are one of the most popular tickets in Alaska. Come for the bears, but stay for the outdoor activities, scenic views, and epic adventure that Katmai offers its guests. Book your trip today!

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