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Where To See The Best Bears In Alaska
Most people who visit Katmai National Park come for the bears! And there’s no better place for bear viewing in Alaska than Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park. Brooks Falls is famous for its brown bears, who gather at the falls to feed on the salmon trying to make their way upstream during the salmon runs.
Brooks Falls is easily accessible and can be reached from Anchorage, Homer, or King Salmon. Day trips are popular options for visitors, but the more adventurous can book a stay at Brooks Lodge in the park for a multi-day Brooks Falls bear viewing tour. Staying longer means that you’ll have time to visit the Valley of 10,000 Smokes and explore more of Katmai National Park, too!
Bear Viewing In Alaska At Brooks Falls
Once you figure out where to see bears in Alaska, you’ll need to figure out when it's the best time to plan your Brooks Falls bear viewing tour. Bear viewing at Brooks Falls and Brooks Camp is best during July and September. At other times of the year, like June and August, less food is available along the Brooks River so bears aren’t seen as easily or frequently. The spring months are a lean time for bears who live in the interior of Katmai National Park, but the impending Salmon Run draws them to Brooks Falls – where they can feast on salmon once the runs begin.
One of the best ways to reach Brooks Falls Camp is by plane. If you’re starting in Anchorage, it’s a good idea to book a commercial flight from Anchorage to King Salmon, then switch to a small floatplane for a quick 20-minute flight to Brooks Camp. You can take a floatplane from Anchorage, of course, but taking a commercial flight for one leg of the trip cuts down on the overall cost. You’ll still get the experience of flying with a real bush pilot and landing on a lake, though!
Once you land at Katmai National Park, you’ll have a brief safety orientation with park rangers. Then, you can traverse the short path to one of several viewing platforms on the river, where you can watch the bears at Brooks Falls. Just remember – most day tours at Brooks Falls are unguided. Park rangers are on hand to answer your questions and the staff at Brooks Lodge is always happy to help visitors, but after the safety briefing, visitors must rely on their common sense during bear viewing in Alaska at Brooks Falls.
Day visitors are welcome at Brooks Lodge if they get hungry or just need a break. The lodge has been in operation since 1950 and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It also features a bar and lobby where visitors can rest and recoup – and a front porch where you can relax and bear watch, too!
More Time For Bear Viewing In Alaska At Brooks Falls
If you want to spend more than a day bear viewing in Alaska at Brooks Falls, you can book a multi-day stay at Brooks Lodge. The lodge offers rooms from June 1 through September 17, and reservations are required. But the stay is worth it! Just a half mile away from the lodge, and accessible by walking trail, is Brooks Falls! Approximately 50 bears live along this stretch of the Brooks River during peak salmon season. If you stay at Brooks Lodge for a few days, you are sure to see one of these magnificent creatures.
Guests at Brooks Lodge can enjoy a variety of activities, in addition to bear viewing.
- Brooks Lodge offers its own guided bear tours, which are less expensive than those organized by independent operators. Get the scoop on Katmai’s bears from an experienced guide during your stay at the lodge!
- Enjoy an afternoon of fly fishing in the Brooks River or on the nearby Brooks or Naknek Lakes. Lodge staffers can also help you charter a plane to fly out to other fishing hot spots in the vicinity.
- Visit the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Take a history bus tour through the valley where the Novarupta Volcano erupted more than 100 years ago. You can see the moonscape vista as the bus travels through the valley or book a flight on a float plane to see the valley from above.
No matter whether you book a day trip or a multi-day trip, bear viewing in Alaska at Brooks Falls is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you can’t afford to miss! Watching the majestic brown bears catching salmon in their natural habitat is a thrilling sight that will leave you in awe of the wonders of nature.
Brooks Falls Bear Viewing Tours From King Salmon
King Salmon, Alaska is known as the gateway to Katmai National Park. The town is located on the Alaskan Peninsula in the Bristol Bay region and sits on the Naknek River just west of Katmai National Park. Tourists can easily access Katmai National Park for a Brooks Falls bear viewing tour by floatplane, but King Salmon offers visitors another way to get to Katmai – by ferry!
The ferry from King Salmon to Katmai National Park operates from June 1 through September 25 and departs from the National Park Service dock. But “ferry” is a misleading term – this state-of-the-art watercraft transports you across scenic Naknek Lake in style to Brooks Camp for your bear-viewing adventure. The ferry ride also offers stunning views of the rugged Alaskan coastline and is a popular choice for visitors wanting to explore the remote wilderness of Katmai National Park. In just 45 short minutes, you can experience scenic views as you cross the lake en route to an adventure of a lifetime.
No matter how you get there, Brooks Falls is one of the best places to see bears in Alaska. The sight of magnificent grizzly bears catching salmon mid-air at Brooks Falls is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that captivates visitors from all over the world. If you want to experience the Alaskan Peninsula Bear in its natural habitat, don’t wait – book a Brooks Falls Bear Viewing tour today.